You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?
RPG Codex Review: Wasteland 2
Review - posted by Infinitron
on Wed 19 November 2014, 18:25:47
During the months leading up to the release of Wasteland 2, many were the unbelievers who cast doubts upon the game's quality, and the matter of who would be reviewing it for the Codex was an issue of some contention. Luckily, all that changed when the game came out and turned out to be pretty decent after all. Former RPG Codex editor-in-chief and reviewer extraordinaire Vault Dweller, formerly a sceptic of Wasteland 2 himself, was now happy to make himself available to review the game. To make things even better, he teamed up with none other than Barkley 2 developer and Shoutbox savant Eric "cboyardee" Shumaker. And review they did!
It's now been exactly two months since Wasteland 2's release, and VD & Eric can't wait to finally show you how much they liked it. Here are their concluding remarks:
We can analyze the design to death and rejoice finding various shortcomings, but here is a simple and honest-to-God reason why I really liked Wasteland 2.
Like most people here, I play a lot of RPGs. Recently I played 4-5 games that shall not be named and couldn’t really get into them. Naturally, I suspected that maybe I lost my ability to enjoy games and get immersed due to age/kids/stress/etc.
Then I tried Wasteland 2 and couldn’t stop playing. The more I played, the more I wanted to. It’s a wonderful yet rare feeling that every gamer can relate to.
Does it mean that you’re going to like it? It depends entirely on your expectations. If you expected a long overdue sequel or a game that allows you to chart your own course, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you expected a game like [Fallout / Jagged Alliance / ‘best game evar’], you might be disappointed.
Fallout was a game where you explored the setting and could kick some ass if you chose to. WL2 is a game where you kick ass (i.e. combat heavy, which is the very definition of old-school design) and can explore the setting if you choose to. If you don’t, your mileage will vary.
Lastly, it's important to understand the context of Wasteland 2. RPGs have essentially been dead since 2005. Wasteland 2 is the second game and the instigator of what is probably an RPG renaissance. Wasteland 2 isn't just important for being a good game, it's important for being the first stepping stone on the way to Wasteland 3, Pillars of Eternity, Torment 2, countless other RPGs that would have never been made if inXile hadn't taken the risk to show that people still care about this genre. Wasteland 2 is the game that reopened the floodgates for RPG development.
Back in September, a fellow by the name of Joe Martin gave a talk at the VideoBrains conference about the history of deleted scenes and unimplemented concepts in video games, and the importance of remembering them. The talk was notable for revealing for the first that Ion Storm Austin, developers of the original Deus Ex, had plans to develop another sequel after the disappointing Deus Ex: Invisible War, a sequel which of course never saw the light of day.
Joe promised that he would write more about the unreleased Deus Ex 3 in the future, and today he fulfilled that promise, in the form of an editorial at Eurogamer entitled "Ion Storm's Lost Deus Ex Sequels". The editorial reveals that there were actually two different Deus Ex sequel projects at Ion Storm after Invisible War. The first one was called "Deus Ex: Insurrection", and was led by programmer Art Min. There were actually several concepts for Insurrection, but I'll quote the part about the one they decided to go with.
Ultimately, Min took the project in a different direction to any of the proposals put forward. Insurrection instead became a prequel to the first game, casting you as JC Denton's father/clone, Blake. Again, you'd have been a spy for the US government.
"We wanted to get back to the roots of the original game," says Min. "I wanted real world locations that were relatable, as opposed to a futurist world where things weren't grounded like the original one."
According to Min's story documents, the first mission would begin with the discovery that Chinese forces had covertly infiltrated the US and end with a 'Roswell event' that exposed you to mysterious, human-enhancing technology. It would be unclear where the technology came from but as more events occurred you'd research their origin, gain new abilities and ally with America, China or the EU.
"Other Deus Ex games explored the science fiction of nanotechnology and its social implications," says one draft of the design document. "Insurrection brings the hard science of nanotechnology into a recognisable near-future setting where the stakes are more intuitive without being any less epic."
Positioned as the fourth Deus Ex game due to the then-on-going development of Deus Ex: Clan Wars (later released separately as Project Snowblind), Insurrection used the same engine as Invisible War but distanced itself from its mistakes. Internal documents claim a focus on larger levels and less dialogue as testament to this, alongside mentions of StarCraft: Ghost as a key influence.
The other Deus Ex sequel project was simply called "Deus Ex 3", and was led by designer Jordan Thomas, of Shalebridge Cradle and BioShock 2 fame. This one was even more non-traditional.
The first key to Thomas' vision was an entirely new way of telling stories using a generative system which created unique missions derived from your in-game actions. He compares the system to the approach eventually used in Far Cry 2, saying the aim was to create a story which was guided, rather than dictated.
Thomas' story still set the game as a prequel to the original Deus Ex and continued with the idea of casting you as JC's father. The difference was that, in Deus Ex 3, you were a biotech firm's failed experiment. Cast-off by your creators and starting on a literal scrapheap, you'd have no choice but to become a mercenary.
And that's where the generated stories would come in, providing randomised missions that enabled you to climb from experimental reject to the super-soldier of choice for the companies responsible. Eventually, after enough missions, you could stand in the same room as the CEOs that created you - and kill them, if you wanted.
"Deus Ex so abused the immortal NPC flag that we had it so you could kill anyone in the same room as you...[But] we also had a gimmick that kept them alive," says Thomas. He explains that by 'Dixie Flatlining' enemies you could access their memories through your enhancements and force them to be your in-brain counsellor.
Dixie Flatlining - a nod to William Gibson's Neuromancer - would have been important for two reasons. Firstly, it would keep the world semi-populated even if you killed everyone you met. Secondly, it kept narrative nuance in characters other than the player. This would have been vital because Thomas wanted Deus Ex 3 to be more than a revenge fantasy. "I was - and still am - pathologically avoidant of telling players who they are," he says. "I wanted the social hierarchies around each company to be the key mechanic."
Social gameplay and generative storytelling only hints at the ways Deus Ex 3 would have differed from other open-world games. There would have been no vehicles or fast-travelling for example, under the excuse that all cars were DNA-matched to their owners. Vehicles would have been present, but your lack of ID meant they were only useful for throwing at enemies in physics-heavy combat.
Instead, movement across New Orleans would have called for stealth or speed as you hid your crude, visibly robotic enhancements. Jordan describes the stealth as similar to Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines, where Nosferatu characters must move through shadows and sewers to hide their monstrous visage. Speedier tactics evoked Crackdown; lots of leaping between rooftops thanks to your augmentations.
Pretty crazy, huh? Of course, if you've seen the original design documents for the first Deus Ex, you'll know that's just how Ion Storm rolled. Who knows how it would have ended up? Jordan Thomas has a sobering view of those years, though:
"We failed. We were supposed to be the best of the best, but the best of the best had failed with [Thief: Deadly Shadows and Deus Ex: Invisible War]. Back to back failures. There's a reason the place closed and it was chiefly hubris. There are many people who will tell you that the publisher f***ed us but, no. No. The method failed. Making a smaller, more intimate Deus Ex was on nobodies mind. Including mine."
"For many years I was sad about my failure with Deus Ex 3. I was convinced I'd be the one - the one to finally slay the dragon Chris Crawford has been chasing all these years. I don't believe that now. And I don't miss it."
As promised earlier this week, Numantian Games' Lords of Xulima was released today. Released alongside it were two DLC packs, allowing non-backers access to various perks that were available to Kickstarter backers. The accompanying Kickstarter update explains:
Finally here you have the full game with great new features! Don't think that we have finished here, as we will continue to support all the players, solving bugs, and even implementing new features as we have done during the Early Access phase.
The End of the Epic Journey of Gaulen
The final boss and the End is now unlocked. The dreadful and most powerful being in Xulima is waiting for you in the Temple of Valvet. Good luck guys!
We have carefully crafted a 10 minute cinematic to show you the end of this odyssey. We really hope you like it, as we have put all our heart and passion into it. A deserved reward for all that have won this epic adventure of more than 100 hours.
Please, don't spoil the end to the new players, if you talk about it make clear that there is a spoiler inside. Thanks!
The final score will be uploaded to the Global Leaderboard, let's see who ranks the highest!
Talisman of Golot
Our promised special artifact to reward our backers in Kickstarter is available now. It is available as an upgrade, or as a pack: The Talisman of Golot edition that includes the Game and the Talisman of Golot DLC. If you purchase it you can enjoy the artifact at any time. It is not necessary to start a new game, although it is highly recommended, as there is a new quest and achievement for getting the 50 spheres of energy that now are located in different hidden places of Xulima.
The Deluxe Edition DLC of Lords of Xulima includes the Bestiary & Mythology Book with more than 200 pages, the soundtrack with 15 original themes, the HD World map and exclusive wallpapers. The Mythology contains two parts, the pre-game and post-game parts. So if you haven't finished the game, don't read the second part! As for the artifact, it is available as an upgrade or sold as a the Deluxe Edition than includes Lords of Xulima, Special Digital Rewards and the Talisman of Golot.
Full Game Guide that will be included in the Deluxe Edition for free.
For the Backers of Lords of Xulima
All of the backers that pledged for rewards that included the Talisman of Golot will get a new Steam key to activate the DLC. In the same way, all the backers that pledged for the Digital Book Bestiary & Mythology will have another Steam key to activate the Deluxe Edition. The rewards will be send this weekend. If someone does not receive it, please send us an email to email@example.com.
Lords of Xulima is available on Steam for the price of $20, with a 10% discount until next week. Congratulations again to ApplyPoison and the other folks at Numantian!
As promised in the recent press release, Paradox and Obsidian arranged for a livestreaming of Pillars of Eternity today, hosted by Josh Sawyer and played by YouTube Let's Play personality Jesse Cox. The gameplay demonstrated in the stream is not from the currently available beta - it starts right from the beginning of the game, which we haven't seen since back in July. Jesse is rather annoying and not a very good player, but the upside of that is that he takes a much longer time to fumble through the beginning content, so we get to see a lot more of it.
The stream is about two hours long, and at around 1:01:21, it reaches all new areas and content that we didn't get to see back in July. That includes joining up with one of the game's permanent companions, the wizard Aloth, and a visit to an inn with the rather apropos name of "The Black Hound". And in case you're worried about spoilers, well, they turn off the streaming of the game during the most important story sequences, so it's not too bad.
The always eagle-eyed Codexer LESS T_T has spotted a Blackguards 2pre-order page over at the Humble Store, the Humble Bundle's digital store. There's even a release date listed - January 20th, 2015. It's rather odd, because I can't find any sign of this news anywhere. Although the Humble Store is offering a Steam key, there's no still trace of Blackguards 2 on Steam, and Daedalic haven't commented on it either. The game just showed up there out of the blue.
It's probably safe to assume that it won't be long before it shows up on Steam, GOG and everywhere else. But if you want to be among the first people to pre-order, well, the price is $30. That's right, ten bucks cheaper than the first game, and assuming that release date is legit, less than a year of development time. Can you say slam dunk?
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Tue 11 November 2014
Pillars of Eternity available for pre-order, gets new trailer
Game News - posted by Infinitron
on Tue 11 November 2014, 22:16:57
There was a time when Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart dreamed of Pillars of Eternity beating Dragon Age: Inquisition to market. Well, that's not going to happen, so they've done the next best thing and launched a kind of pre-order campaign for it. The game is now available for pre-order at Steam, GOG or directly from the Paradox Store. It comes in two flavors, a $45 dollar "Hero Edition" and a $60 "Champion Edition" with additional goodies, both of which are available at a 10% discount until November 25. Check out the press release and the game's new trailer. It's got dragons and stuff.
STOCKHOLM — November 11, 2014 — Paradox Interactive and Obsidian Entertainment today announced that Pillars of Eternity, the fan-funded role-playing game (RPG) inspired by classics of the genre, is now available to pre-order from digital distributors everywhere with a discount available for early purchasers. Pre-orders of the game will also include special in-game bonus items – while fans who backed the game on Kickstarter will receive these extras free of charge.
Paradox and Obsidian have also announced that this week they plan to reveal a wide array of never-before-seen game content via a live stream, hosted by Josh Sawyer, Project Director for Pillars of Eternity, alongside popular gaming personality Jesse Cox. The live stream will air Thursday, November 13 at 1pm PST (22.00 CET) on the official Paradox Interactive Twitch channel: www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive
All pre-orders of Pillars of Eternity will receive a 10% discount (limited time offer) off of the game's full retail price and will include two secret, special in-game items. This discount and the in-game bonus offer are valid for both versions of the game, including the Hero Edition, which includes the full version of Pillars of Eternity, and the Champion Edition, which includes both the full game and a variety of premium bonuses:
A digital copy of the Pillars of Eternity Original Soundtrack (OST)
A digital campaign almanac containing backstory, lore, and information about Eora
Access to a documentary on the making of Pillars of Eternity
A high-resolution digital game map
High-resolution Pillars of Eternity wallpapers
Pillars of Eternity ringtones for mobile devices
Fans who pledged for a copy of Pillars of Eternity during the Kickstarter campaign will receive the pre-order in-game bonus items at no extra cost upon the game’s launch in 2015.
Pillars of Eternity is an RPG inspired by classic titles such as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment, which features an original world and game system that evokes and improves upon the traditional computer RPG experience. Funded via Kickstarter in late 2012, raising $4.5 million through both backer pledges on Kickstarter and Obsidian’s own website, Pillars of Eternity has been a project of passion both for the development team and for the loyal fans who have made it possible.
YouTube personalities, just like Larian! One can't help but notice the increased prominence of Paradox Interactive in these events. Dare I suggest that they're looking to recoup their investment in PoE's additional months of development?
We've known for a while that Numantian Games' indie RPG Lords of Xulima would probably be released this month. Yesterday's Kickstarter update confirmed that the next addition to the RPG retro revival canon will hit digital shelves on November 14th. The update also has some information on the new features that will be added to the game for the final release, which I'll quote here:
Finally Lords of Xulima will be released officially this Friday, on the 14th of November. On Friday it will be available with the game, the Talisman of Golot, the Deluxe Edition, German language and MAC OSX version. The Linux one will be ready in two weeks.
We have been in Early Access stage for about three months now and have made many improvements to the game. Now it is much better than ever thanks to the awesome feedback of our community. Thank you very much to all that have collaborated in the final development stage of LoX.
To give you thanks, we have added some new cool features to the game in version 0.18 that perhaps were the most wanted by the community.
Quick Bar buttons in Combat
Every character has now a quick-bar with 8 slots where you can place skills, items for use and items to equip. You can use the quick bar by clicking in the buttons or more easily by pressing their corresponding number.
Now you can add custom portraits to be available when creating new characters. Also you can now change the portrait of a character by clicking on their portrait in the character screen. As soon as you run the 0.18 version you will have a new folder "Portraits" in "DocumentsMy GamesLords of Xulima" with a text file with the instructions about how to add them (the format, size, naming...).
Yes, now you can continue your game from any computer you wish. Even the custom portraits are now synchronized in the cloud.
Two new music themes
Our awesome composer Nicolas de Ferran has created two new memorable themes that can be listened to now in the beginning of the adventure: "The Lost Continent" for the Tranquil Coast and Varas-Talak, and "Mist on the Swamps" in Rasmura. Now the Soundtrack has 15 beautiful themes that will be included in the Deluxe Edition with the best quality.
Displaying Encumbrance Values in the Shop
Now, when you examine armor pieces in the inventory or in the shops, it displays the values of the max weight the character can carry, and how it is affected if they equipped that armor piece. A very helpful information for those that want to make the most of your party.
And that's all! See you on Friday!
Congrutulations to the folks at Numantian for their fantastic-looking game. Be sure to check out the Lords of Xulima Early Access, currently available at a 15% discount.
Sega's Strategy RPG Valkyria Chronicles, whose PC port announcement came out of nowhere last month, has been released on Steam today (or unlocked for those of you who preordered it). The PC version includes all previously released DLC for the game, including:
Hard EX Mode (harder versions of skirmish missions in the main game)
Edy’s Mission “Enter the Edy Detachment” (a side story campaign)
Selveria’s Mission “Behind Her Blue Flame” (a side story campaign)
Challenge of the Edy Detachment (six challenge missions)
There was some initial worry that it was going to be another quick hackjob of a port akin to the Final Fantasy ports that Square Enix has been churning out, but according to this analysis by Durante, the port is actually surprisingly competent for a change:
I’m happy to report that Valkyria Chronicles is entirely free of both of these maladies. As you can see in the screenshot above, the game is happy to run at any spatial and temporal resolution your system claims to support. All of my in-game screenshots in this article are taken at 4480x2520 and downsampled—that’s more than 12 times the resolution the original PS3 version renders at. The game does remain limited to a 16:9 aspect ratio, but while not ideal this is now commonplace even in PC-focused games.
Valkyria scales up beautifully to the higher resolution, with the artistic intent fully intact but freed of the artifacts that detracted from it in the original release. You might have noticed that there are no further graphics settings, which could be indicative of ugly low-res shadows or other effects. However, a more in-depth study of the game’s rendering process reveal that everything scales with resolution (which makes sense)—e.g. shadow maps are rendered at 1280x1280 if you play at 1280p, while they use a full 4480x4480 with the resolution I play at. This works out beautifully in practice, with the quality of all effects increasing with increased rendering resolution.
I was personally surprised that even in a slower-paced game such as this, playing at 60 FPS (rather than the PS3 version’s 30) not only looks but also feels better. It’s not the massive difference expected in an action title, but especially with mouse and keyboard the added temporal resolution makes the controls feel more responsive and immediate. I successfully tested Valkyria at up to 120 frames per second, and was able to run it at over 100 fps at 4K resolution [...]
One additional central requirement on PC, beyond arbitrary resolution and framerate support, is built-in remapping of input devices. The Valkyria Chronicles port delivers here as well, including the ability to map two separate keys per action, which is something I personally always find very helpful. It’s clear that most effort went into making the keyboard and mouse controls work well in the battle interface, where it matters most. The keyboard mapping does a great job in the menus, even if mouse support there would likely be much more intuitive for PC gamers. In-battle, unit selection, movement and aiming works exactly as you would expect, surprisingly including even small touches like adjusting the sniper rifle zoom level with the mouse wheel. [...]
Beyond image quality and framerate, one area where the PC version offers a massive improvement over the console original is loading times. Everyone who has played the PS3 version knows that of the 40 or so hours the game takes to fully complete, at least half an hour will be spent staring at loading screens. On the PC version, the average loading time seems to be around 1 second, and that’s with the game stored on an old mechanical HDD. Saving the game is so rapid that at first I thought it wasn’t working correctly.
The RPG Codex sporadically takes a look into the world of Pen & Paper RPGs. After all, this glorious hobby of ours was spawned directly from that cosmos. With the introduction of our beloved Gazebo, we started rolling out more tabletop content.
RPG Codex doesn’t get nearly enough pen-and-paper-related content, so I decided to sit down and rectify that. And what better topic would there be to write about than the recently released second edition of Dark Heresy?
the main questions are threefold:
- Whether it managed to fix some of the original’s glaring flaws
- Whether the overall theme of roleplaying an inquisitor’s private retinue of investigators tracking down WITCHCRAFT, HERESY AND MUTATION was preserved.
- Whether Fantasy Flight Games managed to cherry pick some of the better additions from the previous supplements and offshoots.
So how does that go, we wonder?
this entire system feels a lot like some sort of half-arsed fan attempt
Uh-oh. Read more to follow the trainwreck to its station.
As you may know, we recently learned that the estimated release date for The Age of Decadence has been pushed back yet again. The beta, including all three cities, is now set to be released in December, hopefully with a final release in March 2015. In the game's monthly update for October, Vault Dweller explains the difficulties that led to this delay. Caution, it's a bit spoilery:
Our October update is a bit late but as you all know, better late than never is a principle we live by. The Steam build will be updated tonight - a bunch of tweaks and fixes, but no new content as Ganezzar remains our top and only priority at the moment.
So what’s taking so long, you ask?
A lot of scripting, which often takes time to figure out. It’s kind of like a puzzle. When you have tightly interwoven questlines, you often don’t have much room because what you can do in the remaining ‘quest space’ is limited by the events established by other questlines.
Usually we start with ‘broad strokes’. We start with the siege mentioned at the end of your Maadoran adventures (if it wasn't mentioned then you arrive to Ganezzar before the siege or maybe even participate in the events that triggered it). Obviously, there should be two main outcomes: the city is taken vs the siege is broken, House Aurelian vs House Crassus. Logically, the Imperial Guards will play the role of a ‘kingmaker’, whoever they side with wins. The thieves were tasked with helping House Aurelian, which makes sense (they use the tunnels for smuggling and thus best positioned to be able to find a way into the castle). The merchants will start in the pro-Meru camp but should be able to switch sides instantly. Plus they have the secret weapon – the Sellsword legion and, if you switched sides already, the Antidas-Carrinas alliance, which was created for this very opportunity to kick ass when least expected (a shaved knuckle, so to speak)
Meru will be actively trying to bring back the Gods (kinda now or never situation), the Aurelian and Daratan praetors will be scheming and plotting in a jamesbondian manner, giving knight-diplomats everywhere a bad name.
That’s the big picture but the devil is in the detail. Logically, each path should be ripe with double- and triple-crossing opportunities. What if you fail carrying out one of the thieves’ task and are caught and delivered to Meru? Failing is a logical outcome. The only question is what to do with you after, kill outright or let you live. If we let you live, you’re now working for Meru and your goal is to lead the army into an ambush, which is interesting because it gives Meru a chance to break the siege without relying on third parties and being in their debt. But if we let you talk to the thieves (instead of going straight to the ambush), you should have an option to tell them what Meru’s planning and do a triple-cross. Again, it’s logical, it’s not an option for the sake of options, most players won’t even see it as to trigger it you need to be playing as a thief and fail at a certain point, but it adds quite a lot and is a nice reward for those who do fail and discover a hidden branch.
Or let’s say that Paullus agrees to side with Meru and break the siege in exchange for ‘valuable considerations’. What if you tell him what Meru is really up to? How would he react and how it would affect everything else? What if you don't tell him? It's kinda cool to have a very different outcome just because you casually mentioned something.
Now, multiply it by several questlines and you’ll get some idea of what we’re dealing with. Plus the different ‘starting points’. If you’re playing a praetor, you can be a Daratan praetor who did the right thing and talked Serenas out of raiding the Slums, in which case the siege is on. Or you can be a praetor who helped Serenas to ‘step off a cliff’ and House Aurelian is no more. In which case, there is no siege and Meru’s free to do whatever he wants.
Anyway, after months of work (I think we started in May and worked through the summer and fall), we’re almost there. We’re aiming to release the first, admittedly rough version (like the first Maadoran build) in December. Thank you for your support and patience. Since AoD isn’t and will never be a top seller, it’s fair to say that this game wouldn’t exist without people willing to support us and stand by us.
In addition to the above, the update also has some assorted screenshots for our amusement. With no description of what they are, they're a bit cryptic.
Last month, I noticed that Harebrained Schemes were hiring developers for a new game. The mention of 3D worlds and procedural generation made it clear that this was not a new Shadowrun game in the works. Today they revealed what that was all about. Harebrained Schemes' new project is Necropolis, a procedurally generated "diabolical dungeon delve" with third person perspective action RPG combat. The game has a website and a devblog, but the real information is at its presskit page:
Welcome to Necropolis - a game of brutal combat and survival, set in a magical deathtrap that shifts and reconstructs itself around you. Will you find the exit, or die trying?*
*SPOILERS: You'll probably die trying.
The archmage Abraxis took his secrets to the grave.
There, in the depths of a huge complex constructed by magic, lies the greatest collection of magical items and treasure that the world has ever known. After all his conquests and victories, Abraxis retreated to his Necropolis to work his magic, in darkness far removed from the rest of civilization.
The mazes and corridors of the Necropolis shift and change at the whim of the Brazen Head, a magical intelligence created by the archmage. Part butler, part taskmaster and part tormentor, the Brazen Head mocks, goads and pushes adventurers deeper and deeper into Abraxis' domain.
This is because, unlike most tombs, the Necropolis invites adventurers in; it needs them. Those who die within its walls feed the magic that powers the shrine. It is a trap, a self-perpetuating machine feeding on souls. Dead adventurers spirits turn arcane wheels, and their corpses are repurposed as Automatons; magical marionettes that prowl the corridors searching for intruders.
And the Necropolis is much, much bigger on the inside than the outside. Oh, and it shifts and changes at the whim of the Brazen Head. And it’s filled with Abraxis’ greatest enemies, and every monster ever encountered during his adventures. Did we not mention that?
Thousands have entered the Necropolis. Legend says, somewhere inside, undead and immortal, Abraxis presides on an onyx throne. In ten centuries, only one adventurer has escaped, and I’m afraid he emerged quite mad. But you... I’m sure you’ll make it out just fine. You seem like the adventurous type.
AN ADDICTIVE THIRD-PERSON COMBAT SYSTEM. At its core, Necropolis is an action game. Unlike other popular Roguelikes, Necropolis features a combat system based on timing and animation. It’s fast and deadly - learn to anticipate enemy attack patterns, time your actions for maximum effect, and use smart combinations of heavy and light attacks to defeat your enemies. You can’t just button-mash and win.
AN EVER-CHANGING DUNGEON. Every playthrough offers new threats, room layouts, magic items and more. The system is designed to shift and change, even as the adventurer moves through it, and there are areas that allow the player to change modify or “reroll” their current layout.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. Collect components to create magic potions, and locate mystical books to upgrade your adventurer with runes and spells. The Necropolis is a living labyrinth filled with mystery and wonder; can you unlock all its secrets?
A LIVING ECOLOGY OF THREATS. Monsters interrelate in the Necropolis. Learn to exploit a Monster’s favorite food, or least favorite predator.
STYLISH VISUAL DESIGN. The world of Necropolis is one not quite like any other. Necropolis features a dark, low-poly aesthetic full of strange shapes, funky colors and unexpected constructions.
The release date is "2016". But yeah, while this might be a cool game, it's not the kind of experience we typically prize on the Codex. Luckily, there's another game that Harebrained Schemes didn't announce today, even though its existence is publicly visible on their Job Openings page. That's right, a new Shadowrun campaign! And for real, this time - though who knows, maybe they were hiring for it all along. I guess we'll learn more about this later on.
Pyrodactyl Games, developers of Unrest, launched the Kickstarter campaign for their next game today. It's called Late To The Party, and it's a "Cold War espionage RPG", where you play a KGB agent in the Baltics during the final days of the Soviet Union. Like Unrest, it appears to be a story and dialogue-focused CYOA-ish thing. Here's the pitch:
Late to the Party is an espionage RPG about the struggles, fears, and turmoil of the oppressed during the dying days of the Soviet Union. Use your contacts, tools, and wits to stay alive in the midst of a dangerous historically-inspired conspiracy.
Play it safe and fudge the facts, or stick your neck out to uncover every last link of the conspiracy in a branching storyline.
Use your character traits, KGB spy tools, and improvised equipment to cover your tracks and further the investigation.
Balance your allegiances and always cover your tracks if you want to stay alive.
See the Baltics come to life with locally inspired art and music.
Enjoy dialogue and scenarios dripping with dark humor from the makers of Unrest, a critically acclaimed narrative RPG funded via Kickstarter.
Full mod support lets you create your own worlds and adventures.
Late to the Party will be available DRM-Free on multiple digital stores, without any DLC or microtransactions.
1991. The Baltics have suffered the casual contempt of Communist occupiers for more than half a century. Goods are scarce, jobs are reserved for Russian transplants, and a bottle of liquor in the right hands could mean the difference between safety and death for your family.
Resources are stretched thin. The oppressed are striking back. And those in power are growing increasingly desperate.
You are a local woman groomed by the KGB to investigate your own country. Your smarts, drive, and history of criminal behavior make you an ideal recruit - assuming you remain loyal to your crafty superiors, your power-mad coworkers, and the crooks that make up your intelligence network.
Revolution is brewing. With the right information, you can be the Soviets' greatest agent - but with the right reason to fight, you might just be their greatest miscalculation.
Late To The Party's funding goal is 50,000 Canadian dollars, and its estimated release date is October 2015. For more screenshots and information, check out the Pyrodactyl website. You might also be interested in this "Postmortem Postmortem" for Unrest, which explains why Late To The Party's funding goal is so much higher than Unrest's. Let's hope they make it - it's not every day that you get an RPG that lets you play as a Lithuanian hitwoman.
Daedalic Entertainment has sent in a press release announcing a new series of videos explaining the setting and gameplay of their upcoming Strategy RPG Blackguards 2. Part 1, dealing with factions, is available on YouTube already:
To help illustrate the significant improvements over the original Blackguards, Daedalic is releasing a series of feature videos focusing on characters, combat and gameplay in their turn-based tactical RPG, set for launch in early 2015. The first of these video featurettes, available today, introduces all-new heroes rallying around the game's protagonist Cassia, and gives a first impression of the game’s turn-based battles as well as new useful combat tools.
At the core of Blackguards 2 is the conflict between Cassia – who starts a military campaign against the tyrant Marwan. Marwan rules the country with an iron fist from his throne in the city of Mengbilla. The ultimate goal of the game’s many turn-based battles is to conquer as much territory as possible and free it from Marwan’s influence, so that Cassia can claim the Shark Throne of Mengbilla herself.
Aside from that, the press release contains a lengthy introduction to some key new features of the game, from multiple screen combat to mercenaries and new enemies, which merits quoting it in full:
At the start of each battle, you can now freely place your characters in a starting area as a first strategic decision. Additional starting areas can be unlocked by acquiring strategic intel from prisoners through interrogation between battles.
These additional starting areas offer the advantage of splitting up your troops, so they can navigate a map via different paths or even layers. For instance, one squad may have to pull a lever to deactivate traps that are blocking another squad’s way, or open doors or shortcuts for them.
Battles, no matter if fought by one or more squads, range across multiple screens, lead through dungeons, ruins, or bridges spiked with traps and are, of course, inhabited by dangerous creatures.
New enemies include Sandghosts, who turn into sandstorms, and Jesperwoods, who cannot be engaged in close combat:
The fiercest among these monsterous foes are the chimeras; magical beasts created by Marwan's chimerologists. Their unique abilities make them formidable opponents: Sandghosts, for example, can turn into a whirling sandstorm, passing through obstacles with ease, leaving devastation in their wake.
Another of the new monsters in Blackguards 2 are Jesperwoods - hulking constructs made of vine, flesh and steel, always surrounded by swarms of bees, which makes them seemingly impossible to engage in close combat. However, even ranged opponents can be incapacitated by their tangling roots breaking through the ground. Monsters like the Jesperwood and the Sandghost are just two of the creatures that will challenge your combat mettle in Blackguards 2.
The chimeras as a whole are constructs without will, held together by magic and controlled by circles of arcane power and so-called blood organs, instruments that are interactive objects on almost every map.
Both Marwan's and Cassia's troops can make use of those instruments. In side quests, Cassia can even acquire the corresponding melodies and summonings from Marwan's chimerologist causing these beasts to fight for her and maybe even turn the tide of battle.
The game will also feature mercenary recruits, which will in turn lead you to consider the importance of popular support:
Available to Cassia are not just the heroes of the first Blackguards, but also bands of mercenaries. Their leader is a bloodthirsty and ruthless man named Faramud. Up to ten mercenaries can join Cassia and her champions in battle. They have their very own classes and contribute unique abilities to the fray. From the classic sword-wielding front line grunt and the nimble archer, to the stealthy assassin, unrivaled in speed and deadliness: each mercenary can be directly deployed and controlled during battle.
But the support of Faramud and his men is a double edged blade, not only figuratively: blood and violence are their fuel. And the common people of conquered territory are most likely the ones who suffer under the sellswords' lust for pillage. It's on the player to decide if Cassia lets Faramud have his will, giving him permission to pillage, raze and murder. Or if she keeps the leash on him, jeopardizing her alliance with the mercenaries, but earning the support of the southern people.
Whatever the player decides, it will have an impact on the events to come, what side quests are available and how characters will react in camp and in conquered areas. In later battles that will mean that the people of the south will either stand up against Cassia's murderous troops, supporting Marwan, or stand with Cassia against the tyrant.
Finally, Daedalic is taking the "strategy" part more seriously this time, allowing the player to capture and defend territories:
However, Marwan won't just sit by idly while Cassia marches towards Mengbilla. If she seems to advance successfully, Marwan will strike back to reclaim lost territory. If the player wants to hold conquered areas because of their strategic significance, those territories must be defended. Even though players can cleverly place traps and reinforce their position, Marwan now knows what he’s in for and will send his own troops in as a counter. As you can imagine, defending a position is much tougher than taking it.
Another increase in challenge becomes evident when the player is in the unfortunate position of re-conquering lost territory. Cassia and her men face traps and a well-prepared enemy who makes you pay for every inch you want to reclaim.
Whatever path she takes on her campaign to Mengbilla, whatever positions she takes and holds for her troops, and what parts of the story unfold for Cassia – it is completely in the player’s hands
The world map between battles offers important information about possible obstacles, advantages and resources of the different areas. Via torture and interrogation you can always receive additional information as you play.
Blackguards 2 is still scheduled for "early 2015."
The curious action-roguelike The Binding of Isaac, originally released as a Flash game back in 2011, has gotten a brand new remake, called The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and released on Steam just yesterday. The remake features a new engine with 16 bit style pixel graphics, 60FPS gameplay, a co-op mode, some larger rooms, lots of tweaks and added new content (including new enemies, items, environmental hazards, etc.), and - last but not least - a brand new Hard mode aimed at roguelike and BoI veterans.
About the Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is the ultimate of remakes with an all-new highly efficient game engine (expect 60fps on most PCs), all-new hand-drawn pixel style artwork, highly polished visual effects, all-new soundtrack and audio by the the sexy Ridiculon duo Matthias Bossi + Jon Evans. Oh yeah, and hundreds upon hundreds of designs, redesigns and re-tuned enhancements by series creator, Edmund McMillen. Did we mention the poop?
Over 500 hours of gameplay
4 BILLION Seeded runs!
20 Challenge runs
450+ items, including 160 new unlockables
Integrated controller support for popular control pads!
Analog directional movement and speed
Tons of feature film quality animated endings
Over 100 specialized seeds
2-Player local co-op
Over 100 co-op characters
Dynamic lighting, visual effects and art direction
All-new game engine @60FPS 24/7
All-new soundtrack and sound design
Multiple Save slots
The ultimate roguelike
A bunch of achievements
The fixation on poop is, I assume, a Freudian metaphor for the indie game scene at large.
Courtesy of Codex user Farage, I will also link this video interview with the game's creator Edmund McMillen from late September since I don't think we've posted it earlier and it complements the release nicely:
You can read some feedback about the game in our dedicated forums thread already. Long story short, aside from the soundtrack, it seems to be an improvement over the original in practically every way.
tl;dr It's good. You can get the game here for $14.99/€14.99.
Once upon a time, we held a fundraiser for D:OS. Much funds were raised in name of great glory for RPGs everywhere.
We also got a bunch of stuff we were going to raffle. Here, at long last, is that raffle:
It's not often I embarrass myself in front of a camera but when I do, it's for rpgcodex.
Enjoy the first eight minutes looking at prizes, and then an excruciating hour of counting names into a bowl before the exciting final moment of drawing winners!
The prizes, in the order shown are:
1. Signed Concept Art
2. Signed Concept Art
3. Signed Larian / D:OS Poster
4. XL T-Shirt
5. Signed D:OS KickStarter Box (with authentic dirt from outback Australia!)
6. D:OS KickStarter Box (unsigned)
7. D:OS Standard Edition
8. Zandalor's Cards + D:OS Playing Cards
9. Art Book
10. Art Book
11. Art Book
12. Art Book
13. Art Book
14. Hand Sculpted Teleporter
The 14 winners will be contacted later today and asked for their preferences out of those prizes. With the first winner obviously getting first pick and so on until all the prizes are gone.
Special thanks to Angthoron for all the effort he put into organising this for the codex and to our donors who made this such a successful fundraiser.
How to play dreeps
It’s very simple.
Just set the alarm. That’s it!
Before going to bed, set the alarm and dreeps main character, a robot boy will sleep too.
On the morning, wake up with the alarm, go to school or work, and the robot-boy will go on an adventure, walking through fields, valleys and toward bosses dungeons located on peninsulas.
Once you defeated the bosses in dungeons, you will got a new alarm. If you set it, the boss will become you companion and go on adventure with you.
You can watch how the adventure is going on your iPhone when taking a break or just by putting it on your desk, any moment that fits your lifestyle.
Particularities of dreeps
1: Since everything is activated by setting the alarm, it totally follow the player life rhythm. By having a good sleep, the hero will regenerate as well, a healthy life will have impact in the game.
2: In classic RPG, getting results is one of the main award, but dreeps which is a game you just let turned on, emphasises more on the process, the strange landscapes you’ll see, the music you’ll hear, during the adventure. There’s no text in the game because we prefer to let people feel the ambiance and think themselves about the story. Each experience and interpretation might be different.
3: Since you just have to set the alarm before going to bed, even the people who don’t have time to enjoy their favourite RPG anymore or light user can enjoy an adventure too.
The release will be first on iPhone. For the moment, we have got any plans on Android.
Sure, it's for only for iPhone now but rest assured, this exciting break-through in innovative game play will no doubt be coming to a PC near you!
For many years, System Shock 2 players who wanted an optimal gameplay experience have had to make due with the ancient "Anomalies, Discrepancies and outright Bugs" (ADaOB) mod, which besides fixing various bugs, also introduced possibly unwelcome balancing changes to the game. Well, this morning that era finally came to an end. After a long time in development, the members of the prestigious System Shock 2 modding community over at systemshock.org have released the System Shock 2 Community Patch, commonly known as the SCP, which aims to provide the most faithful and definitive bug-free SS2 experience. Here's the description:
SCP is intended to serve as an unofficial patch for System Shock 2 that delivers an authentic but also highly polished SS2 gameplay experience—hopefully approximating the form SS2 would have taken if Irrational had had a few more months to work on it before release. All changes have been made with the intent of respecting Irrational’s original vision. The other goal of SCP is to upgrade SS2 to take advantage of the enhanced graphical features of the NewDark engine in those ways that are beyond the means of standalone mods.
The guiding principle for SCP has been that SS2’s gameplay is fine as-is, and that its greatest strength is immersion—its ability to make players feel like they’re really trapped on board the Von Braun with all its horrors. So while we’ve tweaked game systems and made adjustments to the level geometry, the goal hasn’t been balancing gameplay, but rather eliminating those things that don’t make sense to the point that they take you out of the game. Anything illogical, gamey, or otherwise immersion-breaking, we’ve tried to correct.
SCP requires System Shock 2 patched to version 2.43 (NewDark) or higher.
Also included is a preview version of SHTUP-ND, highly recommended for use with SCP.
Congratulations to voodoo47, ZylonBane, and all the other contributors. For other essential System Shock 2 mods, including graphics and audio improvements, I recommend taking a look at their excellent Newbie Modding Guide.
Over the past couple of months, the Dead State Early Access beta has received a flurryofupdates, gradually turning what initially seemed to be a bare-bones experience into a full-featured RPG. Today's Kickstarter update announces at long last the game's final release date - December 4th, 2014.
The DoubleBear team has some extra-special, ultra-awesome news for you to celebrate Halloween: Dead State has a release date!
That's right: on December 4th, 2014 - just over a month away - Dead State will emerge from the cocoon of Early Access and transform into a beautiful, fully matured game!
On top of that, later today we plan to release Patch #4 chock full of delicious, gooey content, features, and fixes, so keep an eye out for that. Pretty sweet Halloween treats, right?
Aside from Patch #4 going out later today/tonight, we plan to release one final patch before the launch; after that, we’re going to focus our full attention on fixing, balancing, and polishing Dead State until we run full speed across the finish line. All you have to do is keep playing, having fun, and sharing your feedback with us, and we’ll do the rest.
Please help us out by spreading the word about the launch date - take to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and your other social networks / forums of choice and give them the good news. After all, it's only decent to warn your friends about the coming apocalypse
Happy Halloween, everyone - may your undead slaying be merry!
So, unless Cleve surprises us in November (fat chance), it looks like Dead State will be the victor in the Codex's great three-way vaporware war. Congratulations to DoubleBear. By the way, they've also posted a preview of the game's soundtrack on Soundcloud, so you might want to check that out.
Divinity: Original Sin received an update today, and unexpectedly, a Kickstarter update to go along with it. The game still hasn't received the promised hardcore rebalancing patch, but there's still some good stuff here. But the true purpose of the Kickstarter update, I think, is Swen's announcement of the Larian Devline, a regularly occurring Twitch podcast where fans will be able to talk about what features they want to see in the future, not just in Original Sin but in Larian's unannounced next RPG as well. Check it out:
A new patch
We just released a big update for Divinity:Original Sin that includes over a 150 fixes. The full changelist is too big to list here, but you can find all the details on our forums. This update should fix a lot of the smaller lingering bugs and also address a number of balancing issues.
Join us on the Larian Devline Twitch podcast!
This Tuesday, November 4th, we’ll be trying something new by hosting a live Twitch podcast with our devs in which you can tell us what things you liked and didn’t like about Divinity:Original Sin, and what things you’d like to see us develop in the future.
We’ll obviously be watching the chat but we’d also like to discuss with some of you during the stream.
So, if you have strong thoughts about features in the game you think should be improved, let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don’t have to write an essay, a few lines explaining the core of your idea/criticism will suffice. We’ll then invite you to join us during the podcast via Skype.
The first Larian Devline podcast will be on our Twitch Channel on: November 4th, 2014 at 19:00 CET, 18:00GMT, 13:00 EST, 10:00PST
Development is continuing with things like the Linux version and the hardcore mode still on our lists, but as we want to do this thoroughly, it will still take some time before we’re ready.
The Linux version especially suffered an extra delay as a result of our porting team having to fix a number of compatibility issues that popped up with the release of Yosemite. Whereas we initially hoped to get the Linux version done this year, it looks like it’ll be the beginning of next year now.
We know that’ll disappoint a few among you but bear in mind that we’re doing a real port just like we did with the Mac version.
Larian will also soon be looking for new employees for their next game, so now would be a good time for all you armchair (and non-armchair) developers to make a good impression!
Beamdog's Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition has just been released. They haven't put together any new trailer or anything, but Beamdog CEO Trent Oster did give a fairly interesting interview over at PCGamesN yesterday, where he spoke a bit about the differences between BioWare and Black Isle games, and about Beamdog's plans for the future. So I'll quote some of that here to give this post some substance:
“Icewind Dale was kind of this left-turn where you just jumped out and it was all about the bashing and combat and winning the fight and wondering what was around the next corner, that was going to be as challenging or even more challenging than what you just fought,” said Oster.
“At BioWare at some points we tried to introduce puzzles that were different. Icewind Dale is like combat puzzles. And they’re just fun.”
Just as BioWare and their publishing counterparts at Black Isle were getting to grips with the possibilities of their engine, so too were their players. They salivated at the chance to spend two hours in character creation - building an entire six-person party from the ‘gender’ button onwards, rolling and re-rolling their stats as they went.
“I think that’s where a lot of the satisfaction of Icewind Dale comes from,” said Oster. “By knowing the rules and by being able to build great combination characters and play them how they’re intended, you can do some amazing things that you wouldn’t think are possible with a party.”
By the turn of the millenium, BioWare had learned to play their henchmen off against each other to produce their juiciest dialogue. But Black Isle’s Icewind Dale, with its player-made party members, didn’t have that. Nor did it have the conversation-filled city hubs that punctuate play in Baldur’s Gate. What it had in great, snowy dollops was something Black Isle had learned on Fallout: atmosphere.
“Those guys were good,” recalled Oster. “To me Black Isle was always about really, really strong artwork, and it still looks phenomenal. It’s just haunting.
“Initially we were pretty intimidated by it, but once we started working with the content we were like, ‘Man, this stuff is so beautiful, it holds up so well’.”
When Black Isle did allow themselves to unsheath their quills, Oster reckons they often outdid BioWare - whose plots were more “convoluted”.
“I always found Black Isle’s writing to be a lot more direct, a lot shorter,” he said. “At BioWare I think we tended to get a little novelistic. Whereas Chris’ stuff was more colloquial, and more accessible.”
Hmmm, I'm not sure that's quite how I'd characterize MCA's writing style, particularly back then. But it's an interesting take. IWD:EE is now available on Steam, GOG, or direct from Beamdog, for the price of 20 dollars.