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Wed 28 June 2017

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?

Brian Fargo Interview on IGN Unfiltered

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 28 June 2017, 22:14:52

Tags: Brian Fargo; Interplay; InXile Entertainment

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This month's guest on IGN Unfiltered, IGN's long-form interview show, was inXile CEO Brian Fargo. Since interviewing Feargus Urquhart earlier this year, the show has switched to an episodic format, and so the interview with Brian was split into three episodes - the first one covering his early career before Interplay, the second covering the Interplay years, and the third covering the inXile and Kickstarter era. The second episode is the longest and by far the most interesting, so I'll post it here:

The interview isn't anywhere near as full of tidbits and secrets as Feargus' was, but it does go into a level of detail about Brian's business relationships that I don't think I've seen before. The interviewer is clearly quite familiar with Interplay's 1990s heyday, taking the time to ask questions not just about the usual Black Isle classics but also about titles such as ClayFighter and Mario Teaches Typing(!). Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to know much at all about Brian's more recent work, asking only the most cursory of questions about it, so the interview is really only useful for history buffs. Not what you'd expect from IGN!

There are 8 comments on Brian Fargo Interview on IGN Unfiltered

Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #18: Camping Unlocked, Extra Story Chapter Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 28 June 2017, 19:43:24

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

The Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter campaign hit $550k today, unlocking the camping system stretch goal that was announced two weeks ago. For their next stretch goal, Owlcat are going straight to $700k. If they manage to raise that much, an additional chapter will be added to the game. It looks like it will involve a high level showdown with the fey queen who is the mastermind behind the events in the original Kingmaker module - or perhaps, the masterminds behind her. The new Kickstarter update has the details:

We are excited to unveil the expansion of the story of the Stolen Lands. While it's difficult to describe the story of these additional adventures without major spoilers, it is safe to tell you that this additional chapter will make it easier for you to get all the way up to level 20. Threats and encounters in this chapter will be challenging for even the most powerful heroes, so be prepared to face the deadliest, meanest and scariest foes.

One request, which has been made by our community time and time again was for a Mac release. So we are excited to unveil that the second part of this stretch goal is bringing the Pathfinder experience to Mac & Linux platforms.

As we were typing this update, a gust of wind rushed in, bringing several leaves and a mysterious letter addressed to you, Pathfinders. We are presenting it below, but be warned! For those of you not familiar with the Kingmaker Adventure Path, this message may contain major spoilers!

"My dear Pathfinder!

I am the true master to the Stolen Lands! Bow before me for I am the Guile of the fey people! For centuries I have sharpened the claws meant for a single strike at your unguarded back. I am the Hatred of the First World, for I can split the closest of friends. I am the Rebellion of the Stolen Lands, for no kingdom could chain me. What makes you think you could win where your betters had fallen like autumn leaves?

Bow your head down so your crown would fall and roll before my feet.

The webs of my scheming are impossible to comprehend for a mere mortal. Do you feel the breeze weaving in the grass? Do you hear a raven's caw from the leaf's shade? My agents are vigilant, watching you from the moment you set your foot in my lands. Oh, they are many, my puppets, my toys. The blind I've charmed, hunting for a single word leaving my lips. The fools, thinking they would be rewarded for their years of servitude. The dimwits, believing their choices and actions were their own. The rich and the poor, the generals and their soldiers, the webs of my agents envelop the Stolen Lands and reach out beyond them.

It is possible that some of the masks they wear are already known to you. I'd savor the expression your face will gain when the truth reveals itself. A moment of revelation before feeling a cold blade tearing into your flesh.

If by any chance the impossible would occur - if you somehow survive long enough to come to my parlor in the Thousand Voices... well... perhaps, you could be useful to me after all. Perhaps, we could open a new chapter to this story, together, you and I? Could you be the one to help me break the millennium-old curse reigning over me?

If the fate would take me during our encounter, so be it. But know, that I have powerful benefactors, who would take notice. Know that the disasters you've so valiantly fought before are a stroll compared to the misery your kingdom and your whole life would become should you anger them.

Enter the Stolen Lands if you dare, Pathfinder.
Kingmaker's funding rate seems to have picked up a little since the game hit its base funding goal, so this goal seems within reach. It's a bit weird to have a major stretch goal that only players of the original pen-and-paper module will really understand, though.

There are 7 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #18: Camping Unlocked, Extra Story Chapter Stretch Goal

Tue 27 June 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #36: E3 2017 Gameplay Video, Producer Commentary Edition

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 27 June 2017, 23:26:38

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Katrina Garsten; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

For their new Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update, Obsidian have taken a page out of inXile's book and put together a commentary edition of the IGN gameplay footage from E3. It features the narration of executive producer Adam Brennecke, with an intro and outro by the chipper Katrina Garsten:

There aren't a lot of truly new details here, but lore experts will be interested to know that the pocket dimension at the end is apparently called "The Beyond". There'll be more Deadfire news in July, including another Josh Sawyer Q&A Twitch stream on July 12th, this time guest starring lead character artist Dimitri Berman.

There are 46 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #36: E3 2017 Gameplay Video, Producer Commentary Edition

Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #17: Character Screen Preview

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 27 June 2017, 22:51:13

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

In today's Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter update, Owlcat give us a look at their plans for the character screen UI. For this element of the game, they've chosen an approach that's quite different from Pillars of Eternity. It's expansive and stylized rather than compact, with five tabs to hold all of the information. The most interesting of these is the "Class" tab, which aims to display a kind of timeline of all of a character's past and future development options to help players plan their builds. Here is Owlcat's description of the tabs, along with a couple of concept images that demonstrate their aesthetic.

[​IMG] [​IMG]

Let's start our tour with the first tab, one that contains general information about the character. The Central part of this screen shows alignment (and we follow the alignment system from the Core Rulebook, as you can see). All the decisions that changed the main character's alignment lead to the line appearing in the circle, showing consequences and shifts in alignment. A log below the circle provides additional information and reminds you of the decisions you've made on your journey. Computer RPGs are all about decisions, it is a pillar for this genre, and it deserves representation at the center of the screen of your character.

Our companions are far less flexible in their alignment, they follow it, and only rare events can force them to evaluate (and probably change) their views. Because of that, we felt that it will be inappropriate to use the same amount of space to depict alignment for them. Their central block is all about their personal quest, the journey they have in the Stolen Lands. You can see important events and decisions they made as well as their next goal.

The second screen is all about abilities of the character, class features as well as feats - basically an encyclopedia of the character's capabilities. Take note of the left-most block of information; it does not change between most of the tabs and contains information that is frequently needed or relevant to other tabs (like Stats, Experience or Level). This is also a concept screen for the Abilities tab and does not represent build of any character or abilities and feats that are existing in the game.

The third screen provides information on the martial prowess of the character, to hit rolls, different kinds of AC, damage from attacks... As you can see, there is no magic counterpart of this screen, and that is on purpose. We discussed this a lot and decided that it will be more convenient to see that information on the special tab on the screen dedicated to selecting spells and meta-magic. So there is a dedicated tab in the spellbook (or book of prayers for divine casters) devoted to the stats and values important for magic-users.

The fourth screen is the most difficult one to develop, as we want to showcase all of the possibilities for character development, those that were already selected as well as those that are far in the future. We want the player to be able to plan the character in detail. In fact, we are hoping to introduce a feature, that will allow leveling up a character with a single-click, if all of the abilities were selected in advance. We spent a lot of time putting all of the information on just one screen and organizing it in such way that does not make your head explode just from looking at it.

So we came to this screen as a result of that search. It is simple enough if a character has just one class while still showing elements of the development both in the past and in the future. In case of multiclassing (especially if there are 3 or more classes), the screen becomes more complicated, but still convenient, as it shows most of the directions in which such a character could be developed. Please note that what you see below is a concept of the screen, not a screenshot from the game and can have some inconsistencies.

The last screen is devoid of game mechanical information; it is all about the story of the character: biography, alignment, personal quest and of course full body portrait.
Owlcat are at their most authentic when talking about this kind of nuts & bolts RPG design. You may also be interested in Sunday's update about the system they've developed for creating spells and spell effects.

There are 26 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #17: Character Screen Preview

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Sat 24 June 2017
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #15: Jubilost Video + Exclusive Details from Chris Avellone

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 24 June 2017, 17:36:22

Tags: Chris Avellone; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Today's Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter update introduces another one of the game's companions. Unlike previous companion updates, this one includes a short gameplay video. The companion in question is Jubilost Narthropple, a haughty gnome who is a character from the original Kingmaker module that Owlcat intend to turn into a full-fledged companion. According to the recent Kingmaker AMA, Chris Avellone will probably be writing him. Notice that the video is a direct continuation of one of the IGN videos from earlier this month.

What the recent AMA didn't reveal is who exactly is writing the other companions. Chris Avellone is credited as sole "narrative designer" on Kingmaker's official website, but it's clear at this point that he's not doing everything. As part of his ongoing mega-interview with Chris, our resident Avellone specialist Fairfax reached out to him in order to finally clarify this matter. Here's a snippet from Chris' response:

So my role is narrative designer. Paizo authors, Owlcat, and I all worked on the story, but I didn’t write the story from scratch. I am not the lead narrative designer. Alexander Mishulin is the Project Director/Creative Director, and he’s… well, “fan” is probably the wrong word I’d use for how he feels about Pathfinder, it seems like he’s been playing it forever, and he knows the systems and world in and out. I like his take on how to take Infinity Engine tropes and add new twists to them.

I work with three other Owlcat writers (soon to be four, as I understand it), although the lead narrative designer I work is modest about his role and doesn’t consider himself a writer (I disagree). He coordinates the Owlcat writers and is my main point of contact for writing with the Owlcat team.

(I asked if I could share their names and his, still waiting for permission.)

Owlcat had most of the companions and an initial draft of the story (the 2nd version of one) done before I came on board, and together we made a 3rd version. Once we agreed on that, we’ve been going back through every chapter of the Adventure Path and iterating on it, seeing where it makes sense to add more content, companion hooks, foreshadowing (or “aftermath” of previous events that aren’t dealt with in the Kingmaker Adventure Path).

So right now, my work has been: Revising the story, revising each chapter of the Adventure Path, general feedback, writing the aesthetic/reactive style guides for the game (on-going as new elements appear), and also specc’ing out the technical requirements for dialogue on the design side (for alignment choices, reactivity, etc).

I have also revised a number of written scripts for the game’s vertical slice, and am coordinating with editors in the States to naturalize the English as well. I haven’t altered the structure of the sequences, merely rewritten nodes. While I haven’t done much with the companions yet, that’s actually because I’ve been spending more time on the antagonists in the game and how they interact from chapter to chapter.

I also help out on the Kickstarter when I can. I do not wear cool shirts.
So the game has three additional writers including a lead narrative designer, who aren't mentioned anywhere. That's good to know! Why the secrecy, Owlcat?

There are 28 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #15: Jubilost Video + Exclusive Details from Chris Avellone

Fri 23 June 2017
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #14: Base Funding Goal Reached, Magus Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 23 June 2017, 21:17:49

Tags: Alexander Mishulin; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

17 days after launching and with 18 left to go, the Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter campaign has finally achieved its base funding goal of $500k. In their celebratory Kickstarter update, Owlcat waste no time and announce a new stretch goal at $600k. If the campaign manages to raise that sum, a new class will be added to the game - the Magus, a spellsword-type class from Pathfinder's Ultimate Magic sourcebook. Here's its description:

All of us were brought up among countless fantasy novels, shows, games and movies. And when we play Pathfinder at the table we want our character to be close to what inspired us in the heroes and villains from these familiar pages and scenes, to be able to do things like they did, and that's a major part of what RPGs are about. Yet while there is no shortage of traditional fantasy heroes, who fight with both sword and magic with impunity - from Elric of Melnibone to Geralt the Witcher, to even Jedi Knights, it's hard to make such a character in an RPG. Most standard sets of RPG classes either don't give you the possibility to play such a character, or worse, limitations on character development render these builds ineffective. Fret not, for we have great news! Unveiling our latest stretch goal, let us show you the ideal class for you: the Magus.

There are those who spend their lives poring over ancient tomes and texts, unlocking the power of magic, and there are those who spend their time perfecting the use of individual weapons, becoming masters without equal. The Magus is at once a student of both philosophies, blending magical ability and martial prowess into something entirely unique, a discipline in which both spell and steel are used to devastating effect.

Much like his martially adept colleagues, the Magus makes skillful use of melee weapons in combat. He wears his armor without being hindered in his spellcasting abilities like many other magic-users. The Magus prefers one-handed weapons, because of his signature ability, Spell Combat, that allows him to use his other hand to cast spells while simultaneously attacking an opponent with his weapon of choice.

From the secrets of his magical counterparts, he gets a vast array of arcane spells, which both include classics, like Fireball and Haste, and entirely new spells, like Greater Blade Dash – a spell, that allows the Magus to teleport to a designated point and attack anyone unlucky enough to stand in his path. The Magus also gets an arcane pool – a reservoir of magical energy, that can be spent to imbue his weapon with various enchantments or to restore the spells he has already cast that day.

His battle prowess allows him to dauntlessly cast spells, which other arcane casters fear to use, for these spells would require them to approach dangerous melee combat. The Magus excels particularly at using touch spells, like Shocking Grasp and Force Punch, because his Spell Strike feature allows him to discharge them not by touching an opponent, but by hitting them with his weapon of choice, inflicting upon the target both the effects of the spell and full damage from the attack, all as part of casting his spell.

As he grows in power, the Magus unlocks powerful forms of arcana that allow him to merge his talents further, and at the pinnacle of his art, the Magus becomes a blur of steel and magic, a force that few foes would dare to stand against. Available forms of arcana include, for example, new properties to enchant his blade with, getting a familiar (a magical creature that will serve Magus as a pet), acquiring new spells from the Wizard’s spell list and the ability to use a wand as a second weapon in pair with his primary one.

Magus is a complex class with different paths of development to choose from. Players who are unsure whether they want to play a spellcaster or a melee combatant will find his access to both quite convenient. If you enjoy having the possibility to just quickly beat up a bunch of weaker enemies with normal attacks, whilst being able to utilize complex spell combinations in difficult fights, you will find the way of the Magus perfect. And for those of you who want the proverbial Jack of all trades, somebody with deadly skills in both melee and magic may find that the Magus fits this description, and in certain situations beats his specialized counterparts.
You may also be interested in yesterday's update, which featured a video of Alexander Mishulin explaining about Kingmaker's world exploration mechanics:

I think that would sound interesting if I could understand what he was saying.

There are 14 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #14: Base Funding Goal Reached, Magus Stretch Goal

Thu 22 June 2017
Winners of the MS Paint your way to a copy of Tyranny or PoE with GOG

Competition - posted by DarkUnderlord on Thu 22 June 2017, 09:03:08

Tags: GWENT; MS Paint Competition; Pillars of Eternity; Tyranny

A few weeks ago, to help celebrate GOG's RPG week and the launch of GWENT, we held a competition where you could MS Paint your way to a copy of Tyranny or Pillars of Eternity.

In usual Codex fashion, the competition turned into a horrible disaster with most entries being crappy in-jokes.

After discussion, the judges agreed that there were only 2 worthy entries, and that those 2 entrants would receive a copy of both Tyranny and PoE as a prize.

Our first winner is Explorerbc who was hilariously on point with his entry:

Our second winner is Nekot-The-Brave who unlike everyone else, actually bothered to put in some effort:


In recognition of that effort, Nekot not only wins a copy of Tyranny and PoE, but also a third game of his choice, courtesy of the guys at GOG.

Thanks to our two winners. The rest of you suck and can go die in a hole.

There are 44 comments on Winners of the MS Paint your way to a copy of Tyranny or PoE with GOG

Kickstarter Roundup: Ealdorlight, Longsword Table Tactics, Pillars of History

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 22 June 2017, 00:51:52

Tags: Ealdorlight; Longsword Table Tactics; Pillars of History; Revelation Games; Tritan Studios; Zero Sum Games

In between E3 and all the Pathfinder: Kingmaker updates, there have been a few indie Kickstarters recently that are worth mentioning. I'm not sure any of them have a chance of succeeding, but if we don't give them publicity, who will? The first of them is Ealdorlight by British indie dev Chris Parsons of Revelation Games, who previously created the space game Sol Trader. It's a single character turn-based fantasy RPG with Dwarf Fortress-like procedural world generation and a realistic damage model. The Kickstarter launched a couple of weeks ago and is looking to raise £40,000. You can grab yourself a copy of the game for £15. Here's the pitch video:

The second game is Longsword Table Tactics by Daniel DiCicco of Zero Sum Games, creator of the space 4X game StarDrive and its sequel. It's a highly customizable tabletop-inspired turn-based tactics game with an emphasis on PvP, though it will also have a single player campaign. The Kickstarter launched yesterday and is looking to raise $20,000. Unusually, the game is planned to be F2P, with the Kickstarter pledges starting from $10 offering pre-alpha access and other goodies. It still looks pretty cool though.

And finally there's Pillars of History, a historical isometric action-RPG set in the medieval Balkans. No, it has nothing to do with Josh Sawyer's historical RPG. The developers are a Bulgarian team called Tritan Studios, and they launched their Kickstarter today. They don't seem to have uploaded the (rather awkward) pitch video to their YouTube channel, but some development videos are available there. They're looking to raise $50,000 to develop the game. A copy can be secured for $15.

There are 7 comments on Kickstarter Roundup: Ealdorlight, Longsword Table Tactics, Pillars of History

Wed 21 June 2017
Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.

Codex Interview - posted by JarlFrank on Wed 21 June 2017, 19:27:55

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

A few weeks ago I went to Ghent Dublin in Belgium Ireland to play some Divinity OS 2 with Swen and two other Larian bros. We played the game's gamemaster mode for about an hour and it was a lot of fun. Of course, I also used the opportunity to pepper Swen with some questions provided by our wonderful community.

Here's a snippet:

From Projas and Jinn I should ask if the itemization has been changed, or if you’re still using the Diabloesque item drops. Personally, I’d also like to know your reasons behind this system – in Original Sin 1 most things were hand-placed. The locations were hand-made, the encounters were hand-placed, only the items are randomized. Why do you do that and why would you say this is a good design decision?

(laughs uncomfortably) I read the Codex, so I know very well what you guys think about it, but there’s a practical point to it. We change our balancing a lot, and all of our balancing is relative, so all those stats change automatically when we change something in the base systems. That’s the first part of it. The second part is that people do replay our games, and when you replay them, you will find different things. Third point is, we do place quite a few items that are hand-placed actually, and they’re set in stone, but often we give our items only one or two fixed abilities and have the rest of the stats be flexible. So you could have a dark sword that is always there and always gives you a certain ability, but its other stats will be randomized. It’s a mix of things. When I play it, I kind of like it that way. I don’t think I’d want to have it so that I get the same item every time, because that way I could always min-max one hundred percent, knowing which items are where, and I don’t think that’s a lot of fun actually.

But, theoretically, if you use the editor and make a fan campaign, you could make everything hand-placed if you wanted?

You can fix all our mistakes, yes.​

This is the first of a three-part series of articles on my visit to Larian's Dublin studio, so if you're interested in Original Sin 2 you can keep looking forward to the other two parts. With any luck, they'll actually be released before Original Sin 2 itself!

Enjoy the interview. And make sure to give me more awkward questions next time, didn't have enough of those to ask.

Read the full article: Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.

There are 129 comments on Jarl interviews Swen Vincke; Questions about Original Sin 2 and other things are answered.

Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #12: Chris Avellone's Narrative Design Goals

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 21 June 2017, 00:25:09

Tags: Chris Avellone; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

After taking a rare day off, today Owlcat Games deliver the long-awaited Chris Avellone Kickstarter update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker. It's a succinct description of Chris' design goals for adapting the Kingmaker module in a way that'll make it fresh even for people who have already played the pen-and-paper version.

I’ve wanted to do a Pathfinder RPG for quite some time. When the opportunity came up, Owlcat explained they wanted to do something surprising – take one of Pathfinder’s existing Adventure Paths (an interconnected series of six modules that act as long story) and turn it into a computer RPG.

So my first thought is - what the hell do you need me for?

…but the next thought was – I wonder how you could take a module and make it a compelling experience, especially if players may have already read it/played it. This wasn’t anything new to me – it happened all the time in my early gamemastering days. Any time a new published module came out, every gamer would buy it, tear off the shrink wrap, then scour every page so they’d know how to find every secret and magic item.

Then innocently, they might prompt their idiot gamemaster to run the adventure. I know because I was one of those GMs. (And um, one of those players.)

But back to the question. So how do you implement a story that others may have already experienced?

There were a few simple answers – one is, what really makes the adventure? The players around the table. In the computer game, those players are you – and your companions. And all of you can bring stories of your own which can be interwoven into the plot and depending on who you travel with, suddenly the adventure has not one story but several, depending on your choices and which allies you've selected.

Second, when implementing a story many hold dear, be respectful to the franchise and the original content. One of the challenges is that the Kingmaker story is one a lot of Pathfinder fans have experienced and loved, so we want to be respectful of that – there are certain touchstone moments that are key to the experience and we want to preserve the moments that are heart and feel of the original story.

Third, expand the story in new ways. With Pathfinder, this is easy to do because the modules themselves are structured with an open-world feel, so the ability to add events, dungeons, and encounters is easy – the Kingmaker plot wasn’t gated in the first place, so the adventure already has room for all these elements.

This is especially true of the characters in the Adventure Path. There are some in the Adventure Path that are described only as an event… and the GM is allowed to integrate them into the game as they see fit. And so have we. Veterans of the pen-and-paper adventure will find existing characters and NPCs in new areas, new ways, and sometimes, even with a new arc.

This also gives us room to introduce new allies, new foes, and a variety of side quests – some of which may grow naturally from the module’s original content, and veterans may appreciate it even more because they’ll understand the reason for these new elements perhaps quicker than most.

One example is the gnome explorer Jubilost, who players can encounter trying to ford a river early on in the Adventure Path… but in the computer version, you don’t just encounter him, he has the potential to become a companion in your party.

Part of the reason for this addition is because Jubilost… despite his sharp tongue… is a great walking encyclopedia for any party, and a great way to introduce both the player and their character to the Stolen Lands, so having him as a companion in that role makes sense, and across the entire game as well.

But the evolution of Jubilost’s role is just one example – we’ve taken many of the characters and expanded their roles and woven them into the plot and events in ways that Adventure Path veterans will understand – and some that will be a surprise. Expect a lot more content both from the Adventure Path itself and off the beaten path as well.​

That sounds good, but I have to say that it's strange that we still don't know who this game's other writers are going to be. We know from the recent AMA that Chris doesn't have time to do it all himself.

There are 23 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #12: Chris Avellone's Narrative Design Goals

Sun 18 June 2017
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #11: Characters and Animation

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sun 18 June 2017, 20:13:45

Tags: Alexey Drobyshevsky; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

The Pathfinder: Kingmaker Reddit AMA took place on Friday. A number of new details about the game were revealed, including details about the extent of Chris Avellone's involvement with its development. In short, it's not as large as we'd like it to be, although he's definitely not short on enthusiasm. You can read our impressions here, and an enterprising user on the Paizo forums has put together a summary of the entire session. But now we move on. Today's Kickstarter update introduces Owlcat technical director Alexey Drobyshevsky, who has the most amazing shirt. He's here to talk about Kingmaker's character models, inventory and animation in a six minute video, which offers a good look at the game's character UI.

Impressively, Kingmaker's character models appear to visually display nearly every item a character has equipped, including the potions on their belt and the contents of all four of their weapon set slots. Has any other RPG done that before?

There are 54 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #11: Characters and Animation

Sat 17 June 2017
Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #37: Modern Lore, Multiplatform Release, Michael Cranford

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 17 June 2017, 00:18:40

Tags: Bard's Tale; Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight; Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate; Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Michael Cranford; Nathan Long; Paul Marzagalli; Rebecca Heineman

The Bard's Tale IV was supposed to be at E3 this week, apparently represented by Techland, but other than this photo we didn't see or hear anything about it. I suspect something unusual may be going on here, but inXile aren't ready to talk about it yet in their new Kickstarter update. That's okay, because they have plenty of other things to say, starting with this curiously apologetic note from Brian Fargo about the style of the game's lore.

Hard to believe it's been nearly two years already since the game's Kickstarter campaign. I want you all to know that I'm very pleased with the way The Bard's Tale 4 is shaping up. The visuals are outstanding, the level design is strong, the puzzles are clever, and much of the personality and charm is starting to make it in. We've also worked out a deal to have someone very special provide input - you can find out about him at the end of the update. It's really coming together now and I can't wait to show you more.

Games today demand a deeper lore and sense of world than back in the day. My goal is to broaden the Bard's Tale world without losing the key people, places, spells, bard songs, etc. When we created Bard’s Tale back in 1985 we were young and excitable...more interested in mapping dungeons and torturing our players with teleporters, brutal combats, spinners, and darkness areas, than we were in telling a coherent story. We threw everything except the kitchen sink into those games - Nazis, ninjas, zen masters, robots, vampires, lizard men. We weren't exactly concerned with it making sense. Why did Mangar trap Skara Brae in ice? Does anybody ever say?

Well, we're for sure going to keep all the villains: Mangar, Lagoth Zanta, and the Mad God Tarjan. And we gotta keep Roscoe's and Garth's and the Adventurer’s Guild. Skara Brae's in there too, and the bard songs, the old spell names, along with all of the character classes including the ever popular Archmage. But knowing the lore is a bit thin and inconsistent (a lot of players made up better stories during their play-throughs than the games actually told) we needed to add some depth to the world. How do we stay true to the spirit and substance of the original games while adding the depth, history, and personality that today's players expect from a modern game?

Maybe we should start by figuring out how the events of the first three games fit together. How are Mangar, Lagoth Zanta, and Tarjan connected? What ambition drove them? Where did they come from? In what kind of world would beings of such power exist? What is the history behind it all? And can we give it all a unique flavor that will allow it to stand out from other fantasy games?

The Bard’s Tale was based loosely on Scottish and Orkney Island folklore so this seemed a good place to fill out the world and give it a unique look and feel. So let's deepen that - give it the mood, melancholy and menace of an old Celtic fairy tale. Let's make a world where elves keep humans as pets, where dwarves demand impossible payments for a broken deal, where the trow are a cursed and vagabond race, where Mangar and Lagoth Zanta and Tarjan were all corrupted by the whispers of evil entities from before the rise of man, where a ring of standing stones or an old stone arch or a tune whistled in a deep forest glade might open a door to worlds beyond the mortal realm.

Of course going in this direction required making some hard choices. Elves and dwarves are entirely in keeping with old Scottish lore. But orcs and hobbits are a bit played out and inventions of more modern authors, and aren't such a good fit. We dug deeper into the Orkney fairytales and found a race with a long and storied connection to Scottish legends, the Trow. So they will be our third non-human race, with unique combat abilities and useful songs they can teach your bard.

In the end it's a balancing act. Fighting to keep as many of the touch-points of the original Bard’s Tale series as we can, while at the same time filling out the story, giving the background some consistency, and updating the combat, graphics, and game-play to state of the art standards. And with every design decision, we are doing our best to make The Bard's Tale IV a game that new players will love and old fans will welcome as a true sequel to the original Bard's Tale trilogy.
Perhaps he's addressing the complaints about it that have been posted by oldschool Bard's Tale trilogy fans on the inXile forums from time to time. That may not be the only reason to strike an apologetic tone, though. The update also announces, as many people have been expecting for some time, that The Bard's Tale IV is now a multiplatform game. That's not really a big deal in this genre in my opinion, but inXile seem pretty contrite about it.

E3 is a time for announcements, and we do have a brief (but important) one of our own: inXile Entertainment is pleased to announce that The Bard’s Tale IV will be coming to consoles. We will have more to announce, including which consoles and who our publishing partner is, at a later date. We are also investigating ways for backers to opt for console versions of The Bard’s Tale IV, but please keep in mind that we do not currently know if the console version will ship at the same time as the PC one. Be on the lookout for more news across our social media channels and in these updates for further information. As soon as we can share details with you, we will.

For all our backers, it is important to note that The Bard’s Tale IV is a PC-centric release. As with our other Kickstarter projects, no crowdfunding money for the PC version was spent on console development. In addition, whether it is a partnership with Oculus that allows us to develop assets we can use for The Bard's Tale IV, hiring talented developers who bring a knowledge and passion for the series, or investing our own funds on top of the raised money, we are always looking for ways to make the best game possible for our fans. This is the next chapter in a classic franchise that goes back to mid-1980’s computer gaming, so that is the legacy which we are focused on (as you have seen throughout this update). We want to grow the fan base for this game and introduce the series to a new generation, but most of all, we want this to feel like a coming home party for those backers and fans who grew up with the games.​

And so to sweeten the pill, they announce the return of a name that we haven't seen since the Kickstarter was funded two years ago - original Bard's Tale creator Michael Cranford.

We've saved the best for last. In 1984, a very young Paul was playing Adventure Construction Set, a program which allowed users to build their own RPGs. Over the next couple of years, I learned the highs and lows of what it meant to make games. In 1986, I was wandering the aisles in Toys R' Us when I saw a box for the Commodore 64 version of The Bard's Tale, a game I had seen and loved, but was previously only available on Apple. I was finally able to play the game, and it was everything that I hoped it would be. As amazed as I was by the game, I was equally astounded by this picture on the inside cover of the game box:

The guy who made the game wasn't some grizzled, professional-looking white collar type. Instead, Michael Cranford looked like a version of every friends’ big brother - only a few years older, letting us young'uns know what high school and college would be like. The difference was that Michael wasn't making games just for fun; he was doing it as a job. When I interviewed for this position, I cited that memory from 1986 as the moment I realized that I could do more than just enjoy making games, I could possibly do so for a living. The Bard's Tale series was the inspiration for many developers who would go on to make role-playing classics over the next few decades. Any computer role-playing fan owes a debt to the young man in that picture!

This is why everyone at inXile Entertainment is proud to announce that Michael will be contributing to The Bard's Tale IV, providing feedback for us and even contributing a bit to the game itself. He may even have a cameo in the game somewhere. See if you can find him when the time comes! For new players to the series, this is just one more way we look forward to introducing you to the special magic of The Bard's Tale series. For returning veterans, it's that much more thrilling to know that we're not alone in our excitement to return to Skara Brae - Michael Cranford will be returning with us, too!
There's plenty more of that kind of thing in this update, including the news that lead writer Nathan Long is writing a series of Bard's Tale novellas to help tie together the lore more convincingly, and that an apparently pacified Rebecca Heineman has resumed work on the remastered Bard's Tale trilogy. I guess we're looking at the post-Torment inXile - humbled and desperate to appease their core audience. I'm not complaining!

There are 19 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #37: Modern Lore, Multiplatform Release, Michael Cranford

Thu 15 June 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Gameplay Footage on IGN E3 2017 Broadcast + Josh Sawyer Interview at PCGamesN

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 15 June 2017, 23:52:01

Tags: Adam Brennecke; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

I was worried that E3 2017 was going to end without a single live showing by a Real RPG™, but Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has come through at the last minute with a surprise appearance on IGN's daily E3 broadcast. Josh Sawyer and Adam Brennecke don't waste any time and hop right into the game, giving us ten minutes of continuous gameplay footage. It's a hectic romp through the Deadfire Archipelago that starts on a ship on the high seas, continues to a native town and from there to a dungeon crawl through an ancient temple, ending on a cliffhanger in some sort of alternate dimension. The whole thing's got a BG2-esque high level campaign feel to it. Check it out:

Other than the gameplay footage, there's nothing much new in this stream if you've been following the news about Deadfire. More interesting is this interview with Josh Sawyer at PCGamesN, which goes into detail about some of the game's new mechanics. The interviewer also asks Josh about the future of the Pillars of Eternity IP and about the commercial viability of the oldschool RPG genre given some of its recent disappointments.

A number of other websites (GameSpot, PCWorld, Bleeding Cool) have also published articles about Deadfire, but they're not as in-depth. They appear to have been given a shorter version of the footage that appeared on IGN.

There are 81 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Gameplay Footage on IGN E3 2017 Broadcast + Josh Sawyer Interview at PCGamesN

Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #8: The Sound and Music of Pathfinder

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 15 June 2017, 22:47:37

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

The Pathfinder: Kingmaker team are pretty dedicated to their daily update schedule. Their latest Kickstarter update is about the game's sound and music, a topic made more interesting by the fact that they already have a few samples to show off. Kingmaker's composer is none other than Mr. Poor Man's Jeremy Soule himself, Inon Zur. The developers appear to be putting an emphasis on creating ambient audio that is rich and adaptive, an important thing for making a game that feels alive. I'll include two of the four audio samples from the update in this post.

Sound and music became an essential part of every pen-and-paper RPG session, and it is an even more important part of the computer game. While working on Pathfinder: Kingmaker our first goal was to bring the world of Golarion to life. To achieve this goal we had to approach sound from many directions: sound effects are here to illustrate all the important actions and conditions of the player, while music and dialogues are helping to create a unique atmosphere of good old fairy-tale. This tale, we hope, will keep the player occupied for 40 or more hours.

To make our game audio vivid and memorable, first, we've conducted a research of several classic CRPGs and detected the brightest elements of their sound design. For example, Baldur's Gate 2 has great ambient sounds and emotionally charged magic spells while the strongest side of Dragon Age is its vivid dialogues and harsh, brutal combat sounds. And it is impossible to imagine Arcanum: Of Steamworks And Magic Obscura or Divinity: Original Sin without their excellent soundtracks.

Inspired by those games, that many consider classics in cRPG genre, we decided to take those ideas and approaches and make them fit for the modern game, but still very familiar and a bit nostalgic. On this basis, we created our sound document, which defined general aesthetics of the audio for Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

To start our work we had to set a mood for the whole game, and the best approach to this is to write a musical theme that represents this mood. We started our extensive creative research for the theme with the "Anvil of Crom" track by Basil Poledouris.

This musical composition proved to be an excellent reference - just like the events of Kingmaker module, the movie "Conan the Barbarian" is full of epic battles, intrigues, extreme manifestations of human nature and exploration of strange and inhospitable lands. We wanted to add these kinds of emotions to our game, so the composer Inon Zur wrote for us several beautiful pieces of music, which set the mood and provided the main theme for the Stolen Lands.

When we talk about sounds for the computer game, it's vital to remember, that unlike the game master, the game has no freedom of expression of its own. One of the important goals for the game audio is to make the player feel at home in the imaginary world, and for that, it must tell much more than we can see on the screen. To achieve this, we've created several systems which help to highlight the main emotion in every single moment of the game - whether it's a quiet conversation, a fierce battle against multiple enemies or a cautious exploring of an unknown location.

Besides, we can control the atmosphere of the game by changing the ambient sounds according to the activities on the screen, such as starting a battle. We want to concentrate on the action - so birds and other non-combat loud sounds around the player should immediately become quieter. Same thing happens in a dialogue.

Or we can change the mood of the scene, for example, we highlight the importance of the player in the throne room by changing lively chatting ambiance to whispers as the player, being a Baron, starts a conversation with one of the companions.

We try to avoid static nature sounds. The audio presentation for every location usually consists of several sound layers. Some layers are playing all the time; other depend on the hour of day or night. And a lot of the layers can only be heard if we are nearing some particular place - it can be chirping of various birds, humming of insects, creaking of trees, the rustling of gravel near the rock and so on. Also, we can hear something we can't see, if it is important for the right feeling of location - it can be the howling of a lone hungry wolf in the middle of the night, or distant rumble of an avalanche in the mountains, growl of hiding monster or laughter of playing children. All these sounds can tell us something about the location we are visiting.

Combat sounds have their specific qualities too. There can be more than 10-12 characters fighting against each other on the playing screen - each of them moving, attacking, taking damage, casting spells and commenting actions. Our sound system highlights the noises made by the members of our group: their attacks, hits, voice reactions to important changes (health-bar low, critical hit, fainting or death). This solution is important to the UI as it makes combat scenes understandable and clear. Some actions are so important that their sound will be heard even from a distance, like dealing a mighty blow to your enemy, which knocks him out or tears him into pieces. So even without paying attention to some particular part of the battle, you'll understand you've got one less problem to worry about.

The music in Pathfinder: Kingmaker isn't meant to be too catchy: tracks change each other after a significant pause, which lets the player feel the atmosphere of the location without unneeded distractions. However, if something important is about to happen - like a sudden battle or a cutscene - you will learn about that by a recognizable tune. And this tune is meant to be the signal that warns the player about an incoming situation.

All these systems must still undergo some fine tuning, but we won't stop even after that. In the future, we plan not only to improve what we've created but also to add some new sound mechanics. For example, we plan to add ambient location sounds which depend on the character's actions. When entering Stealth mode, we will correct the sounds of out footsteps and armor. We will provide voiceover to the most important and emotional dialogues, and the composers will create more tracks to create a special atmosphere in even more locations.​

The music is pretty nice, and the gameplay snippets look fun too. That writing is totally Avellone. Imagine if we could have an entire game like that...

There are 10 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #8: The Sound and Music of Pathfinder

Wed 14 June 2017
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #7: Camping System Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 14 June 2017, 23:51:37

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

The Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter campaign is now in its second week. It's raised over $400k, but the funding rate has now slowed down and it seems like it'll take a while longer to reach its goal of $500k. Over the past few days Owlcat have published a series of mostly uninteresting updates, concerning topics such as map creation, tabletop sensibilities and a certain Mary Sue-ish companion (poor MCA has to write that?). The latest update is about something important, though - the campaign's first stretch goal. If Kingmaker manages to achieve $550k of funding, Owlcat will add an elaborate camping system to the game. I quote:

We received many inquiries about our further goals, and we are happy to answer. Today we are revealing our first stretch goal - Camping. As in, getting some sleep and recovering from a long day of adventuring. Not the kind of camping where you watch the enemy spawn point with a sniper rifle.

It is a feature, which we feel is often oversimplified in computer RPGs. In most of them, resting in the wilderness is as simple as hitting the snooze button. Some party members might be injured or they complain about feeling tired, so you click the camp button and everyone is rested a second later. Worst case scenario, you may get ambushed, so you finish a quick battle and try resting again until you succeed. If you're familiar with tabletop role playing, then you'll agree that most good GMs won't let you off so easily. If you're in dangerous territory, then resting for the night will require a certain amount of preparation, such as appointing guards. Sadly, this is a rare feature in computer RPGs. In Pathfinder: Kingmaker we want camping to be more than just a button.

You're miles away from the nearest inn. There are monsters and bandits lurking everywhere. Sure, your party could try dropping everything right there and take a nap, though they may as well put up a big sign, saying, "We're over here! Please murder us and take our stuff!" The wiser option is to set up a camp. But you can't rest on an empty stomach. You've been adventuring for days and provisions are running low. Why not choose for one of your companions to be the designated hunter for the night? If they're skilled enough, they will refill your packs to keep you going for a few extra days. But beware - dinner fights back in the Stolen Lands and your hunter may get chased all the way back to the camp by a raging monster!

You have to select a place to rest carefully! If you pick a spot, which is too close to monsters, they will decide to investigate and attack your camp. In a dungeon you will have to get rid of at least some of its inhabitants, or they will never allow you to rest. It's always a good idea to assign a companion or two for guard duty. They will watch over the camp while the rest of the party sleeps. They can spot an impending ambush when they pass the required perception checks and warn the rest of the group to help them prepare. In case of a surprise attack, your unprepared party members may not always fight at their full strength. For instance your fighter may step into the fray wearing only his undergarments, because there is just not enough time to get dressed. Have you ever tried to sleep in a full suit of plate armor? Or if your guards fell asleep, monsters can gain a surprise round against your sleeping party - and that is an experience you'll want to avoid! There will be several special maps and events for the encounters while camping, be it a monster that is chasing your hunter, or travellers that decided to join you by the campfire.

Your camp is also a great place for your party to talk and bond. One of your companions may have been badly injured in a fight with an angry troll earlier. Perhaps they're feeling a little under the weather. Or maybe you have made an amazing discovery on your journey today? Or some information they remembered from the stories about this region? Your companions will want to talk about recent events, about what's they've seen and done in the Stolen Lands. You can take the time and listen to how they feel about your adventure together. We want this to be a fun, meaningful part of the game. Few other games ever do anything like this - Darkest Dungeon or the Realms of Arkania trilogy come to mind. We always loved it when games put a little extra thought into their camping system, which is why we're doing it this way for Pathfinder: Kingmaker.​

There's going to be a Kingmaker AMA on the Pathfinder subreddit in the coming days. Alexander Mishulin and Chris Avellone will be there to answer questions. We've also learned that Chris is planning to write a Kickstarter update, where he'll hopefully clarify his exact role in the game's development. No set date yet on either of these things, though.

There are 30 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #7: Camping System Stretch Goal

Tue 13 June 2017
Tyranny gets New Game+ patch and Event Pack DLC, Bastard's Wound expansion coming later this year

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 13 June 2017, 20:49:51

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Tyranny; Tyranny: Bastard's Wound; Tyranny: Tales from the Tiers

Back in March we learned that Obsidian were working on DLC for Tyranny, their 2016 RPG set-in-a-world-where-evil-won. Soon after that the game received a piddling portrait pack, with the promise of more significant content later on. Tyranny was a no-show at PDXCON last month, but Paradox management reassured us that something was on the way. Today that something has arrived. First of all, the game has received a significant new patch adding a New Game+ mode among many other changes. Second, there's a new DLC called Tales of the Tiers. Paradox are calling it an "Event Pack" and it claims to add new world map events, new quests and new dialogue to the game. Third, a full-blown Tyranny expansion pack called Bastard's Wound will be coming out later this year. It's set in a hidden enclave where refugees from Kyros' war are hiding, and will flesh out the game's notoriously barebones companions. Here's Paradox's press release about these new releases, which includes a short teaser trailer for the expansion:

New Area, Stories, and Characters Coming Soon in "Bastard's Wound"; Expanded Game Content Available Now in "Tales from the Tiers"

STOCKHOLM - June 13, 2017 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games for good and evil players alike, today announced new content for Tyranny, the award-winning role-playing game (RPG) developed by Obsidian Entertainment. Tyranny: Bastard’s Wound will launch later this year on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, and will offer players a new major quest line set in the mysterious illegal settlement of Bastard’s Wound. Read more about the upcoming expansion here:

In addition, for players who can’t wait to experience new content, a new Event Pack has been released today, titled “Tales from the Tiers,” featuring new world events and expanded quests for the original Tyranny. Tales from the Tiers is available now; find it here:

Tyranny, an original RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, takes place in the fantasy realm of the Tiers, where evil has conquered the known world and it’s up to the player to decide what is right or wrong as a Fatebinder - to mercilessly enforce the law or recklessly flout it. During this quest, the player will encounter Bastard’s Wound, a settlement and refuge from the dark, war-torn world, established in secret as a haven for those fleeing the wrath of Kyros the Overlord. The player must decide what is to become of the inhabitants as they mete out Kyros’ justice.

Featuring new characters and storylines, Bastard’s Wound takes a closer look at the race of the Beastmen, the fate of the refugee settlements, and all-new companion quests featuring three of Tyranny’s most memorable party members: Verse, Barik, and Lantry. Bastard’s Wound will also arrive alongside a free update to Tyranny, including new voice acting, expanded content in the game’s third act, and an all-new path to an unseen ending.

What’s more, players can explore new content starting today with a series of hidden stories from the world of Tyranny in Tales from the Tiers, a new Event Pack available now. The Event Pack features the untold stories of the many inhabitants of the hazardous, war-torn Tiers, including rebels, merchants, servants of Kyros, and even dangerous creatures. With new random encounter events, new quests, and new interactions with iconic Tyranny characters, Tales from the Tiers will allow players to experience a new facet of the game’s rich and compelling story.

For more information on Tyranny, please visit

The Tales from the Tiers event pack is available on Steam and GOG for $7. The base game is currently on sale with a 50% discount on both sites, and the Bastard's Wound expansion already has a Steam page as well. The full changelog for the new patch is available here. This is Tyranny's attempt at a comeback. Does it stand a chance?

There are 76 comments on Tyranny gets New Game+ patch and Event Pack DLC, Bastard's Wound expansion coming later this year

Ubisoft E3 2017 Conference: South Park 2 is still on the way, coming October 17th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 13 June 2017, 01:27:34

Tags: South Park: The Fractured But Whole; Ubisoft

This year's Ubisoft E3 press conference was pretty crazy. The highlight was undoubtedly the surprising announcement of the long-awaited Beyond Good & Evil 2. The new Assassin's Creed (which is apparently an RPG now) was given some more love after its introduction at the Microsoft press conference yesterday. Oh, and there was also some sort of Mario XCOM game. No, really. For our purposes though, we'll focus on South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Ubisoft's in-house sequel to Obsidian's RPG, now making its third E3 appearance. Here's its new trailer and an eleven minute gameplay video:

South Park 2 was originally supposed to have come out in December, but has been delayed at least twice, most recently last month. Turns out Matt & Trey don't work with Ubisoft any more efficiently than they did with Obsidian. The game's release date is now October 17. Hopefully that will be the final one.

There are 3 comments on Ubisoft E3 2017 Conference: South Park 2 is still on the way, coming October 17th

PC Gaming Show at E3 2017: BattleTech Campaign Preview

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 13 June 2017, 00:21:37

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman; Mitch Gitelman

This year's E3 press conferences haven't been very relevant to the Codex compared to previous ones. With their RPG franchises on hiatus, BioWare are now focused on Anthem, their new Destiny clone. Despite rumors to the contrary, Bethesda also had no RPGs to announce, and the most interesting thing their conference had to offer was Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, an unexpected Dishonored 2 standalone expansion. Today's PC Gaming Show was as dull and poorly paced as ever, but at least it had some actual Codexian games on display, chief among them Harebrained Schemes' BattleTech. This year, both Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman showed up to offer an early glimpse at the game's single player campaign, including the Argo DropShip that will serve as the player's base of operations. The full segment can be viewed here. PC Gamer have helpfully split out the two gameplay bits:

There was more to see at the PC Gaming Show, including the announcement of Griftlands, a fun-looking turn-based RPG from hotshot indie developer Klei Entertainment, and the obligatory annual appearance by Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord. For all you strategyheads, there was also a new XCOM 2 expansion pack called XCOM 2: War of the Chosen and Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, an HD rerelease of the original. On the other hand, despite their known presence at E3, there was nothing from Obsidian or inXile. Whatever they have to show, they'll be doing it independently.

There are 12 comments on PC Gaming Show at E3 2017: BattleTech Campaign Preview

Sat 10 June 2017
Vault Dweller talks about life and The New World at RPGNuke

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 10 June 2017, 17:50:01

Tags: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

There's a new interview with the illustrious Vault Dweller over at Russian RPG website RPGNuke. It starts with some questions about VD's opinion on the current state of the RPG scene and about his life after Age of Decadence, before moving on to The New World. The interview isn't quite as righteous as the one he did there in 2013, but it does have one great zinger. I quote:

Let's talk about your new game. It promises to be visually richer, as it is developed on the basis of Unreal Engine 4. Are there any plans for cutscenes or the narration will be conducted only through dialogue means, as in The Age of Decadence?

Only through dialogues. Animating numerous cutscenes would require resources we don't have. Apparently, Bioware doesn't have them either.

What are your inspirations for creating The New World? Aside from Orphans of the Sky, obviously.

Assorted 50's sci-fi from Asimov's Foundation to Van Vogt's The Weapon Shops of Isher and Aldiss' Non-Stop.

There will be 12 potential party members in The New World. Even if we consider that we will not meet all of them during a single playthrough, it's quite a lot. How much will they be integrated into the plot?

A lot compared to what and why?

Anyway, first and foremost, the party members are mortal and expendable, so you'll need extra companions in case you start running out. You'll get up to 3 out of 4 characters in the starting town (the Pit) to make sure you get all the help you need, the rest as you explore the ship. While they won't be as one-dimensional as Dungeon Rats' companions, they won't have tragic backstories, childhood issues, or personal quests of self-fulfillment. Their job is to watch your back, occasionally backstab you or to keep you in check, and affect your options.

Most party members will be "unlocked" via exploration and side quests, a couple will be provided by factions.

There are mutants planned to be among the party members. Will they have any abilities that are inaccessible to ordinary people?

No. Our mutants aren’t Fallout-like super soldiers but outcasts and that’s what we’re focusing on.

How will the faction reputation system work? Basically, in old games, if you were performing a task for a rival force, it would mean that all the NPCs in the location became "red" and started attacking you, which is pretty stupid and primitive. Will The New World use a different approach? Maybe they'll send an assassin for you or try to punish you in some other way?

We’ll continue developing concepts we used in AoD. Working for a faction will slowly reduce your reputation with the rival factions, reducing your employment opportunities and eventually reaching a point demanding actions (attacking your base of operations, sending bounty hunters after you, etc).

In AoD we hesitated to go too far as such actions would mean instant death for non-combat characters but the party setup offers more flexibility when it comes to the “righteous infliction of retribution”.

In one of the updates you wrote about new hit system in The New World. Can you give a detailed explanation about how it works.

Instead of rolling for passive and crits separately (like in AoD), we'll go with a single roll and 4 outcomes:
  • Miss
  • Graze (half damage)
  • Hit
  • Critical Hit (damage X modifier, which is 1.25 (default) + feat bonus)
Basically, something like this:
  • 1-5 critical hit
  • 6-70 hit
  • 71-80 graze
  • 80-100 miss
By default CS range is 5 and Graze range is 10, but they can be modified by certain weapons and attacks. For example, a shotgun would have a much wider graze range than a pistol.
That attack resolution system looks familiar, doesn't it? I would assume that enemy defenses are also a factor in the calculation.

There are 40 comments on Vault Dweller talks about life and The New World at RPGNuke

Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #3: Building the Kingdom + Gameplay Videos at IGN

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 10 June 2017, 14:43:16

Tags: Alexander Mishulin; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Owlcat have published another Kickstarter update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker. This time it's about their plans for the game's kingdom management mechanic. Unlike the previous update, this one is conveyed in video form, with a six minute explanation from creative director Alexander Mishulin. Unfortunately, he isn't any more comprehensible than he was in the pitch video, so I'm not sure I could give you a summary.

Luckily, there's more. Over at IGN, there's a preview of Kingmaker by Rowan "Poor Man's Cobbett" Kaiser. This one includes for the first time full-length gameplay videos from the prototype that was shown at Paizocon. They reveal a game that has been undeniably inspired by Obsidian's recent RPGs, with scripted interactions, use of prose in dialogue, and even Tyranny-style lore tooltips. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Looks pretty fun. Character movement/animation is a bit off, but that can be excused at this early stage.

There are 35 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #3: Building the Kingdom + Gameplay Videos at IGN
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