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 Report: Wasteland 2 Release Party
Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee
on Mon 29 September 2014, 12:11:35
Sometime in early 2012, when InXile's sequel to the 1988 cult classic RPG Wasteland was being crowdfunded, we at the RPG Codex ran our own fundraiser campaign for a Codex-themed in-game location and statue. When Wasteland 2 was finally released earlier this month, we got what we paid for -- have you found our in-game shrine already? -- which, incidentally, also included an invitation for two persons to attend the Wasteland 2 Release Party on September 19th in Newport Beach, CA, where the two lucky invitees would party, drink, and celebrate with the likes of Brian Fargo and Chris Avellone.
We wanted to find someone local to go on our behalf, but as it happens none of our staff or regular contributors live in California. So we turned to the esteemed community member MRY, who happens to live close to Newport Beach and who in his turn suggested the Californian artist/writer/music critic Daniel Miller (http://bydanielmiller.com/). Together, they went to the party on the Codex's behalf and also did two independent write-ups about what they saw and did there and how it all went. (With pictures! So be sure to read the full article.)
Here's a snippet from Dan's write-up...
What goes on in the darkened halls of the Codex? Told that I was there writing a report for the site, those that knew would produce a pained sort of smile, observe the impressive tenure or wide readership of the Codex, and admit their own varied past with the site. Then a pause, and remembrance of a place on the internet where good ideas (and decency) are harried, tortured, profaned, shredded and whittled to oblivion. Of course there was talk of the incredible depth reached in conversations on the site, and there was talk of diamonds in the rough (the handle Jaesun?). Brian Fargo likened RPG Codex to Howard Stern in that it had at some point gone off the cliff and never returned, and a wild-eyed whiskered fellow remarked that perhaps the in-game Codex statue should have had smaller genitals.
This fellow was promptly hushed by Joby Bednar, ready to regale me with feats of code. This man personally built a 6502 emulator to embed into Wasteland 2, which allows the tech-savvy player access to a 64k computer right from an in-game terminal. Thus, a player can insert their very own 6502 programs and use them within Wasteland. Beyond this, there are apparently hundreds of other little tidbits scattered throughout the game, but Joby was thankfully forthright with a hint exclusive to this article: In a missile silo, there is a console which allows for player input. Type the word ‘Joshua’.
With that, Joby drifted away, and I noticed that a few had occupied a booth away from the group. At this table was a prominent member of SomethingAwful, name of Quarex, who informed me that we were tacit enemies. Seated around him were the scripters, the soldiers, whom I was hoping would be eager to gripe. With hands flailing, Ben Moise confessed the great labor that went into making sure that everyone was killable in Wasteland 2. In fact, a few people had a complaint about that feature, and it ended up being a favored question of the evening.
It would seem that most employees grudgingly accept the freedom of murder as an expected feature of the series. Asking the question in a more general sense though, I found a great deal of discomfort on the topic. A couple of people asked me if their answers would be on the record. The self-purported moral compass of the group cited her experience as a parent. A few were more diplomatic, saying that freedom to kill is necessary according to the needs of a specific game. When I finally got my moment with Kevin Saunders, he made raised more practical concerns: the feature was costly in time and effort and precluded child characters, unlike in Tides of Numenera.
...and a snippet from MRY's:
I never did beat Wasteland, even though I went back to it time and again over the years. As best I can recall, I stopped playing at the sewers. (For how many dozens of RPGs is that sad statement true?)
All the same, I could recount a hundred stories. Trying desperately to tie up Bobby's dog. Half-weeping as I had to shoot my way out of Highpool. Blood sausage. A misaimed howitzer. The best mayor a kid in DC could hope for. Dancing on tables. Faran Brygo. Sweating, unable to sleep, after reading a paragraph in the book that said I had been cheating and the police were coming to get me. Wondering for most of my life whether, in fact, you got to go to Mars at the end of the game. Scorpitrons. "Mom, what's 'herpes'?"
Now I'm 34 years old, and I'm recounting that last bit to Brian Fargo. "And that's how I learned about safe sex," I conclude, as he glances in horror toward his two young kids standing next to him. Shit. "How, exactly," he thinks, "do I get myself into these things?"
* * *
Talking to Fargo impresses several things upon me. The first is how young this industry is. Fargo's career seems to span most of its meaningful history -- I know, Chester Bolingbroke would say I'm leaving out decades of PLATO games -- and in fact covers my entire lifetime as a gamer, including almost every high point in it. And yet he's a youthful 50, and his kids are hardly older than mine. At various times over the night he describes himself as "just an entertainer" and "a gamer at heart"; in fact, he is at once an elder statesman and new frontiersman.
He's also, quite obviously, a shrewd businessman who has survived tremendous upheavals both in his own career and in the industry as a whole. At one point, he mentions that when doing a deal, he looks at the other side's headquarters on Google Maps and gets a feel for how lavishly they live. "It says one thing if they're in a strip mall. It says something else if they're in a palace." (*cough*Double Fine*cough*) I get the sense that he's had both sets of digs in his days.
The same savvy that has served him so well makes me cautious about drawing any conclusions about Fargo's inner character. He certainly seemed charming, sincere, generous with his time and attention, a doting dad, a gentle boss, a true believer in games, and so on. But, as the Bard wrote, "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain -- at least I am sure it may be so in Newport." Or something like that. I want to believe in him -- and I have no reason not to -- but I wouldn't stake my life on it.
Still, to listen to the man talk about games he's played, games he's made, games he's dreaming of making, it's hard not to fall a little bit in love. He complains passionately about reviewers who can't, or won't, understand complex RPGs, and vows that next time he's following Larian's lead and not distributing advance review copies. At one point, he declares that Sacrifice is the best multiplayer game of all time. Sacrifice happens to be one of my all-time favorites -- for the art design, the voice acting, the writing (which combines po-faced Soul Reaver-ism with sly subversiveness and lots of wordplay) -- but in my opinion the multiplayer is trash. I tell him as much, and he rolls his eyes. "I'm sure you weren't playing it 3 on 3." He's right. He launches into stories of thrilling matches over the years, of hustling kids in some tournament, of little cheats to juggle enemy wizards. The word "manahoar" rolls off his tongue with practiced fluency.
Every once in a while, we ask for money from people because we can! This time, we thought we'd offer something more in return than just potato for ad-free time. This time...
Behold the 16 GB Codex Troll USB 3.0!
Image is final representation, with colours shown. His arm holes are cut-out as are his feet, but the soft plastic bends more easily than it will break (at least going by the sample I've received).
Product Colour: Fully Customised Moulded Designs
Features: Moulded soft PVC in multiple colours and shapes, USB 3.0 flash drive.
Write and Read Speed is up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 Flash Drives.
OS support: Windows XP, VISTA, 7, MAC OSX.
Grade A memory, 10 Year warranty on data retention, 1 year replacement warranty on faulty manufacture.
Certification: CE, FCC, USB3.0, RoHS
Delivery: 2-4 weeks (indent) from art approval
We've started a campaign here. Simply donate $30 USD and you will receive in the mail your very own 16 GB Codex Troll USB 3.0 flash drive. Please note price includes postage to anywhere in the world.
All donations will also receive 2 potato per dollar. So $30 = 60 potato, which means you can add another +3 months ad-free time to your account, as well as gaining a USB drive. The minimum order is 100 units, so we need to raise $1,500 (which includes PayPal fees) to make it worthwhile - which I've given us a month to do.
If we do fail to raise the full amount and have to cancel the campaign, everyone who donated will receive additional potato as compensation. However, there seems to be enough interest already.
We've met the minimum to make this worthwhile. Production is expected by end of October, meaning they'll be mailed out the first few weeks of November.
Everyone who donates will be contacted by the e-mail they donated with for their shipping address.
Depending on your countries postal service, you should expect to get your USB drive before Christmas. We'll also consider doing future stuff like this as well. Perhaps other designs as well as different types of items.
You will receive 1x USB drive for each multiple of $30 donated (So $60 gets you 2x and so on). If you donate anything less than $30, u r dum.
Serpent in the Staglands developers Whalenought Studios have updated the game's website with some details on skills and spells, and in a post on their new forums, they're letting us know that a beta (for backers) is imminent:
We’ve updated the site to include data on the skills and spells available at the beginning of the beta, which is limited to grade 1. In-game you only see data for your current skill level and what you’ll get with an additional point put in, so this was a convenient location for looking at it whole. We’ll be updating those as we balance throughout the beta, along with adding in grade 2 down the road.
We’re expecting the beta to open up to backers next weekend, and to start will include a small group of areas in Orf’s Bridge at the beginning of the game. More details on that when we release.
As the beta is progressing, we’ll be releasing updates responding to any bugs and your suggestions, and eventually add in the second half of the beta content and grade 2 of skills to test. We’re aiming on not releasing any of the major plot oriented discoveries, which for as open as the game is can be a challenge, so we’re changing a few things for the beta builds. Everything is feature complete, so you can test everything that will be in the game in a low-level setting.
I only remember this being teased before and I'm not completely sure if it's new, but they have also uploaded the world map for Serpent in the Staglands. Neat. Neat-o. That's neat.
The latest guests to be interviewed on Matt Barton's show are none other than SSI veteran designer David Shelley and veteran artist Laura Bowen, who have come to talk about the upcoming Seven Dragon Saga. It's a nice little interview, that goes over stuff that we more-or-less already know, with an emphasis on the game's character creation (which is not as simple as might be assumed from looking at the images on the game's website), combat (random encounters will definitely be a thing) and faction-based choice & consequence. Throughout the interview, David and Laura also share various little anecdotes about their SSI days.
At one point, Matt asks a question submitted by some dude named Gabor Domjan about Seven Dragon Saga's supposed martial arts/anime influence, which caused a bit of stir on the Codex when it was first announced. David clarifies that while the game will have a bit of an "international flair" and also some wuxia-esque fantastic abilities, the setting is still essentially standard Western fantasy, and nothing like, say, Jade Empire. Matt also asks whether SSI CEO Joel Billings is involved with the TSI enterprise. David replies that Joel, being a wargaming guy at heart, is not interested, but that he wishes them well.
However, the big news of this interview is that Seven Dragon Saga actually will have a Kickstarter campaign, and early next month at that. So what the heck was that Kotaku UK thing? Make up your minds, guys.
On a related note - you might be aware that Matt Barton is first and foremost a Gold Box guy. He clearly had a blast doing this interview, and now he's decided to he wants to put together a full-blown short film about the Gold Box games. But, as he explains on his blog, he'll only begin the project if he gets 25,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. So you'd better subscribe now! Between this, and allowing Patreon backers to vote on his next interview, it looks like Matt is finally starting to get serious about promoting himself.
The latest update on the Underrail development blog introduces a new feature that has been added to the game - environmental hazards. Or to be more specific, fire and gas.
Hey guys, we took a couple weeks off in August/September to recharge our batteries, but we're back now and we're kicking it into high gear. While we're also working on new areas and quests (we'll get to that in some future dev log), I'm taking this time to finally implement last of the game mechanics (not quite done yet). In this case that would be fire and gas.
You will now be able to create fire bombs (such as Molotov cocktail) that set character, creatures and the ground on fire as well. The burning ground is very dangerous as it deals both flat and -percentage of max health- damage so you cannot ignore it even on high levels. The amount of damage dealt depends on the intensity of the flames (which depends on the power of the fire bomb, but can also stack if you throw multiple bombs).
You'll now also be able to craft gas grenades. The only type of gas grenade at the moment is "Toxic Gas Grenade" which deals flat bio damage. The damage dealt depends on the density of the gas (it's more dense at the source). While toxic gas doesn't deal damage quickly, the grenade does last for a long time and also bio resistance is currently not present on standard combat armors and if introduced later it will not be in generous amounts. Specialized equipment to deal with this and more powerful bio-hazzards will be added in the future. Also, players will encounter permanent sources of toxic gas in certain places (such as the one on the screenshot).
Deus Exy and Deus Exier! In addition to that, Styg has implemented some improvements to the game's UI, which you can read about in the full update.
RPG players are generally pretty addicted to the coolest form of game playing around. But what about if you are in the mood for something a little different? The people at All Slots download list their favorite slots games for you to choose from. Slots are fun and can win you a stack of cash.
Sat 27 September 2014
RPG Codex Invades Steam
Community - posted by Infinitron
on Sat 27 September 2014, 09:26:08
Several months ago, the overlords of PC gaming over at Valve began allowing unprecedented numbers of new games on to their platform. Thus began a long debate over the issue of "discoverability", and many developers expressed a fear that their games would drown in the endless torrent of shovelware. Earlier this week, Valve finally issued their response to this concern, in the form of a massive new update to the Steam client. The update consists of an overhaul to the Steam front page user interface, which has received several new discoverability features.
Among these features is the new concept of "Steam Curators", which is actually an expansion of the long-existing Steam group functionality. Groups may now recommend (or "curate") games with a short description and review link, while Steam users can follow their curation feeds. The curated games appear on the users' front pages, thus allowing them to potentially discover good games lost in the chaos of Steam's endless new releases and bargain bin sales.
Upon learning this, several Codexers, including myself, immediately realized the potential for Glorious Codexia to plant her flag in yet another tract of digital soil. A couple of days later (and after a frustrated attempt to take over an existing unofficial RPG Codex group), the official RPG Codex Steam group was born.
Right now, our group already has over 200 members and its curation feed has over 900 followers (leaving the RPGWatch group in the dust, naturally). It's also the most popular result by far when searching for "RPG" in the Steam Curators section. We've appointed some of the Codex's finest to curation duty, and have already recommended 46 suitably Codexian RPGs. Things are looking good.
So why am I posting this? First of all, if you haven't heard of all of this and haven't joined/followed the group yet, please feel free to do so. It's a hell of a lot better than letting Total Biscuit or Valve's dumb suggestion algorithm decide what games should appear on your Store page.
Second, while our curators have done a great job thus far, there are some games that they just aren't familiar enough with, and we'd like to have meaningful descriptions in our feed, as opposed to endorsing games blindly. Not to mention, condensing a "review" of a game into the 152 characters that Steam allows can be fairly challenging!
So, while curation privileges will remain exclusive to a small group of users for the foreseeable future, we are open to submissions of new descriptions. In particular, the following games are in need of an endorsement:
Realms of Arkania 1+3 Wasteland 1 Wizardry 6 Geneforge 2-5
Avernum: Escape from the Pit
Furthermore, if you see a recommendation in our feed that you feel isn't sufficiently descriptive and think you can do better, feel free to suggest a replacement. If it's good enough, we'll take it.
Here's an interesting new interview with Chris Avellone, over at a writing-focused website called Scripts & Scribes. As you might expect, much of the interview consists of general information about MCA's career and his work as a narrative designer, but there are also a few juicy tidbits about the development of both Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. Furthermore, Chris also reveals that Obsidian has two unannounced projects in the works. Here are the relevant quotes.
On his current activities at Obsidian:
For example, in the past month, I was doing core writing work on one of our internal projects, now I’m illustrating cartoon Kickstarter backer rewards, and also doing creative lead duties on another of our unannounced internal projects scripting lore and world sourcebook material. It’s a lot to juggle, and it hasn’t left a lot of time for much else – although it’s one interesting aspect of our studio that the owners themselves don’t hesitate to pitch in to help with a product’s success, whether interface, optimization, writing installers, setting up the website and backer portals, or even doing what I am usually enlisted to do: design, usually narrative.
On his contribution to Wasteland 2:
The project got backed, I got on board, and was responsible for several things:
- Providing what templates and design formats I could for area design and reactivity.
- Writing the vision document for the game (which we shared with the public) incorporating all the design pillars that Fargo and inXile wanted the game to embrace. This was pretty terrifying since I wasn’t sure how it would be received.
- Pitching in on the story design meetings.
- Organizing a small area design team (Team Tony) composed of a former programmer I worked with, Anthony Davis (and now work with again at Obsidian), and a former co-designer, Tony Evans, who I worked with on Knights of the Old Republic II, NWN2, NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer, and more… including Torment: Tides of Numenera (which I’ll go into more depth about below) to help develop the southern ruins of Los Angeles.
- Designing the maps, quests, monsters, and encounters for several locations (and sometimes variations of the same location depending on reactivity): Highpool, Agricultural Center, Seal Beach, and an additional area. To give credit where credit was due, the actual dialogue for the first two areas were done by two designers: Nathan Long (who I am also working with on Torment: Tides of Numenera) and Patrick McLean – I was responsible for doing a great deal of what I did in Fallout 2, which was to design isometric areas, quests, etc. Nathan did dialogue for the Ag Center, and Patrick did Highpool.
- Also, writing a WL2 novel as well. Phew.
So there was a lot to do, but for the chance to work on one of my favorite franchises of all time? Totally worth it.
On the development of Torment:
It draws a number of things – the game makes the examination of themes through character interaction and narrative one of its pillars (which is rare in a title), there is a cast of companions with at least the same level of depth and complexity as the original, and we have a deep, no-holds-barred story like the original that you can sink your hands into. The development team also consists of a number of the key people from the original – Creative Lead Colin McComb, and programmer Adam Heine as the Lead Designer (Adam writes better than me, btw, so he basically does everything better than me), and Aaron Meyers, who did environment art for the original Torment.
In addition, developers from Obsidian who developed Mask of the Betrayer (commonly held as a fantasy RPG with the same depth as Torment) are present on the team as well: Tony Evans, George Ziets, and Kevin Saunders and more. They understand the heart of the license, and they know how to make it even better.
That said, Torment: Tides of Numenera differs in significant ways – combat is much improved, there is a non-judgmental alignment and development system (called “the Tides,” colored variations of psychic physics the player can mold and be molded by) and the context of the world, while sharing some hallmarks with Planescape in terms of richness, is notably different in that it takes place in the Numenera pen-and-paper game world, a world that’s built on the technological wreckage of nine worlds. This mess of technological ruin forms the principal of magic, exploration and areas in the game… with the guiding premise being that technology, when it reaches certain heights, becomes indistinguishable from magic.
[...] Torment: Tides of Numenera got much of its lore start by having five of the designers each writing a novella set in the world of Numenera. These lore pieces factor into the game’s area design, in some respects acting as narrative lore pieces for designers to build on in when doing level design. The first area, the Bloom, has ample evidence of this – it draws from one of the first Torment: TON novellas by Mur Lafferty for much of its foundation, which allows readers to see key insights that other players may be unaware of.
In terms of other outlets, Numenera itself is already a setting that was developed for pen-and-paper games by Monte Cook, and it was leveraged for the Torment: TON game much in the same way the original Torment game leveraged Dungeons and Dragons’ Planescape license. So in essence, both iterations of Torment were born from pen-and-paper gaming… from there, prose works are part of that process, and there has been discussion concerning other media aspects (graphic novels, for example).
Time will tell, but for now, the focus is on making a great title.
I wonder why they didn't ask him about Pillars of Eternity.
It's fun being admin of the codex. I get to deal with all the fun legal stuff that happens as a result of the idiocy you morons get yourselves involved with.
This time, it's the latest Cleveland Mark Blakemore drama. Cleve has a long history of being an idiot. As do many of our users. So it's no surprise the Codex has received another in a long line of legal threats that are somehow related to Cleve.
Now I believe in freedom of speech. In fact the rpgcodex.net was founded on the principles of rigorous debate. To paraphrase Voltaire, "I'll defend your right to be an idiot", or as Saint_Proverbius used to say, "Let the idiots have enough rope and they can hang themselves".
We do not fear speech.
However, there is a line where speech crosses into action, and we have a problem. Simply put, anyone here making threats against anyone - specifically that is, saying or suggesting anything that might be illegal - we will not defend.
The rpgcodex.net takes no legal responsibility for your comments. We simply provide a format through which you can voice your opinion. If there ends up being a problem, you will be personally held accountable for your own comments.
As such, everyone needs to be advised of the following:
1. All of you should refrain from making remarks that are illegal (usually the ones of a "defamatory, untrue, threatening, and damaging" kind). If you do make such remarks, and there is an issue, you will be held personally responsible and we will have no qualms passing your details on to a lawyer so that they can take any action they deem necessary (and is within their legal right).
That means we may be legally required to give a lawyer IP addresses and timestamps, along with your registered email address or other details about your account. You may think your anonymous online username protects you, but trust me, it doesn't as much as many of you would think. Even those of you who use TOR, and then proceed to tell us where you live... along with every detail about your life.
2. Furthermore, any comments that are pointed out to us which are illegal, will be removed. We have a rule against illegal stuff so this shouldn't come as a surprise.
That said, I've got no interest in reading a 396 page thread and deciding what is or isn't illegal. I am not a lawyer. So all of you should be able to exercise a modicum of common sense and know that some things you say online may have consequences.
As I have said before and will say again, I am not your baby-sitter. As human beings, you need to take responsibility for your own actions. So, if you find yourself making a comment that might get you into trouble "in the real world", you really do need to think again before hitting the submit button.
Several months ago, Codex legend Cleveland Mark Blakemorelaunched a new and exciting phase in the long-running development of his magnum opus, Grimoire. Having finally brought down the number of bugs in the game to a manageable level, he began a countdown, crossing them off one by one. When the last bug was eliminated, the game would enter a final testing phase pending its final release. Unfortunately, it appears that events have conspired to put a hitch in Cleve's plans.
Back in April, the Codex first took notice of a certain game that was in development. Described as a "fast-paced multiplayer FPS combat meets tactical MOBA inspired magic... with wizards!", it appears to have begun development sometime before 2014, but no earlier than late 2012. The developers are an indie modder outfit named Omniconnecton with a somewhat peculiar history. The game's title? Grimoire. Uh oh.
Cleve himself, as well as a number of his fans and followers, immediately informed the folks at Omniconnection of their infringement on his title. Cleve was also advised to file an official trademark for Grimoire. But he did not take the threat of the false Grimoire seriously. It was incredibly obscure, and a Google Search for "Grimoire" made it clear that Cleve's Grimoire was the only Grimoire in town. Surely the folks at Omniconnection would change the name when they realized that. After all, what kind of name is "Grimoire" for an FPS, anyway?
Well, that's not what happened.
Fast forward to September 12th. Omniconnection's impostor Grimoire comes back into the limelight in a big way, with a Kickstarter campaign and Steam Greenlight page. And not only that, it turns out that back in April, they'd filed a trademark of their own for the name "Grimoire". It is unclear whether the trademark was filed before or after they'd been informed of the existence of the original Grimoire, but regardless, they must have been aware of it during the long months it took for the trademark to be finalized.
Although advised that the wisest course might be to ignore these events and let the Kickstarter languish in obscurity, this was a threat the great Neanderthal felt he could not ignore. Submitting his customary $1 pledge to gain access to the Kickstarter's comments section, Cleve declared war on the false Grimoire. Opposing him was one Ryan Morrison, superhero-themed "Video Game Attorney" and Omniconnection's legal representative.
Each side brought in reinforcements. On Cleve's side, the Kodex Kleve Kult lept into action, launching a pro-Blakemore Twitter account (since taken down), a legal defense fund (also taken down), and even a White House petition, not to mention dozens of comments in Cleve's support. Mr. Morrison, meanwhile, no doubt hoping to capitalize on the controversy to assist his clients' fundraising efforts, used his connections to bring in the heavy guns - mainstream media coverage. Namely, an article by Andy Chalk over at PC Gamer. Meanwhile, gaming has-beens luminaries such as Derek Smart, Guido Henkel and Rebecca Heineman stood by the sidelines and laughed.
And that's more or less where we stand today. Realizing that his threats are falling on deaf ears, Cleve has finally committed to seeking legal assistance to block the false Grimoire. What happens now is anyone's guess.
To be honest, I can't endorse Cleve's unsympathetic response to Andy Chalk's attempts to get more information on the controversy. And he had plenty of opportunities to avoid this mess altogether. He could have tried harder to reach a behind-the-scenes settlement. He could have filed that trademark himself. He could have filed an opposition to Omniconnection's trademark. Heck, he could have even just submitted Grimoire to Steam Greenlight all the way back in 2012, and that might well have been enough to prevent Omniconnection's Grimoire from ever existing under that name.
Nevertheless, the situation is clearly unjust. As a member of the RPG Codex, I cannot help but side with the oldschool RPG over the "multiplayer FPS with MOBA elements". And besides, Cleve may be an asshole, but he's our asshole. That being said, for now all we can do is watch as a hilarious new chapter in the interminable Grimoire saga unfolds. Grab your popcorn, gentlemen, for GrimoireGate is upon us.
Yesterday saw the release of Wasteland 2, the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 Interplay classic. What many people don't know, however, is that the original Wasteland's publisher, Electronic Arts, tried to release their own Wasteland sequel back in 1990. I say "tried", because what we got instead was Fountain of Dreams, a suspiciously similar-looking non-sequel set in post-apocalyptic Florida. Today, Richard Cobbett, mainstream gaming journalism's official authority on oldschool games, has published a retrospective review of this best-forgotten title over at PC Gamer, as part of his amusing Saturday Crapshoot weekly feature. The article's introduction should make it clear what sort of game Fountain of Dreams was:
So, this week saw the long-awaited release of Wasteland 2, where 'long awaited' is measured more in decades than the couple of years that it's been in development. Luckily, it's good. It's very good. Depending on who you ask though, there already was a sequel to Wasteland, only a year or so after the first one came out. Now, to be clear, the list of people who will tell you that is very small indeed. Not the original Wasteland team, which didn't work on it, not Wasteland fans, who generally try to forget it, and not even publisher EA, which originally did tried to hold it up as a proper sequel, but was apparently convinced of its folly after three ghosts showed up to slap some goddamn sense into it.
Despite that though, the lineage is obvious, and you'd think the thirst for a new Wasteland game would make anything even inspired by it worth a little hardcore fan fondness. How bad could it be that it was politely carved out of history almost as soon as it landed? Well, let's find out!
Though I think we can assume the answer is "Very, very bad."
Fountain Of Dreams takes place in post-apocalyptic Florida, so that's at least a bit different, some fifty years after nuclear strikes carved it off from the mainland. Nobody knows if any life still exists on the mainland or beyond, but all attempts to find out lead to quick death from the contaminated sea all around or the vicious monsters that pick off what radiation can't immediately destroy. Over the last 50 years, that's meant the major cities withdrawing into themselves and becoming city states, people increasingly mutating due to exposure to all the nasty stuff in the air and underfoot, and vicious gangs rising up in the wilderness to threaten adventurers and give everyone a damn good reason to stay home.
Or, to put it another way, "This world is crazy. Too bad you're sane."
As a starting point then, that all seems pretty solid. It's a world like Wasteland, but with its own distinct area and theme, tapping into much the same ideas but with more of a focus on human threats than wandering monsters given a radiation-powered kick up the food chain. I don't see what could possibly go-
Huh. I was expecting a goofy screenshot to appear there. A kind of ironic cut-in of sorts, taking that obvious feed line and presenting a big picture summing up the stupidity of the game in one easily digested collection of pixels, as if-
Killer Clowns. Yes, there's about a 90% shot that having created a party and set out on your quest, the first thing that you'll see is a gang of murderous clowns popping up and pretty much killing you dead with no more effort than throwing a custard pie. It's not like Wasteland played things straight, but there's a difference between having a tongue-in-cheek apocalypse where occasionally you face off against giant rabbits or murder children for their BB guns and outright making an army of killer clowns your equivalent of the NCR or Caesar's Legion - not on occasional gag monster, but a major power base whose ground troops are no laughing matter, and which controls much of the known world.
It's not just the wackiness of the setting, though. You'll have to read the full review to understand the full depths of Fountain of Dreams' lunacy. If you're interested in additional not-Wasteland historical curiosities, you might also want to check out Richard's retrospective of Escape From Hell, another obscure EA RPG that used the Wasteland engine (or at least looked like it). Have I mentioned that it links to our beloved editor's Let's Play?
The Pillars of Eternity team is very busy these days, so they've sent Darren Monahan to do a short administrative Kickstarter update for this month. Here's what it says:
With the backer beta out now, and the *con season (Gamescom, PAX, Gen Con, et al.) coming to a close for the year, we wanted to give you an update on what we've been up to. We’re busy working on three big things: 1) getting everything on the fulfillment side ready to go, 2) working through many changes and improvements based on feedback from folks playing the backer beta, and 3) wrapping up the game proper.
As of this week, we’re busy finishing and/or approving all of the final designs for nearly all of the physical rewards so production can begin. It’s very exciting to see this all coming together and often isn't part of the process we get to be involved in at such a deep level on our other projects. It’s one thing to have a playable game here in the studio that we continually maintain – it’s another to be able to really help design the look, feel, and content of every little bit of what comprises a game that ultimately will ship out to you.
We’ve been working really closely with the great folks at Dark Horse who are putting together the finishing touches on the amazing Collector’s Book for the game, and the equally great folks at Prima are busy working on the strategy guide. We’re working with the same author from the Fallout: New Vegas strategy guide, which we’re very excited about!
Backer Beta Feedback
A very big THANK YOU to all of those playing the backer beta and providing feedback on our forums! We’re focusing on a lot of changes right now based on your feedback – big improvements to pathfinding and combat, some significant changes to scouting and stealth and how they work, and we’re doing a lot of reviews on the game’s UI and overall presentation to improve the experience. Expect to see a lot of changes coming in on the beta over the coming weeks. Again, thank you to all of you providing feedback – we really appreciate it. We have folks internally who are scouring every single post and thread daily to move bugs and other feedback into our bug tracking system internally.
Wrapping the Game Up
Over the next several weeks, the team is focusing on a couple key things: area and quest finalization and plowing through the many final tasks and bugs. To keep things “old school”, we’re even employing the Quest Whiteboard of Baldur’s Gate 2 and Icewind Dale fame, where all of the quests in the game are posted on a very visible whiteboard in the office, and designers and QA fight (to the death?!) to certify that quests are 100% done and clean, by removing the evil X’s in their respective department columns. In this case, two X’s enter, ZERO X’s leave. That’s the goal anyway. Here it is as it was finished being set up - note, each item on this board can have many steps and states that all have to be checked before the X can come off for the entire thing.
We’ll be back in a couple weeks with some more pics of other physical rewards and an update on how we’re doing. Have a great weekend!
Check out the full update for a photo of PoE's impressive Collector's Edition box. There's also an obligatory shout-out to Wasteland 2. And yes, Volourn, your GOG keys are on the way.
There's another new interview with TSI's David Shelley today over at Kotaku UK. While it's only been a day since the publication of his previous interview, this one must be a bit newer than that, because it reveals that the folks at TSI already have a release date in mind for Seven Dragon Saga, and that they've decided not to pursue crowdfunding. I quote:
TSI’s President David Klein reached out to Shelley when he was founding the company, hoping to bring on board established RPG talent to make something new. “I was really encouraged by the success of some of the great games that are getting made...the times have changed a little bit, right?” he says. “There are opportunities for digital distribution, there’s some terrific middleware that allows you to take an engine off the shelf–things that weren’t present even five years ago.”
It’s these changes that have enabled the return of the CRPG: digital distribution, crowd-funding, tools, the diminishing importance of publishers when it comes to getting a game in people’s hands. Seven Dragon Saga isn’t going the crowdfunding route, but it will doubtless benefit from the revitalising effect that games like Wasteland 2 and Divinity: Original Sin are having on the old-school role-playing game. But given that both those games were crowd-funded, I wonder whether the audience for the CRPG is almost entirely people who played things like Baldur’s Gate or the old Dungeons and Dragons games 20 or even 30 years ago, and who miss them. Are modern CRPGs bringing in a new, younger audience, too?
“I think it’s a combination of both,” Shelley reckons. “If people’s first experiences were with the classic games they’re certainly going think of a lot of the aspects of them in a positive light. At the same time, with the advent of the new technologies and new distributions, it’s easier to put something in the same style out again and bring it forward to a new generation. Obviously, art cost has somewhat gone up from the little pixel-pushing days, but it gives us a chance to create much better experiences. We don’t have the memory limitations that we had back in the day, so you can approach the same classic style in a different way that makes it interesting, I think, to even a much younger audience who didn’t have the chance to experience those early games.”
Seven Dragon Saga itself might be old-school in its sensibilities, but it’s intended to be decidedly un-cliched in its execution: we’re not talking about playing as powerless a farm-boy starting out with a rusty sword and amnesia. The protagonists already hold a lot of power, right from the beginning of the game.
“We’re placing the player at the start as representatives of the empire – which is the power in this world – going to a remote kingdom that’s been recently subdued,” Shelley explains. “So the player is the potentially the bull in the china shop. They have the power of the empire behind them. They can through the storyline and the social side of the gameplay and go, ‘I want this, you’re going to do that,’ and not care about the results, and that’s going to alter the way that the player is going to end up interacting with the world. The main balance of the storyline is going to be that ability to choose whether or not you want to become part of the society that’s there, or stomp on it from above, or try to upend it.”
In its turn-based combat, like Divinity: Original Sin, Seven Dragon Saga will embrace choice, chaos and possibilities, Shelley says. “There will be a range of magic each with its own flavor to it. You can use stealth - there’s certain classes which can effectively become invisible to a majority of enemies and that can either be used to bypass some combat or set up your battle so that you have tactical advantage at the start, or simply cause a lot of mayhem as they suddenly appear in the ranks of the enemy. With melee you have the standard combinations of two weapons combat, weapon and shield, two-handed weapons, and then a variety of ranged combat.
“Certain classes will have a leap ability or they can jump up into higher positions to get bonuses to accuracy or to avoid being caught up in melee. There’ll be certain terrain that’s destructible, allowing the player to clear away enemy cover and use debris to create areas of difficult terrain. There will be regions where you can alter the terrain buildably by destroying the right object, and so it changes the tactical complexity of the game.”
Seven Dragon Saga won’t be out until 2016. There will be a lot of other CRPGs out between now and then - we’ve gone from having almost none for years to having turning up at once like idiomatic buses. Will the resurgence have petered out by then? Is TSI worried about all the competition in the meantime?
“I actually consider that encouraging because it feeds the interest in that genre, “ says Shelley. “Obviously if five games were to come out the same day, I’d have significant concerns simply because we’d get lost in the noise, but I see it as a steady growth of one game coming out after the other and, I don’t know who will be there [with us] in Q1 2016 but I think that a successful game like a Wasteland 2 or Pillars of Eternity, or any of the others will simply grow our potential audience through exposure.”
Sounds like these guys have their shit together. It appears that the success of crowdfunded oldschool titles like Divinity and Wasteland has loosened the purse-strings of the publishers, to the benefit of all.
It's been almost two and a half years since it was Kickstarted. Two and a half years since it kicked off the RPG revolution. After several delays, not to mention an immense amount of Codexian drama, inXile's Wasteland 2 is finally here. Here are the words of Brian Fargo, in an appropriately celebratory Kickstarter update:
I can hardly believe that it has been two and half years since I stood out in the Mojave Desert and started the filming of my Kickstarter campaign. All the while knowing it was the last and only hope for a Wasteland 2.
I’m very proud that we have delivered on our promise of the deep and nuanced CRPG that you had all been hoping for. I’m also quite proud of the team at inXile for their hard work and passion to deliver something special. It was the highlight of my career when you stepped up to support the development of this game. Having your trust meant everything and there was no way we were going to let you down.
I am really looking forward to seeing all of your comments and the unique experiences you’ll have. So much of the detail is not obvious at first as you will carve a natural path through the world, there are so many numerous ways to handle situations. If you ever think you are stuck, there are probably 2-4 more ways to handle it. In fact, we’ve re-visited the concept of where and how a game can end so some of you will find vastly different endings that don’t all take place at the same point in the story.
The power of a great RPG to me is that the memory of the time I spent playing stays with me long after I finished the game. I hope this has the same lasting effect like the classics have done prior.
If you are loving the game, feel free to shout it to the rooftops. We just want to keep making RPGs for decades to come and your support in every way helps make that a reality for us.
If you reading this that means the game has gone live! Jump in and experience the world of Wasteland!
Several reviews have already been published, over at Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, PC Gamer, and elsewhere. Though not without their niggles, their impressions are overall uniformly positive, and the scores are suitably high. Wasteland 2 is now available on Steam and GOG, for the price of $40. Go grab it and tell us what you think.
Well, after four dev diaries and a bit of hype, the Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director's Cut is officially released. Those of you who already owned the original Dragonfall DLC have actually already had access to it since this morning. For everybody else, it's now available for sale on Steam and GOG, for the price of $15. Here's the Kickstarter update announcing the release:
Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut (our bigger, better and STAND ALONE release of Dragonfall) is now available!
For all of you existing Dragonfall DLC owners and Shadowrun Returns Backers, the Director’s Cut should now automagically* be present in your Steam, GoG or Humble library. You’ve been great supporters to our small studio and you’ve already bought the game once - we didn’t think you should have to buy it a second time. So here’s the latest and greatest version of the game for free. You guys rock!
Only one small request in return: If you like the game, please tell all your RPG-playing friends about it! And share the trailer! This is our biggest Shadowrun game yet, and we think that makes it the definitive Shadowrun RPG experience on PCs. It’s the perfect opportunity for existing fans and newcomers alike to get in on the action. The Director’s Cut (Windows/Mac/Linux) is available on Steam, GoG, and Humble for $14.99.
Lastly, since I have a public platform for it right now: A HUGE, huge thank you to the rest of the Shadowrun dev team here, both past and present. I know each one of you has put a ton of passion, time, and talent into this game and it’s really paid off. I’ve never been more proud of our work, and of our contribution to the world of Shadowrun. And... we’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Thank YOU, backers and fans, for your continued and constructive feedback, for always helping us get the word out, and for making the last two years of Shadowrun development possible. It's been an amazing experience and a wild ride.
From everyone here at Harebrained Schemes, we hope you enjoy Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut!
-- Mike “The Director” McCain
I've tried the game out, and it's pretty much what you'd expect. The new combat UI is very nice. I hope this does well enough for them - releasing a day ahead of Wasteland 2 probably wasn't the best of ideas.
If you've been craving a new Wizardry-like game on PC, of which there is always a shortage, you might be happy to hear that the Japanese dungeon crawler Elminage Gothic, formerly a PSP exclusive, has been released on Steam today.
From the makers of the world renowned “Wizardry Empire” titles, Starfish SD brings you the latest entry in their popular series of dungeon crawlers. Elminage Gothic, previously only available in Japanese on PlayStation® Portable, now comes to PC offering a classic old school dungeon crawling experience with a dark, gothic twist!
In ancient times, the Great and Dark Gods clashed in a ferocious war over Man's control of the world, bringing despair and ruin to the lives of all humans.
As the conflict raged, the Great Gods sought to vanquish the power of the Dark Gods through the faith of humans. In return for their faith, the Gods promised humans a world of peace and prosperity and thereby a contract between humans and the Great Gods was formed.
By the contract, the Dark Gods could not interfere with the world of humans and were forever sealed inside their world of darkness. The people worshiped the Great Gods in thanks for their prosperity, and the world entered an era of peace.
The humans grew complacent and allowed their faith to fade.
Now, in the far-off realm of Ishmag, King Jardin ushers in an age of peace. Unknown to him, the dark powers have already begun reaching out in secret, planting the seeds to bring about the revival of the Dark Gods into the hearts of men. Foul and hideous creatures are emerging from the deep, treacherous caves of Tsun-Kurn and rumours of a rising evil are creeping across the peaceful lands.
It is up to you to arm yourself and descend into the depths of Tsun-Kurn in an attempt to put an end to the ever growing darkness and save your kingdom.
Featuring well over 80 hours of classic dungeon crawling gameplay!
Choose from 16 different character classes including Hunter, Thief, Summoner and Valkyrie
Battle and defeat over 400 stunning monsters, creatures and demons!
Employ over 70 spell types as you descend through multiple dungeons
Collect and arm yourself with over 600 different items
Featuring the classic and traditional “THAC0” battle system
Now fully translated into English for the first time!
I haven't played any of the Elminage games so I can't really make any comments as to this one's quality. A couple of people on our forums have been praising it, though, and the price is very affordable anyway.
The trickle of publicity for Tactical Simulation Interactive's new Seven Dragon Saga project continues, with a new interview with David Shelley over at Digitally Downloaded. Here's an excerpt:
Digitally Downloaded (DD): One of the things that immediately caught my attention with your press release was with your background at SSI. As one of the most hardcore of SSI fans as a kid, the formation of TSI has immediately caught my attention for that nostalgia value. How heavily are you looking to tap into SSI nostalgia for your own games?
David Shelley (DS): We are looking at pulling in many of the elements we liked from the old SSI games: turn-based combat, player created party, strategic map for long distance travel and exploration. Our games will retain the more open world of most of those games, where exploration provides a lot of fun, as opposed to a linear story on rails.
DD: Can you describe for me the kind of game you're looking to build with Seven Dragon Saga?
DS: Tactical control, exploration, and strategic impact are our three main goals.
We had a lot of discussion about which classic elements work well and are underrepresented in today's games. Creating the whole party, and using it turn-based tactical combat was an obvious element, and one we all have enjoyed.
The storyline needs to be open, so players feel free to head off to explore the world and still find a worthwhile and somewhat guided experience. 'What do I do next?' is not a question we want players to be asking. While we enjoy worlds like Skyrim, we chose to use a strategic map for long distance travel. Players can find new map locations through exploration and story. Special encounters may pull the player down into a new area and enemy encounter.
Seven Dragon Saga is designed for starting the game with a reasonable amount of power, precluding the reluctant hero with rusty sword story. The players are already effective fighters and have the backing of the Empire. Using a faction system, in a land verging on civil war, how will players choose to use their powers? I expect many will default to “bull in a china shop”, some will take responsibility, and others reject the great power and support one independent group or another. Making player choices matter, and causing a strong impact on the world are key.
DD: How important is open storytelling to your game design? Are you looking to emulate the Bioware approach to game design in which player decisions really do impact on how the story plays out?
DS: Open storytelling is an important element of Seven Dragon Saga. The players need to be able to alter the outcomes in a meaningful manner. Since the player creates a group of heroes, we will not be emulating Bioware's robust romance and NPC conflict elements.
DD: We've seen in recent years the idea that even genres such as the RPG and strategy game need to be more visceral in order to be commercially successful, with action combat systems replacing more traditional turn based pacing. How do you see your game fitting in to the market from a commercial perspective?
DS: We discussed the choices between a real-time paused system (Bioware) and full turn-based in 3D (X-Com). With the success of crowd funded games like Wasteland 2, Torment, Divinity: Original Sin, and so on, we see there is a viable market for turn-based combat. Since turn-based provides the player the more complex and cerebral experience, we chose that option. Using a 3D based world, we will also have the option to use the camera to add visual excitement, setting the scene and so on.
DD: Do you have plans for Seven Dragon Saga to become a franchise, or what will you be looking to do after this game has been released?
DS: We are looking at Seven Dragon Saga being a franchise. Although, we have a lot of ideas and have had some early discussions with various RPG and strategy IP holders to see if we might leverage our expertise. We'd like to strike a balance between the two and continue to make great tactical experiences for our target audience.
Our goal with the first Seven Dragon Saga product is to make a firm commitment to publish on PC/Linux/Mac platforms. I want to see a polished product on one system, then consider how to expand its reach. We are interested in mobile and console, but we feel any port would require a full revision of the UI. Player inputs into each system are significantly different and to saddle the players of one with the interface of another is a disservice we don't wish to commit.
David also has a bit to say about his career and what he's been up to since the glory days of SSI, so be sure to check out the full interview if you're interested in that. Did you know that the classic 4X Master of Orion could have been published by SSI, and that a lot of their suggestions made it into the final game?
About the Game
FINAL FANTASY IV makes its debut on PC!
As the first game in the series to feature the innovative Active Time Battle system, FINAL FANTASY IV stands as an iconic milestone in FINAL FANTASY history. Lose yourself in this timeless tale of heroes, betrayal, love and redemption—now optimized for PC!
Fully voiced, dramatic cut-scenes
Deep, emotionally charged character development
All-new system for charting dungeons and uncovering the secrets within
Inspiring score accessible at anytime from the built-in Jukebox
Somewhat disappointingly, this port is based on the Nintendo DS version, with its blocky 3D sprites instead of the original 2D ones. You can get the game here. Personally, I already played it on my DS, but it's good to see more classic JRPGs coming to Steam - I just wish these ports looked less lazy.
In other news, the "worst main series Final Fantasy," namely the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, has been announced for PC, too. In fact, you can preorder it on Steam for a very affordable price already. Release date is October 9th.
Final Fantasy XIII is a fantasy RPG in which a band of brave humans struggle against fate in the utopian sky city of Cocoon and the primeval world of Pulse. Follow stylish heroine Lightning's fast paced battles and high adventure in a mysterious new world.
DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO FACE YOUR DESTINY?
As a deepening crisis threatens to plunge the floating world of Cocoon into chaos, a band of unsuspecting strangers find themselves branded enemies of the state. With the panicking population baying for their blood, and the military all too happy to oblige, they have no choice but to run for their lives. Join them on a desperate quest to challenge the forces controlling their fate, and prevent untold destruction.
Featuring an unforgettable storyline, a battle system blending action and strategy, cutting-edge visuals and awe-inspiring cinematic sequences, FINAL FANTASY® XIII delivers the next step in the evolution of gaming.
The fact that the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy may be coming to PC circulated as a rumor earlier based on the Steam logo found on the official website.
Apparently the rest of the trilogy is soon to follow as well -- here's the press release:
FINAL FANTASY XIII SERIES ANNOUNCED FOR WINDOWS PC
LONDON (18th September, 2014) – Square Enix Ltd., publishers of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in Europe and PAL territories, today announces the FINAL FANTASY® XIII trilogy of games is headed to Windows PC, with the first in the series, FINAL FANTASY XIII, due for release on 9th October 2014.
The game will be available to download via the Square Enix online store and the Steam PC digital service (amongst others), priced at £10.99/€12.99. The game is available to pre-order now via the Square Enix Store and Steam, with those pre-ordering receiving 10% off. It is also confirmed that the FINAL FANTASY XIII trilogy will offer a set of Steam Trading Cards for players to collect and exchange.
On its original console release in 2010, FINAL FANTASY XIII marked the dawning of a new era for the celebrated series, bringing the game to multiple hi-definition consoles simultaneously for the first time in its history. The original game and subsequent adventures in the FINAL FANTASY XIII trilogy will soon be available for PC gamers to play for the very first time, with all games in the series due for release by Spring 2015.
FINAL FANTASY XIII expands on the rich traditions of the series, with producer Yoshinori Kitase, director Motomu Toriyama, character designer Tetsuya Nomura and art director Isamu Kamikokuryo combining their creativity to deliver a beautifully epic FINAL FANTASY universe. Additionally, Masashi Hamauzu presents a sweeping soundtrack while movie director Takeshi Nozue and his team of artists adorn the game with seamless cinematic sequences.
The FINAL FANTASY XIII trilogy began in March 2010 with the release of the original FINAL FANTASY XIII and continued with its sequel, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, released in February 2012. The most recent release in the FINAL FANTASY XIII series, LIGHTNING RETURNS™: FINAL FANTASY XIII, launched on 14th February 2014 to critical acclaim. The series has been widely successful, shipping over 11 million units worldwide.
In a shocking twist, inXile have released anotherTorment: Tides of NumeneraKickstarter update less than 12 hours after the previous one. In a further twist, rather than being a screenshot update as we were led to believe, they decided to upload a full-blown gameplay video! Watch as the Last Castoff and his companion the Cold Calculating Jack, whose name is revealed for the first time to be Matkina, explore the mysterious Bloom:
The game looks great, and is very obviously based on Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity tech, although the character movement has a less abstract, more contemporary simulated style. The dialogue in particular looks fantastic and very Tormenty. I can definitely see inXile raising that stretch goal money now!
It's been over three months since we last heard from Torment: Tides of Numenera. Today, with the release of Wasteland 2 imminent, there are finally some new signs of life. This morning inXile announced the launch of a fancy new Torment backer portal, and a few hours ago, a new Kickstarter update came in with the details. Apparently, one of their goals with this new site is raising some additional money for a new stretch goal. I quote:
The Gullet Stretch Goal
With the relaunching of the site we're also looking at introducing some limited stretch goals. These will be for things for which we have not yet made the final call – content or features that will not happen in our current schedule, but that we hope to be able to add.
So we're pitching you – our funders – the Gullet, one of the areas from the Bloom. George Ziets did an amazing job on the Bloom design. We originally planned to cut a number of areas from that location but have been able to bring some back in, but in the current scope the Gullet is not a part of the Bloom's design. Here's George's description of the area:
Deep in the guts of the Bloom is a jumble of fleshy veins and cavities, known to natives as the Gullet. It surrounds a foul organic stew, containing the minds and memories of those devoured by the Bloom. The pulsing of a titanic heart reverberates from somewhere below… if you find yourself trapped here, the sound will drive you mad.
Few reach this place by intention. Most are eaten by a Maw and emerge in the Gullet, half-digested, to spend the final days of their lives in screaming agony. Transdimensional echoes of the Bloom's victims wander through the tunnels, lost and insane. Bizarre creatures, bred by the Bloom in its guts, burst from their wombs to hunt. Forgotten machines and artifacts lie half-submerged in Bloom-flesh, plucked from distant worlds of the past or future.
The only way out of the Gullet is down… to follow the sounds of the Bloom's beating heart and descend to a place where the Bloom's consciousness is at its most malignant and aware.
This area would add a ton to the Bloom, particularly as it provides more adventure-type gameplay and will better balance out its pacing. But currently we think we’re already stretching our team with the areas we’ve already committed to. With our limited stretch goals, we'll be looking to raise enough money to commit to adding the Gullet to the Bloom, by bolstering our environment art team to both make the Gullet and to benefit all other locations as well – remember that all pledges support the game development and reaching the Stretch Goal in reality gives far more than just the Gullet.
Of course, we have to make the call so that we can plan ahead, so our time is limited too: we're looking to raise our total amount raised to $4.75M by October 16th! If you’d like us to restore George Ziets’ Bloom design and fully implement it according to his original vision, consider spreading word of our continuing crowdfunding (or increasing your pledge) to help us reach this goal. All of your friends who missed the Kickstarter can still contribute to making the best Torment ever. (And while the new pledge options aren’t as favorable as those we gave you during the Kickstarter, they are better than after we’ve stopped crowdfunding and are onto preorders.)
The update also contains a massive new lore dump from Colin McComb. This one seems more directly related to the plot of the game, with information about the history of The Changing God, the creator of your character in Torment. It looks like this guy has had a lot more bodies than I thought.
Centuries ago, the Changing God met one of his children for the first time. This castoff, who claimed the status of the First Castoff, the eldest sibling of all his heirs, had been badly hurt in a struggle with the Sorrow, her skin utterly burned away. She wore a mask to conceal the damage, but her castoff regeneration was unequal to the task of restoring her. She sought answers from her sire, tracking him across the Ninth World to find him. She wanted to know why the Sorrow attacked her and the other castoffs, how they could stop it, and how she might earn a new body for herself.
The two of them were inseparable for a time as she awaited his aid in growing her a new body to replace the scarred wreckage of hers – they traveled together, seeking truths and long-buried secrets. But their alliance was shattered when at last she demanded that the Changing God stop deferring her; her body was beginning to decompose. Yet the Changing God refused to transfer her consciousness – he gave her a bottle of embalming fluid and told her to make do with the body she had. They fought, the confrontation teased out greater truths from her sire, and she realized that he had been hiding too much. Rather than share his secrets, he turned his back on her. She demanded his knowledge, and suddenly their personal struggle turned into a larger battle, each pulling their friends and allies into an ever-expanding conflagration.
Their feud created a schism in the castoff community. Dozens of castoffs flocked to both sides, coming to stand for the side they thought right. Some sided with the Changing God, believing that he had a plan to stop the Sorrow’s genocide, or from a loyalty to the man responsible for their creation. Some sided with the First, believing that she had their best interests at heart against a man who had proven himself time and again to be focused solely on himself.
[...] His purpose achieved and his opponent eliminated, the Changing God remained on his moon, above the fray, and returned to his researches. Yet despite the removal of the principals, the battle rages on, its contestants battling for ideologies of transparency, equality, and the common good on the First's side, and for duty, devotion, honor, and the hope of winning the Changing God’s trust on the other – the castoffs on the side of the Changing God do not want the First’s ideology dictating their lives. It is no longer merely a castoffs’ struggle. True, castoffs who are not directly involved in the Endless Battle provide funding to either side, or to both, in order to advance their own agendas – with centuries of knowledge behind them, with organizations of their own to tap, they have no shortage of funds. It is a place where warriors test their mettle, where mercenaries earn coin or renown, and where suppliers of food, flesh, and material can find a buyer of last resort. Though the commanders hold occasional parleys, there are too many here who are invested in seeing the war continue.
That's right, there's an entire civilization of these castoff bodies. Also, note that the name of the malevolent entity formerly known as "The Angel of Entropy" has apparently been changed to "The Sorrow". That's good - sounds less like the name of a JRPG end boss.
The official Legend of Grimrock website launched a mysterious 24 hour countdown yesterday. The countdown expired a few hours ago, revealing a fancy site redesign, and more importantly, a release date for Legend of Grimrock 2 - October 15th. Here's the new trailer they produced for the occasion. It's better than the last one!
Legend of Grimrock 2 is a dungeon crawling role playing game with a modern execution but an oldschool heart. A group of four prisoners have shipwrecked on the secluded Isle of Nex. The island is filled with ancient crumbled ruins, mysterious shrines and a vast underground network of dungeons and mines. If the prisoners wish to make it out alive, they have to overcome the challenges devised by the ominous mastermind of the island.
Powers of perception and logic are more important than sheer force is, since Legend of Grimrock 2 puts a heavy emphasis on exploration, survival and challenging puzzles. Discover powerful ancient artifacts from hidden secret chambers and buried treasures. Arm your champions, cast spells and craft enchanted potions and bombs to aid you in fighting the dreadful monsters in highly tactical real-time combat.
Design, share and play custom scenarios with the included Dungeon Editor! Create your own adventures and fill them with puzzles, traps, or even totally new items, monsters and environments with custom graphics and audio!
Get ready to venture forth and uncover the secrets of Nex!
Explore the wilderness and the dungeons of Isle of Nex: walk in ancient forests riddled with mysterious magical statues, fight the denizens of poison fuming swamps, dive in the Forgotten River in search of treasure, uncover secrets hidden deep below…
More than 20 hours of pure blooded dungeon crawling gameplay with grid-based movement and thousands of squares filled with hidden switches, pressure plates, secret doors, riddles, deadly traps and more.
Cast spells with runes, craft potions and bombs, fight murderous monsters with a large variety of melee-, ranged and thrown weapons, as well as firearms.
Create a party of four characters and customize them with 7 character classes, 5 races, and numerous skills and traits. Collect experience to hone their skills and discover improved equipment and magical artefacts.
42 different kind of monsters including 30 new foes unique to Isle of Nex.
Play custom adventures created by others or make your own with Dungeon Editor.
More depth, variety and open ended exploration than in Legend of Grimrock 1. Enhanced AI, spell casting, puzzle mechanics and skill systems.
As you might have guessed from the trailer's name, the game is now available for pre-order directly from Almost Human. The final price will be $24, but for the next 28 days at least the game will be available at a 15% discount. Steam keys included!