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Sat 22 September 2018

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?

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 22 September 2018, 00:57:17

Tags: Alexander Mishulin; Deep Silver; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

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Pathfinder: Kingmaker is just four days away from release, and Owlcat and their publisher Deep Silver have been trying their best to promote it. Earlier this month there was a Kickstarter update about romances, and there's been a steady stream of micro-updates on the game's Steam page showcasing its artwork. Several videos have also been produced, including two light-hearted developer Q&A videos, a very silly trailer that introduces the game's companions, and more recently, a video that offers a look at its character creation possibilities. I'll post the latter two here:

Kingmaker was at PAX West early this month. Several previews of the game were published afterwards, most of them unfortunately a bit shallow. We finally got a decent preview a few days ago at a site called Trusted Reviews. It has the most in-depth description of the game's kingdom management layer we've seen so far, plus a few personal testimonials from creative director Alex Mishulin. Here's an excerpt:

Rarely has a colon so clearly delineated the two sides of a game. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is based on the pen & paper Pathfinder role playing system, which is itself an adaptation of Dungeons and Dragons third edition (to put that in video game terms, think Neverwinter Nights). At first that plays out exactly like you’d expect, a standard, not particularly imaginative isometric RPG with real time pause combat and an eccentric group of characters, including a splendidly oily, scheming little gnome who serves as an antagonist. Act One sends you on an epic quest to kill a bandit king in a place called the Stolen Lands. Then things start changing, as with the king dead you decide to set up shop in his lands and found your own kingdom.

Suddenly the game reveals a second layer, one closer to a strategy game than an RPG. There’s even a straight up city builder interface here, where you can plonk down taverns and blacksmiths in various towns around the kingdom. These towns will come to reflect your character and their moral choices, an evil kingdom might be stocked with bandits who raid their neighbours, while a lawful good one (yes we’re working with the old school D&D alignment system here) might be policed by shining paladins.

It isn’t just building though, as the kingdom will produce dynamic events that can be solved by assigning your advisors or companions, much like Dragon Age Inquisition’s War Table. One incident involved a group of villagers attempting to stone a young girl accused of Witchcraft. At first I assigned ruthless noble Landon to deal with it, as he had the highest stats. The result, he let them burn the girl and then fabricated evidence that she was guilty.

Horrified I reloaded and tried again, this time with the studiously lawful Valerie in charge. She stopped the mob and insisted on holding a fair trial instead, fortunately the girl was found innocent. Not every character can solve every problem, they have a specialty, like community, military, divine, etc. But the sheer volume of characters means you’ll nearly always have more than one choice how to approach a problem.

[...] I’m familiar enough with the Pathfinder system to marvel at the notion of fitting an entire city building game into a D20 dice system, but Alexander takes pains to explain that they stuck close to the source material, with one notable exception. “There are no goblins in there.” He gestures to a set of books for the pen and paper version of Kingmaker (unfortunately all in German, so I have to take his word for it). “ When we talked to Paizo they said they know that in Kingmaker there are no goblins but goblins are so Pathfinder that you have to find a way to introduce them. We’d already played a lot of Pathfinder so we were familiar with Pathfinder Goblins“ He explains “They’re very different from the goblins of dungeons and dragons. They’re very charismatic, they run and mayhem, they love fire and burning stuff, they hate dogs, they think reading something takes away your soul. They’re really strange, charismatic creatures.“ Fans obviously agreed, as a goblin companion was one of the successful stretch goals for the company’s kickstarter.

The other thing Alexander is keen to impress on me during our talk is just how interconnected to the strategy and RPG layers are. After Act 1 is over you’ll be constantly pivoting between Kingdom management and questing, with each affecting the other. He gives the example of a troll infestation which threatens the kingdom, requiring a quest to resolve it. You have three in game months to achieve this, or you’ll get a hard game over. “It is part of the story as well as part of the game, and because it’s part of the story the game is over if you lose your Kingdom.”

“But we do understand that some players don’t like the strategy game layer.” he adds “There is a special mode in settings where you can place your kingdom on automation. Most of the decisions will be taken out from you, you will still be speaking with NPCs about quests and side activities…. All of the decisions all of the events will be taken out from you and you will play with the kingdom in the background.” By the same token the difficulty level is highly customisable, so those who are more interested in the strategy layer can turn on “auto-level-up”, drop the difficulty and focus on kingdom building.

But the real fun seems to come from when the two overlap, when your questing overturns a person or item that helps your kingdom, or your artisans craft a great magical item to help your adventure. “The story of the game is the story of the kingdom” says Alexander. Finally, obsessive castle building an be more than just a sidequest.
Additional Kingmaker previews are available at Tom's Guide, USgamer, OnRPG, TechRaptor, Bleeding Cool and RPG Site. There was also an interview with Mishulin at Expansive last week, and most recently an interview with Chris Avellone about the game's story, also at RPG Site. Finally, today Chris and Alex participated in a Reddit AMA where they answered questions from fans. And I think that's about it.

There are 9 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Trailers, Previews and Interviews

Fri 21 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 21 September 2018, 01:02:29

Tags: Star Control: Origins; Stardock

The story of Star Control: Origins begins in 2013 with the collapse of publisher Atari SA, owners of the Star Control license since their acquisition of Accolade in 1999. In the subsequent bankruptcy auction, the license was picked up by strategy game developer Stardock, who soon revealed their intention to produce the first new Star Control game in over 15 years. After what appears to have been a lengthy period of preproduction, Star Control: Origins was officially unveiled in late 2016 as a kind of reboot/reimagining of the Star Control continuity, set in a universe with entirely new alien races. Many of us were skeptical of this idea, but Stardock were serious about the project and pressed on.

Things took a turn for the wild a year later when the original creators of Star Control, Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, announced their intention to create a Star Control game of their own - and almost immediately became embroiled in a vicious intellectual property dispute with Stardock. Tentatively titled Ghosts of the Precursors, Reiche & Ford's game was to be a proper sequel to the legendary second game in the series, for which they still owned the substantive copyrights. It's not clear what preceded what, but it was around this point that Stardock CEO Brad Wardell appears to have made the decision to add some of the alien races from the original games to Origins after all, albeit with different visual appearances and new backstories.

Bystanders soon took sides, with certain figures in the mainstream media predictably aligning with Reiche & Ford against the occasionally outspoken Wardell, and some of those who dislike said media reflexively siding with Wardell. The legal trench warfare has presumably continued behind the scenes, but it didn't stop Star Control: Origins from being released today. Here's the launch trailer and description:

Most of the launch day reviews are quite positive, with the notable exception of IGN and GameSpot, whose reviewers seem to approve of the game's writing but find its arcade action elements tedious.

GamingTrend 95/100
GameWatcher 9/10
GameSpace 9/10
Windows Central 4.5/5
USgamer 3.5/5
IGN 6.9/10
GameSpot 6/10​

I have to say that my own impression is that Stardock have done some legally questionable things here - but I also don't care. At the RPG Codex, we're all about games first, and right now Stardock are the only ones who have a game. But is it a good game? If any of us ever get around to playing it after this crazy September, maybe we'll tell you. Star Control: Origins is available now on Steam and GOG for $40.

There are 19 comments on September Madness - Star Control: Origins Released

Wed 19 September 2018

Game News - posted by Darth Roxor on Wed 19 September 2018, 14:15:09

Tags: Das Geisterschiff

Das Geisterschiff, a "turn-based cyberpunk dungeon crawler" by Surt R. (known as zwanzig_zwoelf among the RPG Codex denizens) has been officially released.

Here's the game's description from its webpage, and also a launch trailer.

Das Geisterschiff is a turn-based cyberpunk adventure/dungeon crawler hybrid with survival horror elements where you play as a mecha pilot working for one of the megacorps.

By 2072 the Earth turned into a scorched wasteland, forcing the population to move underground while two megacorps are stuck in an endless war over the territory and resources. After graduating from the military academy you've decided to join one of them.
Key Features

Non-linear dungeons filled with dangerous encounters, traps and puzzles;
Survival horror on steroids: no healing, no ammo pickups, no mercy;
Nuanced turn-based combat within dungeons;
Unique wireframe-like graphics supported by atmospheric electronic soundtrack.​

For the moment, you can get the game from the guy's website for a grand total of 7.22 eurobucks, though he claims it'll be coming to Steam soon. There's a free demo available as well.

There are 74 comments on Das Geisterschiff - Released

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Tue 18 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 18 September 2018, 20:26:33

Tags: InXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

Welcome to September Madness, our chronicle of this month's crazy volume of anticipated or otherwise noteworthy RPG releases. We start the week off with The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep, inXile's sequel to the classic series of dungeon crawlers that put Interplay on the map back in the 1980s. Originally revealed way back in January 2015 and crowdfunded on Kickstarter that June, for most of its development The Bard's Tale IV was overshadowed by inXile's previous crowdfunded RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera. The game's $1.5M haul on Kickstarter was widely viewed as a weak performance at the time, and as a cost-cutting measure its development was soon spun off to a new inXile studio opened in New Orleans.

The Bard's Tale IV has probably been ignored by most Codexers, who have never been huge fans of the blobber genre even in the best of circumstances (except perhaps when they're created by madmen from Australia). Yet in the aftermath of Torment's failure, there have been some contrarians among us who looked at Bard's Tale IV and bet that it would end up becoming inXile's most accomplished project, an unpretentious mechanics-first title produced far away from the allegedly negative influences of the California game development scene. Now that the game has been released, is that the case? We're not sure yet, to be honest! Have a look at today's reviews: 8.8/10
GameGrin 8.5/10
DarkStation 4/5
Game Informer 7.75/10
That's right, there are barely any of them, and none from the major PC gaming sites. There's also an unusually large number of in-progress reviews, all of which leads me to believe that inXile distributed review keys to the media very late, perhaps only a few days ago. As you might expect, the reviews we do have are rather shallow, with their complaints mainly reserved for the game's graphics and performance, the latter of which seems to be a major issue still. The most useful review right now seems to be this video from well-known gaming YouTuber ACG rather than anything from the traditional media. But ultimately, or at least for the next few days, we Codexers will have to figure this one out for ourselves. The Bard's Tale IV is available now on Steam and GOG for the price of $35. If you're a Kickstarter backer, be sure to check out this update as well.

There are 124 comments on September Madness - The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep Released

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Sat 15 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 15 September 2018, 18:17:33

Tags: Colony Ship; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

How ironic! After much discussion and two rounds of voting, The New World has gone back to being simply Colony Ship, the working title it used before it was officially named. The latest development update wastes no time dwelling on that, however. It's all about the monsters of the colony ship. They're the mutated descendants of various animals that the colonists brought with them to help terraform Proxima Centauri. The goal is to make them more tactically interesting than the monsters from Dungeon Rats.

In AoD/DR most critters were melee ‘fighters’, half of them poisonous, with high DEX (to close the distance fast) and two attack types. Predictably, this design didn’t bring anything new to the table and what little it did bring got old fast.

So when it comes to creatures our goals are:
  • Tactical flexibility
  • Unique abilities that humans don’t have
  • Focus on various effects rather than direct damage (i.e. no 'fighters')
  • Different enemies working together or taking advantage of other critters’ abilities
  • Effective counters of ranged parties
Of course, having lofty goals is one thing, achieving them is another, so we’d like to run some ideas by our core audience and see what you guys think. Nothing is set in stone yet as we won’t start implementing the creatures until 2019, so we can easily make change at this point. We’re planning to have 6 creatures, mostly found in the Hydroponics and Wasteland. Let’s start with the creatures’ origin.

The Ship is en route to Proxima B, an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Ninety percent of its surface is covered with water, but the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, providing approximately half of Earth’s landmass.

Losing Terran plants and crops to local pests and fungus would be catastrophic, so the Hydroponics Division was tasked with adapting the plants to the anticipated environment of Proxima B and developing biological forms of pest control (introducing predators from old Earth to change the native ecosystem and eliminate all local threats was the most cost-effective way to ensure that the colony would survive and grow).

Extensive gene-editing was employed to develop resistance to alien fungi and pests, and accelerated adaptation hacked into the plants' genetic code. Like many other critical systems, Hydroponics was abandoned during the Mutiny. The carefully cultivated flora and fauna was left on its own in harsh environs designed to propagate rapid and brutal evolutionary cycles.

When human beings finally decided to reclaim Hydroponics, they discovered an environment as wild and hostile as any Earth jungle...
The update describes three of Colony Ship's six monster types:

Frogs: Frogs are already used in agriculture as a form of biological pest control as they have a healthy appetite for insects and are highly resistant to insecticide. Plus they have a wide range of natural abilities: jumping, toxic venom, hallucinogen, even retractable spikes (the wolverine frog), which would make them a top choice when it comes to cost-effective terraforming.

The frog is a 'hard to hit, easy to kill' critter (high evasion due to the small size and mobility, low hit points and no damage resistance). They will attack in packs and come in 3 varieties: fighter, poison spitter, and 'mind flayer'. It's a low level critter that prefers easy prey (i.e. low level, poorly equipped parties). They aren't very aggressive and won't attack unless threatened. When you run into them for the first time, they'll be busy feasting on a corpse. If you want to go through that corpse's pockets, you'll have to kill the frogs first.

Starfish: An avid predator and an opportunistic feeder, the starfish is one of the keystone species which makes it an excellent addition to any terraforming arsenal. It can regenerate damaged parts, swallow its prey whole, and it even comes with its own body armor (hardened plates and spines).

The mutated version will shoot its stomach (yeah, it's actually a thing) to drag the victim within the attack range. It will also release a spore cloud, greatly reducing the visibility and your THC with ranged weapons. During its turn, the starfish will envelop you and drain your HP, regenerating some of the damage it sustains during the fight.

Unlike the frog, the starfish is easy to hit (with melee weapons) but hard to kill due to DR and accelerated regeneration. One starfish isn’t a serious threat but 2-3 would be able to ruin your day pretty quick.

Floaters: It’s a mutated jellyfish originally adapted from the Portuguese man o'war and designed to hover over crops and zap insects, while turning away larger animals. Things got a bit out of hand during the Mutiny when the mutation cycles ran wild and now the few remaining floaters haunt the ruins of the Mission Control Center.

Upon detecting oversized insects, the floater will slowly move to intercept them. Bullets have no effect on it but energy weapons would bring it down in no time. In the absence of such weapons or cells to power them up, you can hack it to pieces, which isn’t an ideal solution because the floater will zap every enemy next to it (crowd control), dealing energy damage. On top of it, the floater is equipped with a primitive version of brainwave disruptor, so the closer you get, the higher the chance to forget what you were doing and just stand there, drooling like an idiot (aka skip turn).

In short, the floater is easy to kill if you have energy cells to spare or hard to kill with melee weapons if you don’t. Certain implants and helmet will increase mental resistance. Other creatures and rival parties might (surely will) attack while you’re busy fighting the floaters.
See the full update for concept art of these three creatures, which helpfully shows their size compared to a human being. The other three creatures sound like they might be more exotic - the Wasteland's "Old Beelzebub" is one of them.

There are 59 comments on Colony Ship Update #30: New Title, Monsters

Fri 14 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 September 2018, 15:52:52

Tags: Dark Crystal Games; Encased

In case you missed it, Encased is an upcoming post-apocalyptic isometric RPG from St. Petersburg-based Dark Crystal Games that has attracted some positive attention. In the months since its re-announcement, the game's developers have been doing some good old fashioned community building - posting concept art and area renders on Twitter, soliciting input on our forums, and even setting up a site where fans can design an in-game character and win a free DLC. You can read about those efforts in this development update from July. Community alone doesn't pay the bills however, so like many similar indie titles before it, Encased has arrived on Kickstarter. The game is apparently getting made no matter what, but Dark Crystal are seeking $100k in funding to make it even better. The pitch does a good job of showing how it is actually pretty post-apocalyptic, despite my earlier skepticism.

The game is set in an alternate 1970's and revolves around the exploration of the Dome, a mysterious structure discovered in a remote desert. No one knows the exact nature of those who built the Dome, but the founders of this advanced civilization have come to be called the Forefathers.

You will discover miraculous technologies and weird artifacts in the labyrinths of the Dome, but that is not all the Forefathers left behind. Watch out for automated security systems, traps, and inexplicable anomalies.

In addition, the Dome itself is showing signs of consciousness. It has been reacting to the human presence since the first explorers entered its domain. Once inside, no one is able to leave. Uncovering the wonders and dangers of the Dome is a one-way road.

Exploration and exploitation of the Dome is carried out by the CRONUS Foundation, a massive organization founded by the world’s most powerful governments. CRONUS is divided into five departments, called Wings, each with its own director, specialization and history.

As a new recruit, the player must choose one of five Wings:
  • Black Wing - military and security forces;
  • White Wing - scientists, medics and researchers;
  • Blue Wing - engineers and technicians;
  • Silver Wing - upper management;
  • Orange Wing - ex-convicts who have exchanged their prison jumpsuits for the uniform of a CRONUS laborer.
Though your selected Wing grants certain starting bonuses and opens interesting options, your choice does not lock you into a “class”. You are free to develop your character, distribute skill points, and choose abilities as you wish.

Upon completing character creation, you are summoned to Crystal Sands, a city built directly outside the Dome as a staging point for personnel and equipment.

The transition station mounted at the apex of the Dome, above the only aperture, is called the Spire. After basic training, you will descend from the Spire into the Dome to land at Magellan HQ.

There is much to uncover during your first mission underground…. Relying on your stats and Wing training, you will find there are several ways to resolve each challenge. Replayability is one of our main goals for the game. After your briefing at HQ comes your first task: exploring a newly discovered Forefathers compound tagged Object O-12-Nashville.

After a few adventures inside the Nashville object (which we don’t want to spoil just yet), your group encounters an entirely new anomaly. You awaken something dreaming deep beneath the desert of the Dome. Your trespass has activated Maelstrom, a telepathic entity created to serve the Forefathers.

All connection with the world outside the Dome is lost and Maelstrom rages across the desert, infecting the minds of everyone it encounters. You and your group fall into a technology-induced stasis for five long years. And when you come to, the entire world has changed.
Seems promising enough, doesn't it? They've even got Iron Tower Studio associate Scott Hamm on board to help with the writing. Encased is scheduled for release on Steam Early Access in Q1 2019, with a final release later that year. A €18 pledge will get you a copy, including the Early Access. You can also get the "closed beta" and "closed alpha" for €120 and €215 respectively, although I'm not sure if that's worth it when everybody is getting Early Access anyway. Be sure to follow the game's Steam page if you like what you see.

There are 126 comments on Post-apocalypse under the dome: Encased now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 September 2018, 01:26:13

Tags: David Rogers; InXile Entertainment; Paul Marzagalli; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

The Bard's Tale IV is now five days away from release and inXile are doing their best to hype things up. A few days ago they released a fourth spotlight video highlighting the game's Gaelic soundtrack, but the real action began today with the early release of its launch trailer. It's a pretty effective trailer, I think.

There's also a new ten minute gameplay video over at IGN. Narrated once again by creative director David Rogers, this particular video aims to showcase one of the game's more advanced combat scenarios, pitting a six character party against a band of cultists.

Finally, inXile announced today that their Bard's Tale IV wishlist initiative had reached 300k wishlists, reducing the game's price from $40 to $35 (and also adding the torch from Darkest Dungeon on the way, but who cares about that). Preorders are now available on Steam and GOG at that price. Unfortunately, according to inXile's community manager that means the wishlist initiative is over now, so we won't be getting that free dungeon DLC. It wouldn't surprise me if the price is eventually reduced to $30, though.

There are 39 comments on Bard's Tale IV News Roundup: Launch Trailer, Spotlight #4, Combat Overview, 300k Wishlists Achieved

Thu 13 September 2018

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 September 2018, 00:30:24

Tags: Disco Elysium; ZA/UM

Six months ago, ZA/UM's unusual detective RPG No Truce With The Furies received its current title of Disco Elysium. In subsequent months, the game's developers published a series of devblog updates about its unique skill system and showed it to the press at EGX Rezzed. What they haven't done since then for some reason is release any new trailers or gameplay footage to the public. In fact, I believe we haven't gotten a proper look at the game since the the PAX East stream in March 2017. But we can't wait for that forever. With most of this year's major RPG releases out of the way or due out this month, it's time to start paying Disco Elysium more attention. We can start with a roundup of previews from PAX West, where a demo build was once again shown to the press last week. Destructoid's preview is the most straightforwardly descriptive one:

Sometimes a game's title tells you everything you need to know. Shovel Knight, Battletoads, and even Super Mario Odyssey all give you a pretty good idea of what you're in for before you boot up the game. That isn't the case with Disco Elysium, and I had no idea what to expect when I arrived for my appointment at PAX last week. But what I found was one of the deepest, most intriguing computer RPGs I've seen in a long time, and something I can't wait to play again.

Let's start with that title. Disco Elysium does contain some music from the 1970's, but the Disco part of the title has more to do with discovery than afros, leisure suits, and bell bottoms. The world of Elysium is the game's setting, and the developers told me they intend to create more games in this space. Disco Elysium is meant to be an introduction to this universe.

As for the game itself, it's heavily inspired by late '90s computer RPGs like Baldur's Gate. One of the developers told me his mind was blown when he saw a Friedrich Nietzsche quote during that game's introduction, and Disco Elysium borrows this idea. It's not exactly isometric like those older CRPGs, but the perspective is similar, and that's quite intentional. I got a strong feel of tabletop mechanics while playing as well, but we'll get into that a little later. The developers told me they wanted to allow more meaningful interactions with the world than just shooting everything in sight, and in my opinion they succeeded admirably.

The art style is something completely unlike any game I've ever played before, giving Disco Elysium a unique look that should help it stand out from the crowd. The developer I spoke with mentioned that some of the game's artists are oil painters, trained at Russian academies. The color palette is subdued in some areas and shockingly vibrant in others, using colors you wouldn't expect to add emphasis or suggest a character's state of mind.

When the game starts, you begin by reading an internal dialogue between your rational and animal impulses. It seems that sometime last night you consumed a truly heroic amount of alcohol in a successful attempt to kill some brain cells and forget... something. Ethanol isn't exactly a precision instrument however, and the player soon realizes that the character has gotten so blotto he doesn't even remember his own name.

You can choose to prolong the effects of the self-induced haze by choosing the appropriate dialogue options, but eventually you wake up and have to take stock of your surroundings. You're in your underwear, your tie is hanging from the ceiling fan, pants, shirt and coat are strewn around the room, and you can only find one shoe. If you choose to investigate further, you may discover that this is because you apparently threw it through the window onto an inaccessible balcony. (I never did figure out how to recover it, and spent the entire play session running around in one shoe and one sock.)

After dressing, you can leave your hotel room and explore a little more. If you choose to talk to the woman standing just outside, you can try to talk normally, or might have the idea to try and seduce her. I tried this and failed miserably, and she laughed and let me know this was going to be difficult for me later when I had to question her about the murder. This is when you learn that your character is a police officer, sent to investigate a body that was lynched about a week ago.

The writing in the demo I played was excellent. There's a certain dark humor infusing every interaction, and when I tried some of the sillier options I was not disappointed. At one point your character notices some spilled rum soaking into the carpet and the options are: Ignore it (requires a willpower check), Lick it from the carpet (no check required), or Lick it, but only a little (lesser willpower check). The main character gains quests based on his internal monologue, things like "Find and smoke an entire carton of cigarettes." when he notices another character lighting up.

You'll eventually meet your partner and investigate the body, which has been hanging for more than a week and is quite ripe at this point. A couple of kids standing nearby can be interrogated, but prefer to continue throwing rocks at the corpse and jeer mercilessly when you toss your cookies at the smell. Your character may try to steal the deceased man's boots, or might find that he threw his police notebook in the garbage during his drunken stupor.

There's a deep system of interrelated mechanics associated with every skill check in the game, from dialogue challenges to physical feats. Your stats play into these, and you earn skill points by exploring and talking to people. There are many places to spend your stat points, and the three main trees that define your character are Intellect, Psyche, and "Fysique," your strength and endurance.

Your character may have poor impulse control based on the stats you choose, and one of the games' unique features is a certain amount of punishment for overspecialization. If your Adrenaline stat is too high for example, you may not be able to keep yourself from hauling off and punching someone during a tense negotiation. If your Intellect is too high, you may awkwardly blurt out useless information and preemptively lower people's opinions of you before you realize it.

Skill checks take these stats into account, and also add or subtract modifiers based on actions you've taken before making the attempt. Trying to persuade someone to let you in the back room of their shop will be a little harder if you've dismissed their child-rearing capabilities in an earlier conversation. On the other hand, you can try to break the door down, and might get a bonus if you brought along a crowbar. Each check lets you know your chances for success before you make the attempt, so you can back out to try and tweak your odds if you need to. When you commit, the game rolls 2D6 and adds your modifiers against the required skill threshold. It's a lot like playing D&D, and failures can be just as entertaining as successes.

There's a lot of thought and game mechanics given to psychology, and the main character has what's called a "thought cabinet," a separate inventory for non-tangible thoughts and ideas. You can equip some of these ideas, and holding on to one for a while can cause it to evolve into a belief, which can give your character extra dialogue options or may cause status effects.

Playing a different build in Disco Elysium will provide an entirely different gameplay experience, and the programmer told me they're basically writing three completely different games based on how the character is developed. A full run through the game should take somewhere around 20-25 hours to complete. No release date has been announced yet, and no systems other than PC have been confirmed.

Disco Elysium was one of the standouts for me during a PAX that was loaded with great games. If you have any interest in a deep, mature game full of dark humor, put this one at the top of your list.
Additional previews are available at PC Gamer, Ars Technica, COGconnected and oprainfall. Notably, the Ars Technica preview claims that the game is now due for release in early 2019, although that doesn't appear to be confirmed anywhere else. Perhaps we'll learn more at EGX, where the developers will be hosting a developer session on September 21st.

There are 21 comments on Disco Elysium PAX West 2018 Previews

Fri 7 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 7 September 2018, 02:07:41

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor

As you might expect, Obsidian have published a Pillars of Eternity II Fig update about the game's upcoming Seeker, Slayer, Survivor expansion DLC for those who missed its reveal at PAX West this weekend. Screenshots, some brief details, the usual.

[​IMG] [​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

In the slightly nearer term, the update also announces a date for the 2.1 patch, which will be adding the god challenge modes described in last month's update. As I recall, those were supposed to be out in August. Instead they're coming on September 11th, just two weeks before the new DLC - which is supposed to be accompanied by another patch adding two more god challenge modes. Will Obsidian be able to meet their schedule?

Patch 2.1 and Incoming

Patch 2.1 will be available on September 11th! It's currently on the Beta Branch, and Josh Sawyer would welcome any feedback you might have for the God Challenges below:
  • Abydon - The more you use weapons and armor, the more they will wear down and become "Damaged". This modifier will make them progressively worse and eventually destroy them, unless the mods are removed through Enchantments. Choose the items you will wear into battle wisely!
  • Skaen - With Skaen's challenge, when indoors or at night, fog of war encroaches more. Torches and lanterns can partially offset the additional fog of war, but only a little.
Next month, we'll be bringing our first Mega Boss, Belranga, to Deadfire. This poison-dripping monstrosity is only for the highest leveled players and will test your party's mettle to new heights. We'll have more information on Belranga and her ravenous brood in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!​

It seems there's been some confusion here. I'm pretty sure the first Mega-Boss is also supposed to come out alongside the new DLC, meaning this month. This is what happens when you fall behind schedule!

There are 12 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #55: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor Screenshots

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 7 September 2018, 00:26:37

Tags: Activision; Heuristic Park Inc.; Wizards & Warriors

Among people who are familiar with him, David W. Bradley is best known as the brilliant designer who took over Sir-Tech's famed Wizardry series after the departure of its original creators in the late 1980s. More recently, Bradley appears to have become an eccentric recluse, notoriously spending a decade rereleasing the same terrible game. But in between those two periods, he created one last game that was pretty decent - Wizards & Warriors. Originally published in 2000 by Activision back when they still dealt with such things, for many years Wizards & Warriors was hard to obtain and hard to run on modern operating systems. Enthusiasts appear to have figured out the latter problem recently, and that may be why Wizards & Warriors was finally released on GOG today. Nobody bothered to create a trailer for this release, so I'll just post GOG's description of the game:

An RPG as vast as legend itself.

In an enchanted medieval realm known as the Gael Serran, an evil Pharaoh has overcome a curse and returned to wreak havoc. Only the legendary Mavin Sword--a blade forged of twin metals, one cursed by evil, the other blessed by the divine--has the strength to bring his defeat. With the assistance of Kerah, an angel, and Erathsmedor, a dragon, you must engage on a dangerous quest to uncover the legend of the Mavin Sword and bring an end to all evil in the land.

Can you uncover the mysteries of the Sword before terror reigns?
  • Encounter over 100 NPCs, battle 350 characters and creatures, wield weapons and cast a myriad of magic spells.
  • Create a party of six adventurers and utilize 300 inventory items, including customizable pieces.
  • Embark on over 100 quests, mini-quests and adventures, battling in real-time and turn-based combat.
  • Discover the Enchanted Isle, Dragon's Den, Dwarven Mines, Liche Dungeon and over 40 other places to explore.
This release is actually not that big of a surprise in my opinion, as Activision have been releasing legacy titles on GOG at a steady pace over the past couple of years. But it's certainly a good day for the genre. You can grab Wizards & Warriors from GOG for the standard price of $6.

There are 75 comments on Wizards & Warriors released on GOG

Thu 6 September 2018

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 6 September 2018, 01:47:36

Tags: Ceres Games; Peter Ohlmann; Realms Beyond

According to Ceres Games, Realms Beyond was very well received at Gamescom last month. It seems however that it was mostly well received by Germans, since they're the only ones who posted anything about it until today. There were a number of articles and interviews, but only one media outlet by the name of Gadarol has published new gameplay footage. While the developers and the site representative converse in German, the game itself is in English. It looks very cool, and much smoother than the stilted combat alpha video from earlier this year might have suggested.

But I wouldn't have posted this if all we had was a video in German. It's fallen to good old Myrthos over at RPGWatch to write the first English-language preview of Realms Beyond. It's not the most artfully written piece, but it's extraordinarily meticulous. I'm surprised to learn that the game implements Ultima VII-style world interaction, where every item in the environment can be picked up. This is no mere Temple of Elemental Evil clone. An excerpt from the preview:

One of the philosophies the developers have in making the game is that they want to restrict the player as little as possible in their exploration activities in the game. The player needs to make his or her own choices and live with the consequences of those choices, but it is needed to have the right skills in order to explore in a proper way. With the right skill you could, for example, detect herbs and harvest them. If you do not have that skill, the characters in your party will not recognize the herbs, which stops you from harvesting them.

With choices and consequences comes a branching quest system, which they use to have your choices have an impact in the world. Actually, your actions, both inside and outside of quests, can have consequences in the world. If you would destroy a goblin camp somewhere and kill all the goblins, it might be that after some time, humans will claim that spot, because the goblins are no longer there. You can make entire regions safer for humans in this way, but you can also choose not to.

And if you are lost, and like to know what quest you are doing now, you should be aware that the game does not have a quest compass or quest markers hovering over people's had or hovering anywhere else for that matter. Any information you need about quests can be read from the journal, which is automatically filled with information as you go along.

There is also a branching dialog system. Conversations can have different outcomes depending on your choices. In addition, some branches in conversations are based on your race, gender, class, or what you have done up to that point. This can also happen with merchants, who might not want to help you because they don't like humans, dwarves or something like that.

NPCs you encounter in a village will be talking to each other and you can listen to their conversations. The text they use can be just random talk, but can also depend on your previous actions. If you would have cleared that goblin camp, you might hear them talk about a group of heroes who finally killed the goblins. This again, is meant to make the world more real.

Realms Beyond will support alignment, but their their implementation of alignment is different from the D&D version, as they wanted something more intricate. They plan to use a diagram where different character traits are available and each character will align more or less with each of these traits. Like, being greedy, lazy, sneaky, open-minded, etc. As it is still in development, this could not be shown.

The way this works in the game is that if you have a greedy character and you let that character barter with a merchant, it will probably not be a success, as the greedy character will not part from money or items easily and it is very unlikely that they will come to an agreement. So perhaps a greedy person is not the best person to barter with a merchant.

Also the armor class is a bit different from D&D. In D&D you only have armor for the torso. They have changed this and distributed the armor class from D&D over different armor parts for the helmet, body, gloves and boots. If they are all of the same type then together they would give the same armor class as the armor in D&D would.

The game will support a faction system on different levels. One town is a faction, one kingdom is a faction and then there are global factions, such as a merchant gild, or factions based on a race or religion. You can align yourself with factions, but some factions are opposite to each other, so befriending one faction, could mean you become an enemy of another faction. You can for example, align with the orcs, but in order to do that you have to kill humans, who will not think kindly of you because of that. If you make a character angry, because of your actions or conversations, it will spread out to the faction that character belongs to, like the village or camp.
Realms Beyond is in pre-alpha now, and most of its features, systems, graphical assets, etc, are already in place. The main thing missing is content, which is what the Kickstarter in October will be for. Ceres are hoping to reuse the impressive engine they've built. They already have plans to release two major expansions, each one expanding the world with a full game's worth of content. As for the base game, according to head honcho Peter Ohlmann, the plan is to put it on Early Access in late 2019, with a final release in early 2020.

There are 48 comments on Realms Beyond Gameplay Footage + Preview at RPGWatch

Wed 5 September 2018

Community - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 September 2018, 01:17:28

Tags: Colony Ship; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

The New World was known as the Colony Ship RPG before it received its current title last June. Apparently, Iron Tower were unaware when they chose the name that Amazon Game Studios were developing a similarly titled MMO called simply New World, first announced back in September 2016. It was hoped that Amazon's game might end up being cancelled, as often occurs with such projects, but its appearance at Gamescom this year laid such hopes to rest. Since going up against Jeff Bezos' legal team is a bad idea, the Colony Ship RPG must be renamed yet again. This isn't necessarily bad news, since many people were unhappy with The New World as a title. Now they have a chance to pick a title they like:

We picked the name (The New World) a few months before the first reports about Amazon's MMO hit the net, meaning we didn't know about Amazon's New World back then. Yes, we should have double-checked again before launching the site, but we didn't. Back then it wasn't clear if the MMO is still in development as there were rumors of cancellations, so we decided to wait and see what transpires. Well, as of last week it's clear that Amazon's New World is alive and kicking, which means we have to change the name.

I really liked The New World as it fits the game perfectly and while Amazon hasn't contacted us about the name, their pre- and post-release media campaign would drown us. Fortunately, we haven't done any real marketing yet, so changing the name is relatively easy at this point. All we need is a fitting name, which is where you come in.

We went through a hundred or so names, ranging from absolutely awful to really bad, and settled on these 3 names representing our last, best hope:

1. Starfarer - it's the name of the ship in the game, so there's some relevance. The obvious downside is that it's fairly generic. It works as the ship's name considering the nature of the ship but I'm not sure it makes a good name for anything else. I'd prefer Starfarers describing the people, but it's trademarked up to its eyeballs so...

2. The Journey/Voyage to Proxima Centauri or something similar - the only advantage is that the plot summary is in the title. You don't have to wonder what the game's about.

3. The Pilgrims of Earth - similar meaning as the New World (i.e. the pilgrims of Mayflower), focus on the people not the ship or the journey, nice 50s sci-fi feel, built-in sequel (The Conquerors of Proxima Centauri).

I prefer #3 but I was wrong plenty of times before, so I'd like to know what you think first, before we change the logo, the site, and Steam's page.
Which shall it be? Starfarer, Proxima Centauri, Pilgrims, or perhaps something else entirely? As usual, you can vote over there or right here in our Iron Tower subforum, or both if you really want to make a statement.

UPDATE: After receiving a large number of responses, Vault Dweller has decided to launch a second round of voting with some new options. Once again, you can vote over there or right here.

There are 300 comments on Help choose the The New World's new title

Tue 4 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 September 2018, 01:22:49

Tags: Alec Frey; Alex Scokel; Mikey Dowling; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast of Winter; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor

As you may have noticed by now, many of Obsidian's senior developers left the Pillars of Eternity II team after the base game was released, leaving the game's three DLC expansions to be developed by a small team of mostly junior employees. The newbies seem to have done a decent enough job on the Beast of Winter expansion, and perhaps as a reward they were given the opportunity to deliver a panel about it at PAX West yesterday. The panel is mostly about the creation of Vatnir, the expansion's grotesque sidekick, from his background and personality to his visual design and modelling to his racial and class abilities. It's a fun watch, but the real reason I'm posting this is because at the very end, Mikey Dowling unveils the teaser trailer for the upcoming Seeker, Slayer, Survivor expansion. It's releasing on September 25th (the same day as Pathfinder: Kingmaker!). Obsidian haven't published the trailer on their YouTube channel yet, but you can see it at 55:06.

In other news, Beamdog also had a panel at PAX West this weekend. With the recent departure of longtime lead Philip Daigle, everybody was expecting them to announce their next big thing, or at least some new Neverwinter Nights premium modules or Infinity Engine console ports. Instead all we got was some promotional portrait and voiceset DLC (in partnership with Wizards of the Coast D&D livestream Dice, Camera, Action - an obvious ripoff of Obsidian's similar deal with Critical Role) and some footage from an upcoming Neverwinter Nights Android port. Sad!

There are 5 comments on Pillars of Eternity II PAX West Panel - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor DLC revealed, coming September 25th

Sat 1 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 1 September 2018, 14:53:55

Tags: Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

The Bard's Tale IV was at Gamescom last week. Brian Fargo made an appearance on IGN's livestream to talk about it, but he didn't really reveal anything new. Nevertheless, we're now two and a half weeks away from release and inXile are wrapping things up. They released a third spotlight video, this time showcasing the game's characters and authentic™ Scottish voice acting. The latest Kickstarter update has some final words from Brian, including details about some features they've added to the game in response to backer feedback. I'll post both here:

A Message from Brian

What an incredible last six years it has been. I had given up all hope of creating the kind of RPGs that I like to make, then along came Kickstarter, and now here we are about to finalize our third crowdfunded game. Thanks again for trusting us.

Our goal with these games is to under promise and over deliver, and we hope you feel that we’ve accomplished this with The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep. Most people don’t realize how much of our own money we pour in to make these games as special as possible. In this case, we spent more than 5x the amount raised via Kickstarter! We can’t help being passionate and giving it our all. If you haven't seen them yet, be sure to check out the spotlight videos we have been creating for the game.

The game ended up with 350 speaking parts, over 30 distinct locations, and over 100 pieces of music. The Windows version is still on schedule for the 18th and then all hands are on deck to get the Mac and Linux versions out as fast as we can. We are hitting ALL our stretch goals, and have incorporated a tremendous amount of feedback from the beta test. The only slightly bad news is that we will be late on a few items, but they are most assuredly coming in the following weeks after release.

Backer Feedback & Game Length

Between the alpha and beta, we received a number of great "throwback" suggestions in addition to the ones we already had. Taking a page from the Bard's Tale remaster, we decided to bring all of these features into what we're calling a "Legacy Mode". The bad news is that, in order to get them all in, we'll need time to iterate, so they won't be ready at release time. The good news is that the list of features is much more than we were originally intending on doing, all thanks to your suggestions. In addition to the previously discussed grid-based movement and hiding the minimap, we're also working on features such as old school scrolling text for combat, a save system closer to the original games for hardcore purists, and even an ability to bring back the "A-Team". This will be another of our immediate focuses post-launch, and you can look for the Legacy Mode to arrive sometime soon after the game's release.

And though we promised a 25-hour game, playtests are showing it to be closer to 35+. And while it’s hard to be objective about your work, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed playing it and found myself at many times wanting to play for “30 more minutes.” I’ve had to re-play the first 10 hours of the game at least 20 times and it’s a good sign when it’s still enjoyable.

Again, we are very happy to announce that we're hitting on all goals, and where we aren't hitting certain time frames on stuff, we are looking to make up the difference with added value. On that note, an added thank you for your patience, every backer will be receiving the digital version of our Strategy Guide for free. It's just one more way to acknowledge that we appreciate all the support that you have given us.

I know you all love RPGs and we love making them! We are counting on this success so we can continue to bring you more of these great games, including future installments of the Bard’s Tale!
Meanwhile, on their Twitter account, inXile have posted what looks like a brief snippet of a video showing the Garden of the Gods map from the last Wasteland 3 Fig update, now with a functional user interface. I guess we know what's coming next.

There are 23 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #51: Final Words from Brian Fargo + Spotlight #3

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 1 September 2018, 00:49:16

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios

A bit less than a year after its original launch, Larian Studios have released the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition. It's a big day for consoles, less so for PC - although for those of you who have made a habit of not playing games until they're fully patched up, now's the time to begin. Well, that's not entirely accurate. According to their release announcement on Steam, there are a few remaining odds and ends that Larian plan to add later. But first the launch trailer:

You have probably noticed a big update that came to Divinity: Original Sin 2. The big update is the Definitive Edition that was added.

People that have bought Original Sin 2 when it came out, get this for free. It is an optimized, revised, rebalanced version of the game, with a couple of new features, overhauled Arena mode, better UI, better journal, rewritten dialogues, and much more.

If you would like to know what exactly "much more" is, we have tried to document it here, in over 50 pages:

If you are now wondering what version to choose, Classic or Definitive, it's easy:

- If you have a game or a GM campaign in progress in Classic mode, start up Classic mode and continue there. Savegames from the Classic game are not compatible with Definitive Edition. If you ever feel like rolling a new character, please come over to the Definitive Side when you're ready.

- If you are new to Original Sin 2, or if you were only a couple of levels in on classic, start up the Definitive Edition.

- If you have already finished the Classic version a dozen times and you're a champion in the classic arena, give the Definitive Edition a go. What harm is there in rolling one. More. Character.

We hope you enjoy this new game version and are excited to read about what you think.

For those of you wondering:

- the editor is coming out in a few days
- mods created for classic are incompatible
- HDR mode will be added later on as well

Don't worry, we're on top of it, and working together with modders to make popular mods available and convert them over to definitive edition. We're also watching the forums to help out where we can, and address some early issues that were identified. So we're not done yet.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 suffered withering criticisms on our forum, but it was still our GOTY in 2017. A year later though, it doesn't seem like very many people care about it anymore. Actually, the Codex seems to be in a state of apathy in general these days. The era of Divinities and Eternities is over, I think. It's time for something new.

There are 41 comments on Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition Released

Fri 31 August 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 31 August 2018, 23:58:18

Tags: Brace Yourself Games; Phantom Brigade

Phantom Brigade - not to be confused with the recently released Phantom Doctrine and Strange Brigade - is an upcoming turn-based tactical mech combat RPG. The game's developers include two prominent ex-Kerbal Space Program developers, who joined with others to form the Seattle-based Tetragon Works and have been working on the game since early 2016. More recently, Tetragon merged with Vancouver-based indie studio Brace Yourself Games (developers of an upcoming city builder/strategy game called Industries of Titan which is also worth checking out) but all the same developers still appear to be onboard. According to its Steam page, Phantom Brigade aims to put a "cinematic spin on the turn-based genre", and the teaser trailer they've put together for PAX West is certainly cinematic. I'll post it here, but you should definitely check out the old development update videos by creative lead Chad "C7" Jenkins as well.

Phantom Brigade is a turn-based tactical RPG, focusing on in-depth customization and player driven stories. As the last surviving squad of mech pilots, you must capture enemy equipment and facilities to level the playing field. Outnumbered and out-gunned, lead The Brigade through a desperate campaign to retake their war-torn homeland.
  • Cinematic spin on the turn-based genre • Predict enemy movements, orchestrate precisely timed countermeasures and watch the action unfold.
  • Strategy • Make high-level tactical decisions on the world map, manage your base, and decide how to apply your limited resources.
  • Tactical combat • Take command of your squad in varied missions ranging from sabotage of enemy equipment and infiltration of high tech facilities to convoy ambushes and challenging outpost onslaughts.
  • Customization • Featuring a rich customization system, the game enables you to fine-tune performance of your mechs, install a wide selection of equipment and access a wealth of cosmetic options. Make your ready to face any challenge - in style.
  • Destructible environments • It's not a proper game about walking tanks without some falling buildings. The game allows every square meter of every scene to be destroyed. Blow up any cover and collapse buildings over your enemies.
So what makes this game different from BattleTech, you ask? Well, it's got action points, for one. Its mechs are smaller, the size of a small house rather than a large building. It seems more dynamic and complex. Perhaps it's enough to say that unlike BattleTech, it proudly calls itself an RPG. There's no release date yet, but we'll be keeping an eye on this.

There are 19 comments on Phantom Brigade is a turn-based tactical mech combat RPG from ex-Kerbal Space Program developers

Thu 30 August 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 30 August 2018, 01:36:19

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

The Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter campaign launched just over three years ago to great success. On Friday, the game's Definitive Edition will be released, bringing an end to this era in Larian's history. Swen has decided to mark the occasion with one last Kickstarter update - the last one ever. The update video is filmed in the same hotel room in Seattle where he stayed when the campaign was launched. Most of the video's length, however, is taken up by an amusing short film about the fate of Feedback Billy, the in-game character Larian created to gather feedback for the game's Xbox early access release. Billy doesn't shirk his vocations easily.

Not only is this the last Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter update, but it's likely the last Kickstarter update for any Larian game, because according to Swen, their next games will almost certainly not be crowdfunded. The Definitive Edition will be released in a big livestreamed blowout at PAX West which will be attended by "a few surprise guests", but it doesn't sound like he's ready to discuss what those next games are just yet. In the meantime, the full changelog for the Definition Edition is available here.

There are 14 comments on Divinity: Original Sin 2 Kickstarter Update #48: The Final Update

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 30 August 2018, 00:50:33

Tags: Brandon Adler; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - The Forgotten Sanctum

The Seeker, Slayer, Survivor DLC for Pillars of Eternity II has yet to be formally revealed. Surprisingly, that didn't stop Brandon Adler from spilling the beans about The Forgotten Sanctum DLC that's meant to come out after it, in an interview at Gamescom he gave to a representative from the website Expansive. It's quite the little scoop, actually. According to Brandon, The Forgotten Sanctum will deal with the archmages of Eora, who have gathered to figure out what to do about Eothas. It'll be a Fort Deadlight-style dungeon adventure scenario, where the player will have to choose which mages to side with and which to betray. Apparently this will have some sort of impact on the endgame as well. I quote:

You’ve recently released Beast of Winter and Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is up next. What can you tell us about the forthcoming expansions and how will they continue to evolve and iterate on PoE 2?

BA: On each of the DLCs, we wanted to explore a different aspect of the game. In the first DLC – Beast of Winter – it was important for us to focus on exploration and puzzle elements. And even digging a little deeper into the lore of things.

With Seeker, Slayer, Survivor we’re focusing on the combat, trying to explore how far can we take the combat system, and what kind of stuff can we be doing with this. What kind of cool encounters can we be setting up with this?

And then with The Forgotten Sanctum we’re going to build and provide the best dungeon experience. So it will be very dungeon dive-like and will really appeal to players who love Fort Deadlight, it’s going to have the same kind of feel. A big, cohesive dungeon.

So, we’re just taking what’s already in the game and evolve it to the max.​

We know it builds on some character choices and we got a bit of a taste of that in Beast of Winter, one big decision in particular. Can we expect a bit more of that in The Forgotten Sanctum?

BA: I will say – without spoilers – I think the choice at the end of that one is going to be really, really cool. People are going to be digging it.

So, each of the DLCs focuses on one of the Gods. Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is Galawain and Beast of Winter had Rymrgand. The next one I can’t talk about just yet, but it will be one of the gods and will be a bit more mysterious.

What I can really get into is that it is spellcaster focused, so for those who’ve rolled a spellcaster they’re going to have a lot of new things to dig around in, like new spells and things like that. Lots of new equipment for them. As mentioned, we have a big focus on the dungeon-diving aspect and delving overall. That will be a big part of it and how we explore those different spaces.

There are also Arch Mages in the world and they’re all trying to figure out what do we do with Eothas. There’s this big, gigantic God, tromping around, smashing up everything. They all had different ideas on how to deal with him and so you’re going to be dealing with them in some respects. Like, do you back certain Arch Mages, do you betray certain ones? Do you say ‘screw it’ and do your own thing? So that’s some of the choices going to be in there as well, and dealing with that.

The description of the DLC suggests that your actions and consequences will be felt all across Deadfire at the end. Does that potentially link up to future additional content / build toward a third game? What is that description meant to convey?

BA: We are planning to have some additional reactivity with the game, even more so than we had with Beast of Winter and planning for Seeker, Slayer, Survivor. We will have more of a direct impact on some of things that deal with Eothas. I can’t get into exactly what that is but that will be there.

Currently we do not have plans for any additional paid DLC after the third one, obviously that would depend on the perception of the content and what we’re doing.

The franchise itself, there’s a lot of different things we want to do with the IP. And it’s not even just isometric games. We really want to support the IP long term in a lot of different ways. For instance, I know Josh was talking about pitching a Final Fantasy tactics type game using the Pillars universe. I know there’s a lot of people at the studio who want to do something in the vein of an Elder Scrolls. So there’s a lot of things we’re kind of exploring for that.

For the third game, we’re still talking about that and seeing what make sense right now.​

The interview also has details about Seeker, Slayer, Survivor of course, and about the free updates that are scheduled for release in the coming months. One notable takeaway is that Josh Sawyer is leading development on an overhaul of the game's ship combat system, which has been heavily criticized for its shallowness. It's starting to feel like he never left at all!

There are 6 comments on Brandon Adler spills the beans about Pillars of Eternity II Forgotten Sanctum DLC at Expansive

Wed 29 August 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 29 August 2018, 19:33:58

Tags: Heroic Fantasy Games; Knights of the Chalice; Knights of the Chalice 2

The original Knights of the Chalice was released back in 2009, and was a shining light in a time of darkness for the RPG genre. Its sequel, Knights of the Chalice 2, has pretty much been in development since that very day. Unfortunately not very many people are aware of it. For his own idiosyncratic reasons, creator Pierre Begue has for years refused to make use of modern game distribution and promotion methods, famously refusing an offer from GOG to release Knights of the Chalice on their platform back in 2013. Absurdly, for the longest time Knights of the Chalice 2 development updates have been private, available only to owners of the first game.

But now something has changed. In May, Pierre first brought up the possibility of a Kickstarter for Knights of the Chalice 2 in November. A month later, he revealed that he'd begun the process of being admitted to Steam. And for the past two months, Knights of the Chalice 2 development updates have been posted in a public forum, where they're viewable by all. So, what finally dragged Pierre Begue kicking and screaming into the 21st century? As it turns out, being brought to the brink of starvation. From the latest update:

Hello everyone, here is the promised August update on the development of Knights of the Chalice 2.​

I call this update the 'Light at the End of the Dungeon' because it's the first time that the game is virtually feature complete! And that is a great relief to me. First, let's review the main things that were added since the last update. Secondly, we will have a look at some Necromancer Class design ideas. The Necromancer and Summoner are two possible Kickstarter Stretch Goals for the KotC 2 Kickstarter expected in November 2018. Thirdly, we will have an in-depth look at the beginning of the prologue adventure, called Augury of Chaos. I expect that it will be too big to be a free demo, particularly if it comes with the Module Editor. It will be a good stand-alone prologue adventure. Warning: if you want to avoid spoilers, then you should not read the content of the dialogue screens posted below. Finally, we will talk a little bit about what's next.

[...] On the Steam front, I'm happy to report that I've finally got my own EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the US IRS. This is needed when a developer wants to start selling games on Steam. Hopefully, I'll be able to join Steam without too much difficulty in coming months, after I have released my new Youtube videos for KotC 1 and the prologue module of KotC 2. I wonder if I will have to pay the Steam self-publishing fee for each KotC 2 module, or just once?

Okay, sounds good, so what's next?

Well, I'm planning to use the next 40 to 50 days to pack as much interesting content as possible into the prologue adventure, Augury of Chaos.

My next updates will probably be smaller: I will make a small update when my KotC 2 Features and Screenshots web pages are released, and another small update when my new Youtube videos for both KotC 2 and KotC 1 are released.

Now, a little bit about my personal life: I'm going through a difficult time financially. So I'm surviving just by eating roots - figuratively and literally: ginger and turmeric roots - and I am putting a whole lot of hope in the upcoming Kickstarter for KotC 2.

So, while I keep working very hard on KotC 2, please do your best to promote KotC 1 and advertise the Kickstarter expected to come in November 2018.

Also, I want to say 'thank you for your continuing support' to everyone who bought KotC 1, and a **REALLY BIG** thank you especially to repeat buyers: please let me tell you that your contribution is not going unnoticed, and it is helping me a lot in this development effort! I want to make the best game I can make, and YOU are really helping me do it. Much appreciated!!

Thank you for reading! All comments are welcome. Farewell for now, worthy adventurers, and please stay tuned!
Well, I guess that's one way of learning how to do things. You just make it to Kickstarter, Pierre, and we'll be there.

There are 42 comments on Better Late Than Never: Knights of the Chalice 2 Kickstarter in November, first game coming to Steam

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 29 August 2018, 17:58:25

Tags: Greg Johnson; HumaNature Studios; Starflight 3

Crowdfunded sequels and spiritual successors to classic game franchises were all the rage back in 2012-2013, but there's something weird about running into one in 2018. That's the feeling I get when I look at Starflight 3, the new sequel to the famous space exploration RPG series from the 1980s, which officially launched on Fig yesterday after a month and a half in a not-so-secret backstage preview mode. The developer in charge is HumaNature Studios, a California-based indie headed by original Starflight lead designer Greg Johnson, so they've got that right. The game looks nice enough, but is there any interest in such a thing in this age of Star Citizens and No Man's Skies? Watch the video, read the pitch, and decide for yourself:

Starflight was the first PC game to go platinum, selling over a million copies while also garnering huge critical success earning “Adventure Game of the Year”. Its sequel, Starflight 2: The Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula went on to receive “Role-Playing Game of the Year”. We're building Starflight’s next incarnation under the creative direction of its original designer, Greg Johnson and we can't do it without your help!

What Is Starflight
  • A sci-fi single-player, sandbox role-playing game that focuses on exploration, diplomacy, resource gathering and combat
  • Hand-built planets and star systems to discover, mine, catalog new creatures and trade with locals
  • Alien races with distinct languages and cultures that will test your diplomacy skills
  • Ship and crew customization to suit your play style
  • Mind-bending clues scattered across the stars that you must decipher to keep going in the right direction
  • Random events that will make some of your decisions easier and at times… difficult
  • A truly free-form experience allowing you to decide how to explore whenever you want to
HumaNature are looking to raise $800,000 by next month to develop Starflight 3, which they already got a good chunk before the campaign launched. You can get yourself a copy of the game for a reasonable $20, with beta access available at $80 and alpha at $100. The estimated release window is Q4 2020.

There are 19 comments on Starflight 3, a sequel from original series creator Greg Johnson, now on Fig

Blackthorne needs a kidney

TARGET: $5,000 USD

RAISED: $1,754.51 USD (35%)

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