Dungeon Encounters proves that you don't need a grand story and fancy visuals to create a compelling RPG.
Released to very little fanfare from Square Enix last week, Dungeon Encounters is a dungeon-crawling RPG that sees players explore a labyrinthine map that feels a little like a board game. You'll move from tile to tile, occasionally coming across events and combat encounters. Ultimately your goal is to get as far as possible, which you'll do by equipping your party with the best weapons and equipment you can find. But it's not easy; even when you think you're unbeatable, it won't be long until you encounter an enemy much stronger than you.
With some serious talent behind its creation, Dungeon Encounters deserves much more fanfare than it has so far received. This might not be as flashy as a typical RPG from Square Enix, but it's clever, it's engaging, and its simple but deceptively deep gameplay loop will keep you coming back for more. Add to that a killer soundtrack overseen by Nobuo Uematsu, and you've got something rather special on your hands.
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Logic Artists posted their new Dev Diary about crafting in Expeditions: Rome. They're planning a dev stream on Wednesday to discuss this topic.
DevDiary 8 - Crafting
Ave! You have discovered our eighth DevDiary. Last time, we went over all the character progression systems in the game, including how the loot system works - but there was one part of that we didn't have time to touch on: Crafting.
In roleplaying games, there are typically three ways to acquire new equipment: you can loot it off dead enemies, from treasure chests etc., or you can purchase it from a shop with your hard-earned gold, or you can roll up your sleeves and craft it yourself. Each method serves a slightly different purpose: loot drops are rewards for combat or exploration but are typically completely random. Item shops offer you some choice from a randomised menu. Crafting gives you full control over what item you'll get, but you'll have to invest resources, time, and effort.
We always thought there was too much overlap between these three methods - that the differences between them weren't quite significant enough to justify their existence. When we were fleshing out the item system in Viking, we wanted to eliminate one of these ways to get items, so your items would only come from two systems. We had to keep loot of course - exploration is a core pillar of our series, and as a viking, why shouldn't you be able to kill people and take their stuff? This left us with the choice between crafting and item shops, and crafting was clearly the more interesting system: it's more different from loot drops than item shops are in that it gives the player much more agency with less randomness, and in terms of the fantasy, it felt more right for a viking to forge their own weaponry rather than purchase it from a travelling sword salesman.
If you want to learn more about crafting or item progression, or about how our skill system was designed, please post your questions as comments on this post, and join us on this week's DevStream on Wednesday October 20th, at 1:00 PM Eastern / 5:00 PM GMT on the THQ Nordic Twitch Channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic. On this week's stream, Senior Producer Brad Logston will once again host Combat Designer Hans Emil Hoppe Rauer to discuss how crafting fits into the intricate meta systems of Expeditions: Rome.
RPGamer reports that Artefacts Studio will release Splat Jaypak's Arenas, their second DLC for The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk, on December 3rd.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos Second DLC, Next-Gen Release Announced
Artefacts Studio and Dear Villagers announced the second DLC for The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos. Splat Jaypak's Arenas will be released on December 3, 2021, alongside dedicated PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions of the game. Splat Jaypak's Arenas is the second of three planned DLC and sees the party of heroes kidnapped and forced to survive a series of combat trials devised by Splat Jaypak. The third DLC is a four-chapter sequel to the main game and is set to be released in 2022. [...]
Ars Technica reviews The Good Life, the newly released detective / adventure / life sim game made by White Owls Inc.
The Good Life review: A messy RPG as unique as it is ridiculous
The Good Life throws you into its offbeat little tale without much preamble.
After a cute storybook introduction, New Yorker and photojournalist Naomi Hayward is dropped off in an Untitled Goose Game-caliber sleepy British hamlet called Rainy Woods, the self-proclaimed "happiest town in the world." Why is it the happiest town in the world? Nobody knows, but that's what Naomi is there to find out. The place supposedly has an earth-shattering secret that her employers at the Morning Bell want her to uncover-though because she's drowning in debt it's less of a request than a mandate.
There are things about The Good Life I wish were fleshed out or improved. Naomi moves too slowly, for one, and controller inputs can be hit or miss. I hope to see some much-needed quality-of-life additions patched in, particularly in overhauling the UI. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a toggle to turn off the always-on objectives that take up a sizable chunk of the screen and being able to skip inconsequential cutscenes that occur when you, say, fail a minigame segment and have to replay it.
But these issues shouldn't really be too much of a deterrent. While it won't win any awards for its moment-to-moment rhythms and its patchy execution, The Good Life's ludicrous turns and the central mysteries of Rainy Woods are reasons enough to stick with this adventure. It's a reasonably sized jaunt that doesn't wear out its welcome.
Verdict: Though technically rough and uneven, The Good Life is memorable and anything but predictable.
Rat Tower Software posted a long update on the development of Monomyth.
State of the Project: Final Funding | Current Progress | Level Design
Hi, dungeon-crawling fans!
It's almost been two months since the Kickstarter so today I would like to give you a little update on the current development status of Monomyth.
Unfortunately, I have to start with a bit of a downer: The Kickstarter money has been transferred, however, it turned out that one major donor has dropped their pledge (8k), by not updating their credit card information. Nevertheless, the final amount (plus €950 from the Encore) is still a very good sum that can finance a good bit of contract work. The money is already allocated but I will still try to activate additional funds and patch up the hole in the original budget. Either way, it won't have an effect on the planned development, the current goal of which is content creation.
As you know, I have been busily designing levels over the last one and a half months. During the first month, I was still getting used to the new mode of operation but by now it's a very smooth process from concepts, to blockouts, to final results. I have had my own way of going through these steps for a while, but I also went ahead and complemented that with some reading material I had lying around for some time:
Jeff Vogel, of Spiderweb Software fame, has been keeping a blog. In his latest opinion piece he shares his thoughts on videogame stories.
Observation 1: When people say a video game has a good story, they mean that it has a story.
Gamers have a reputation for being intolerant, perpetually angry complainers. This isn't true. Gamers are the most forgiving, tolerant audience of any media.
If your game is barely functional, somewhat coherent, and gives you a sufficiently satisfying way to grind away your time, gamers will give you a billion dollars. Games that ship in a buggy, non-function state rocket to the top of the sales charts all the time. That's how tolerant gamers are. They don't even require your product to WORK!
So, if your game has a story that coherently gets from the start to the end, has a couple memorable characters and lines of dialogue, and doesn't waste a ton of time, the world's most forgiving audience will hail it as great.
But it doesn't really matter, because ...
Observation 2: Players will forgive you for having a good story, as long as you allow them to ignore it.
Gamers don't generally care about your game's story. They want the adrenaline spikes of shooty-bang-bang, or the sweet dopamine hits from filling up status bars.
If you are in the mood for good storytelling, you can watch a movie. Or a TV show. Or (shudder) read a book. Each of these is a thousand miles beyond the best video game in terms of storytelling. Whether your tastes run toward Raiders of the Lost Ark or Hamlet or Guardians of the Galaxy or Breaking Bad, video games have worse stories. Sorry.
Doesn't matter, because the vast majority of players just tune out the story. As long as you let them skip past it, it's fine. There are a lot of people out there who have put hundreds of hours into World of Warcraft, myself included. If you quizzed us all on World of Warcraft lore, 99% of us would get an F-, guaranteed.
Good story isn't what gamers are after. Which is good, because they ain't gettin' it.
The turn-based J-RPG MONARK has been announced for early 2022:
MONARK - Adversaries Trailer
Could you face yourself and the threats around you to save the ones you love? Shin Mikado Academy is engulfed in a madness-inducing Mist, and only you can save everyone inside. Develop your Ego to break the pacts set by the Pactbearers and remove the corrupting Mist.
Gematsu reports on a teaser trailer for The Invincible which is a retro-futuristic game that was recently delayed to 2022.
The Invincible is a first-person Sci-Fi thriller set in a retro-future timeline. Waking up as a space scientist on a hostile planet, you embark on a mysterious mission to find the missing crew of your spaceship. Survival is a matter of your correct choices, taken whilst uncovering the secrets of the planet, bigger than anyone thought.
You are a scientist onboard an interstellar scientific expedition, suddenly thrown into a life-or-death rescue mission. Landing on a planet Regis III you have to find the missing crew members using some advanced space equipment, whilst relying on your brains and instincts to survive on the planet which quickly occurs to be unwelcoming. Soon you'll discover that Regis III holds terrifying secrets which are uncovered while you're piecing together the fate of your crew. And as you delve deeper into the mystery, you realise that perhaps you are not alone and that some places like this planet are better left untouched. But it's too late to turn back.
Retro-future atompunk setting reminiscent of the space race
Analogue yet very advanced technology allowing for drones and autonomous robots to support or spoil your mission
Immersive gameplay with a non-linear story shaped by your relationships, choices and persuasive skills
Beautiful, state of the art graphics powered by Unreal Engine
Intriguing story inspired by Stanislaw Lem's seminal sci-fi cult classic of the same name
Gematsu reports on a new dark fantasy action RPG in development called Project M. MMObyte.tv reported on the game being in development earlier this year and has a character picture.
HOUND 13, the South Korean studio behind the mobile game Hundred Soul, has released a prototype gameplay video for Project M, its dark fantasy action RPG in development for console and PC.
Watch the footage below.
Then we have Project M which is going to be an online narrative driven action RPG completely for PC. Yes, no mobile, no cross-platform functionality.
This is built exclusively for PC players and will utilize Unreal Engine 4 to power a large, dark fantasy world. Again, we were given an image to accompany the reveal, and let me tell you, South Korea really knows how to design characters.
On the one hand, she looks like she's all marked up with magical symbols - which leads me to believe she's some type of witch. And the fact that she looks much more Caucasian as opposed to the typical Asian-aesthetic we get out of Korean or Chinese games.
TechRaptor reports that a next-gen patch for Dying Light is being developed.
Techland has revealed that a Dying Light next-gen patch is in development. Hopefully, that means that you'll be able to play Dying Light 1 on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S sooner rather than later.
We're roughly four months away from the launch of Dying Light 2, a game that has frustrated some players due to the lack of communication from Techland. Techland made an effort to better communicate with its fans since then, and that's not the only good move it's recently made -- Techland has recently announced that a Dying Light next-gen patch is in development.
"We're currently working on a next-gen patch for Dying Light 1 - more details coming in the future[,]" read a tweet from the franchise's official account (via PlayStation Lifestyle).
Techland bringing a nearly seven-year-old game to next-gen shows just how committed it is to ensuring that its games have a long shelf life. This isn't the only cool thing it did for Dying Light, either: a patch with a bunch of brand-new content for Dying Light: Hellraidlaunched yesterday and added a new weapon, new potions, and new challenges for players to overcome.
TechRaptor reports that Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 was almost cancelled but was then saved by a convincing pitch. The new developer has still not been announced.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has definitely had a strange road so far. Initially announced to a lot of fanfare, it has since suffered delay after delay after delay, which has led to a lot of wondering and discussion on whether or not the game has quietly been canned. Not so, says, Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester, as the game was apparently saved by a "convincing" pitch:
"When we lifted the game from the original developer, we had a long review in case we should end the game or run it further," Wester said in an interview with Avanza. "Then we were actually prepared to close the production completely. But we got a 'pitch' that we thought was convincing enough to run. played on and we have very good hopes that it will be a good game that meets the players' expectations."
That was the only bit of news either, as apparently, Hardsuit Labs is no longer the development lead on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, with a "new studio partner" being brought in to finish the game. As you can tell by the quotes, the developer has not yet been named.
Interestingly, Wester seems determined to see this through until the very end for Bloodlines 2, and its performance will see whether or not Paradox does any other big AAA titles:
Moving on to new hardware seems like the natural order for video game software development, but it's something that many companies are shying away from. BioWare most recently released Mass Effect: Legendary Edition in May. But that collection didn't even get a version native to PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Instead, EA and BioWare released it only for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and then used the backward compatibility on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
A new video was leaked earlier today, showcasing 25 seconds of brand new gameplay footage from Elden Ring. Now I know this isn't much, but I'm certain that all Elden Ring fans will appreciate it as it can give them a glimpse at the game's visuals and art style. Also, and according to the leaker, this gameplay footage is from the Xbox One version. So yeah, don't expect next-gen visuals from this clip.
Lost Pilgrims Studio sends us a new patch for Vagrus: The Riven Realms, with new content, improvements and many bug fixes.
A New Build is OUT - Patch 1.01 - Codename: Outpost
We've been trying to catch up since the launch last Tuesday and get on top of some of the bugs that many of you reported while also rounding out the missing Outpost and Wealth victory path ending parts. Although some bugs are still being hunted, the latter two are now being added to Vagrus.
This means that you can now build your own outpost out in the wasteland (one specific spot for now, room for expansion later), and upgrade it bit by bit so that in the end it yields you profit from time to time if managed properly. It is important to know that no new UI or feature comes with the outpost, since Vagrus is not a game that involves building stuff - the outpost is instead presented in Event format like it was envisioned from the beginning (and similar to other victory paths). Once completed, the outpost can be used for vagri with the Wealth ambition to win the game (but can be completed with all vagri). It's super expensive to do that, mind you, giving you a nice endgame goal and challenge.
Along with this comes a list of bug fixes and adjustments. Thank you for highlighting these! Your help in identifying and squashing issues is priceless.
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