Age Of Decadence Assassin Quest Footage

By Quintin Smith on January 11th, 2011 at 1:21 pm.

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Remember Age of Decadence? Fallout-inspired indie RPG set after the fall of the Roman Empire? Kieron did an A-Grade interview with the angry developer, covering the dearth of dialogue-heavy RPGs and whether turn-based combat in RPGs was, in fact, an anachronism? Well, there’s a new gameplay trailer out. Ooh yes, I can already hear you locking and popping with excitement.

In the words of developer Vince Weller himself, “The video shows the second Assassins Guild’s quest, the game flow, a night map, fire particles for the easily amused, and the PC fighting with allies (just because you don’t have an entourage of emotionally scarred people with troubled past doesn’t mean you have to save the world all by your awesome self).”

It’s true! You may want to crank this one up to the full 720p, then you’ll be able to read all the text. Actually, if you’re really interested in Age of Decadence you’d be much better off reading the developer’s Let’s Play of his own, unreleased game. That’s certainly a way of going about things.

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74 Comments »

  1. Lars Westergren says:

    Wow, that’s quite a graphical and UI upgrade from when I last looked at it. Very much looking foward to this.

    • karry says:

      Upgrade ? Where ? Still pretty bad and obtuse.
      For instance, i dont remember a single game where i absolutely HAD to have an accessible log open each and every second. Just the last few actions in floating overlays are enough in 99% cases. Also, dialogue interface that takes an entire screen for absolutely no reason ? And a separate screen, too !

    • pipman3000 says:

      it’s harkening back to an age of bad interfaces or something. the nostalgia of fumbling with bad interfaces like makes it 100x better man

    • pipman3000 says:

      if fallout jumped off of a bridge would vince dweller do it too?

    • Dominic White says:

      Fallout was good in spite of a HUGE number of flaws. A terrible UI, poorly balanced combat, overreliance on raw chance (it was possible to be one-shotted at almost any time if you rolled badly), awful AI and more. The fact that this guy seems absolutely resolute on replicating all those flaws right down to the very last detail is just so frustrating.

      If this guy wasn’t so blinded by nostalgia, he could actually make something good. Instead, he’s an NMA clown, so obsessed with the original Fallout being gaming perfection that he has blinded himself to a great many things in desperate need of change.

    • Dominic White says:

      Fallout was good in spite of a HUGE number of flaws. A terrible UI, poorly balanced combat, overreliance on raw chance (it was possible to be one-shotted at almost any time if you rolled badly), awful AI and more. The fact that this guy seems absolutely resolute on replicating all those flaws right down to the very last detail is just so frustrating.

    • skurmedel says:

      Isn’t it a bit quick to dismiss the UI on a screenshot, only playing the game will tell you if the UI is bad or not. And I think the log was quite useful in the original Fallout. Sure it could open in it’s own window or something, but a log was useful if you happened to miss some an area description or likewise.

    • LostSoviet says:

      The guy’s name is “V. D. Weller.”

      As in “vault dweller.”

      So yeah, if Fallout jumped off a bridge, he’d be racing it to the bottom.

    • Dragatus says:

      @ Karry

      For most characters the dialogue is going to be the most important part of the game. Not only is it going to be used for speaking to people, but it will also be used for the game’s many text adventures. So it makes sense for it to occupy the entire screen.

      @ Dominic White

      Of all the Fallout flaws you name the only one that might end up in AoD is the bad interface (and even there I don’t really see what was wrong with Fallout’s). If you had played the combat demo you would’ve known that combat is excellently balanced and there is no over-reliance on raw chance. In fact outside of combat there will be no random rolls at all. There will be a lot of skill checks, but they won’t be rolls. Instead your skill will have to be equal or higher than a predetermined number, no luck involved.

    • poop says:

      ugh, black dynamite is such a nostalgia fest, when will this idiot realise that the films of michael bay, and possibly james cameron, are the only way to produce an action movie these days! – rps comment thread

    • poop says:

      ugh, serious sam is such a nostalgia fest, when will this idiot realise that games like Halo, and possibly Call of Duty, are the only way to produce a FPS these days! – rps comment thread

    • Basilard says:

      What are you talking about? The developers obviosly don’t want to make a dumbed down console RPG. This is a “PC game” through and through!

    • Kamos says:

      I don’t get why people complain so much about this game. Yeah the UI and graphics are not AAA, but I don’t see people whine this much about other indie games. Is this just hate for the guy in charge of AoD?

  2. Nameless1 says:

    My wallet has been ready for ages.
    Hope I can open it soon. :)

  3. RaytraceRat says:

    Wow, I remember reading about this game 2 years ago or so. I’m glad its still going, I really miss those good old turn based RPGs.
    The things I don’t like are those Heavy Machinegun Crossbows and that you need to stab someone 500times before he dies.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      I like to imagine the crossbow dudes doing this between each and every shot.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      or they got a hamster in a wheel under the crossbow that runs really really fast and helps to reload.

    • Dragatus says:

      Hit points in Age of Decadence will range from 25 to 55 so no need to worry about having to stab 500 times.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      Hey, thanks for reply. I know I exaggerated with those 500 times, but in that video combat looks really tedious. Those guys were hit for about 2-5 damage with each hit, having to stab someone 10 times or shoot someone in the face 10 times before he dies is a bit much in my opinion.

    • Dragatus says:

      Those guys were Imperial Guards so they have above average Constitution scores and they’re using heavy armor. Your run of the mill bandit is going to go down much faster.

      If you’re worried about the combat I’d recommend trying the combat demo they realeased a year ago. You can get it here: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,1259.0.html

  4. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    I was a bit disappointed with last year’s combat demo, so I’m hoping the game has improved since then.

    Still, I will probably buy it anyway when it comes out in 2014.

  5. Freud says:

    Those crossbow dudes got stabbed a lot. :(

  6. Meat Circus says:

    I think it’s time that Vince D. Weller got to do another angry interview-lol. Fire up the Quinnsmobile!

    • Premium User Badge AndrewC says:

      I read this: ‘Ooh yes, I can already hear you locking and popping with excitement.’ and thought that it was a bit sarcastically dismissive.

      Then I read this: ‘fire particles for the easily amused’ and thought that, yes, these two must meet.

      Make it happen, Meat!

  7. Nny says:

    Looks like quite an upgrade from last time I saw it in motion – looking forward to this :).

  8. JackShandy says:

    Man, I only just saw that interview and comments thread. Vince doesn’t mind speaking his mind, does he? Those RPG codex fella’s grab my goat, they really do. I just kind of hate people championing the fallacy of “Either you enjoy these deep, strategic, hardcore games, or you are a casual gamer who only wants to see things blow up real good.” It’s not zero-sum. I’m allowed to enjoy Dwarf Fortress and Just Cause. Games can have both depth and accessibility.

    But, better not drag up arguments from lost aeons. I hope the percentage of dialogue-to-combat in this trailer doesn’t reflect the game. Combat in RPG’s has always just been a way to make the world seem dangerous for me – as apposed to the friendly nature of adventure games, you see. I like the tension that threat of saying the wrong thing and turning people hostile adds to conversations more than I do the actual combat itself.

    • Pijama says:

      Nononononono. It has to be brought back whenever possible. While I strongly agree with the fact that by pleasing the lowest common denominator we don’t go anywhere with gaming, I also loathe the stance that “OR YOU PLAY THIS WAY OR YOU ARE THE SCUM OF THE EARTH NO EXCUSES” pseudo-avant-garde attitude that is as negative (or even worse) to it.

      Elitism doesn’t help anyone. You CAN, actually, make a deep, sophisticated and compelling game without giving up accessibility and smooth gameplay.

    • Dragatus says:

      The ratio between dialogue and combat will depend on which faction you join and what kind of character you are playing. The Imperial Guards will probably be combat heavy, but if you play a merchant you’ll get much more text than fighting, maybe even pure text without any actual combat.

    • Voidy says:

      but if you play a merchant you’ll get much more text than fighting, maybe even pure text without any actual combat.

      I don’t mean to troll, my good man, but is there anything in the game besides combat and text?

    • Dragatus says:

      I reckon there’s got to also be some moving from point A to point B. ;)

      Age of Decadence is going to be text heavy, that’s a fact. So obviously it’s pretty niche. But those of us in it’s primary target audience are going to be extatic about it.

      What Vince & co are doing is putting the roleplaying back into RPG. It’s going to be fairly short (estimates are about 25 hours for one playthrough), but it’s being made with replayability in mid. In fact you have to replay it several times with different characters if you want to get the full story. Let’s look at an example.

      The primary plot of Teron, the first city, is a coup attempt by the Imperial Guard. If you join the IG you’ll be working towards that goal. A coup is bad for business however, so if you’re a merchant you will hire the assassin’s guild to kill the local leader of the Imperial Guard. And if you’re playing an assassin you’re the one performing the assassination and this video shows the consequences.

      Further every quest will have multiple ways to solve it, based on your skills. For example let’s say you’re an assassin doing the assassination of the IG commander. After the guy is dead a bunch of guards will start looking for the assassin who did it and the default outcome is that you’ve got to fight them. But in addition to a Critical Strike & Daggers assassin you can also play a Disguise & Alchemy assassin. And if you do you can disguise yourself and persuade the guards that burst into your room that you’re a harmless merhcant and that the assassins went that way.

    • jeremypeel says:

      ‘It’s going to be fairly short (estimates are about 25 hours for one playthrough), but it’s being made with replayability in mid. In fact you have to replay it several times with different characters if you want to get the full story.’

      THIS is what I want from my RPG of the future. Give me 5 hours that are truly my own over 80 of fairly linear combat.

  9. mattfaulkner says:

    Sadly this, like so many other RPGs, seems plagued by horribly underpowered weapons which make combat seem very tedious. One of those guards has taken 10+ crossbow bolts from point blank range and is still fighting. And the other crossbow dude gets stabbed at least as many times and is seen to be wearing something like a cotton shirt, which absorbs almost half the damage.

    I wouldn’t mind playing a system where one or two good hits are enough to take most guys (even the player character) down.

    • pipman3000 says:

      but that’d make you a twitchy action loving kiddy who can’t stand/lacks the patience for true tactical rpg combat (stabbing a dude 100 times until he finally dies).

    • mattfaulkner says:

      Yes, a true chess tactician for example would assign 20 hitpoints for every pawn (-1hp per hit), that’s when strategic thinking begins to shine!

    • The Hammer says:

      That’s exactly what I’m thinking. But it doesn’t seem that anyone can do that in a satisfying way in a graphics-based RPG.

    • RQH says:

      I know. I don’t object to turn-based combat. I think it provides a unique opportunity to approach combat design differently from action-based games. You’d think using turn-based combat would allow you to amp up the importance of each individual move (as in mattfaulkner’s example of chess), since you need worry less about players feeling punished by not being twitchy enough to react quickly, or by failures of the game engine to respond well to inputs (for an example of the concessions that need to be made to a real-time combat system under particular circumstances to make it “fair”, see World of Warcraft, whose combat is designed to have breaks in it (general cooldowns) to slow it down so that Players don’t have a lag spike and end up instantly dead.)

    • Chris D says:

      This is a tricky one to get right. Basically if you have enough men on each side then one hit kills are fine because it all evens out in the wash (mostly, there’s always that one time when the dice just turn on you). Trying to represent combat between smaller groups is harder as one bad hit takes out a third of your force and luck becomes more of a factor.

      If the game is about your army then you can soak up losses. If the focus is on you and your three mates then not so much. Basically the less pieces you have the more durable you need those pieces to be.

      It’s true you can go down the chess route and remove all luck and rely on maneuvering to decide who gets to kill but then whatever you end up with is going to look a lot like chess. Also you still have the problem of numbers, imagine playing a game of chess with five pieces each. Not all that interesting.

      Hit points are kind of a fudge solution but to my knowledge no one has really been able to come up with anything better. Some kind of critical hit system might work, woth effects varying from disarming or disabling up to instant death is a possible alternative but runs the risk of black knight syndrome: spending ten turns shuffling around the board trying to bite your opponents legs off because that’s all you have left.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      I think you’re right. It’s really hard to get that sweet stop between chance and tactics in small scale combat. Long time ago I tried to design a small skirmish combat system, and I ended up thinking I should simulate movement of every limb to make it good :D
      But this combat system takes it way too far in my opinion. What’s the point of having a ranged weapon if everyone can take tons of hits and come close to kill you with their swords? Why even bother with stabbing someone in the back with the sword if all they do is say “ouch” and keep on fighting ?

    • Fumarole says:

      I’ve always thought that the combat in the White Wolf game Mage: The Ascension was done rather well, which I found surprising as the game was not very much about combat at all.

    • Chris D says:

      @RaytraceRat

      “What’s the point of having a ranged weapon if everyone can take tons of hits and come close to kill you with their swords?”

      Hence the emergence of the tank in MMO’s. Hitpoints work reasonably well for modelling low impact weapons(A fistfight) or heavy armour (assuming damage is done by blunt trauma) but throw up all kinds of oddities with everything else.

      The problem with ranged weapons in particular is that if you make them too powerful( and only have a few combatants) then one unlucky hit roll can change the course of the fight and it all becomes a bit of a lottery. It’s possible to find a balance for a particular fight but finding one that covers a broad range of possibilities isn’t easy

      @Fumarole

      What was it about Mage you particularly liked? I had a copy of Mage once but it’s been a while and the details escape me. I do remember liking the White Wolf system in general, though.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      Chris: yea, I’m aware of that problem with ranged weapons. But in this video ranged weapon (a crossbow, which was really, really powerful medieval weapon) is everything but overpowered.

    • Dragatus says:

      There’s been a combat demo of Age of Decadence out for over a year. You gentlemen might want to give it a try and see for yourself what the combat is really like.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      that sound like the best idea good sir!

    • Dragatus says:

      For those interested in the combat demo, here is a link: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,1259.0.html

    • Reapy says:

      Tried the combat demo, I guess I missed this one. I really do prefer turn based rpg combat over real time. I enjoyed dragon age but the combat in it almost felt mmo like at times, and I’m sort of sick of that model, I could go a life time without seeing the word agro or hate ever again and be pretty happy.

      Anyway, sorta neat combat demo and game. I hope they remember to include some modern features in the game. The log provides a nice read about hit results, but I think over time it would get tedious. I found my eyes had to go from the action down to read the log for results, and I really dislike when a game has my eyes ping ponging all over the screen.

      Some other stuff like letting me know the movement cost per square, or if I click on a place to move, either trace the path or tell me how many AP I have left over. Also on the selection menu for my attack options let me know how much AP /damage it does rather than having to click each one. Easy to identify in time, but if characters eventually have stats that modify their values it might not be easy to remember.

      Anyway that is UI stuff. The combat here is sort of interesting, but again it really isn’t anything that hasn’t been done well before. I suspect this game will be more about the story though, and maybe not all about combat and there is just enough here to keep it interesting, eh.

    • Kamos says:

      Tactical RPG combat does not require low lethality. There are quite a few pen ‘n paper simulationist rpg systems where you can drop an enemy with one strike.

      There are one gazillion new interesting ideas in modern pnp RPGs, but CRPGs are frozen in time, following exclusively the model of the dungeon crawl games of aeons ago.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      There are quite a few pen ‘n paper simulationist rpg systems where you can drop an enemy with one strike.

      Ooh, which ones? I’ve had trouble finding good simulationist RPGs.

  10. WJonathan says:

    Hmmm turn-based pop-locking. That would be like downloading a robot video over dialup.

  11. utharda says:

    Honestly all I can say is I’m looking forward to this title more than anything else on the horizon. What Vince is doing with iron tower, gives me hope that pc gaming can get back some of what’s been lost over the past 10 to 15 years. Its been too long since I’ve had a real challenge. I have to blame garriot. Pretty much every RPG since Ultima underworld came out has been easy enough to faceroll.

    (I miss wizardry, that was a hell of a series.)

  12. Horza says:

    For some reason I haven’t been too impressed with this one so far. And I love old turn-based RPGs.

    Interesting to see how it turns out anyway.

  13. FhnuZoag says:

    Well, the combat system looks just as tedious and shallow as it did the last time round. In the end, my rule of thumb with this game is that if I look at that, and there’s no other strategy that I can concieve of other than what the demo is doing, then the combat system just isn’t interesting. All we’ve seen of this game ever are two guys standing in place trading blows. If the game doesn’t provide me with meaningful options that are worth considering, then I’m just watching a very long and repetitive cutscene where I have to click ‘normal attack’ every minute or so.

    This philosophy seems to continue to the dialogue. Pages after pages of text, with no options! I hope this isn’t representative.

    • Dragatus says:

      Have you tried the combat demo that came out about a year ago? I can assure you that the combat provides many interesting options beyond using “normal attack”. Here’s a link: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,1259.0.html

      As for the text, there will be plenty of choices to make and they’ll have proper consequences. This was a pretty starightforward mission (some dudes are coming to kill us, let’s fight) but even this presented the player with a choice between agreeing to take part in the retaliation and coping out.

      If you want to know more click that last link to the Let’s Play on RPG Watch.

  14. skyturnedred says:

    If it’s still an option to play through the game without ever fighting, I will definately go for it. That combat just seems too tedious.

  15. Archonsod says:

    I reckon the key problem with the title is Vince has got so wrapped up in the system he’s forgotten to include any game, which tends to be a much more vital component.

    Although ironically, one could say that having to click to stab some guy 100 times before he goes down is identical to Diablo, except Diablo does away with that inconvenience of having to hit a next turn button after every ten stabs.

    • PUKED says:

      “wrapped up in the system” pretty much sums up the problem with the rpgcodex and the other dank places the VDwellers of the world come from. All they seem to want is a primitive gui wrapped around a tabletop rpg and a non-linear story, anything else is pearls before swine.

    • Nick says:

      “I reckon the key problem with the title is Vince has got so wrapped up in the system he’s forgotten to include any game”

      What?

    • bhlaab says:

      Sounds like you’re on the inside track

    • Tuco says:

      “I reckon the key problem with the title is Vince has got so wrapped up in the system he’s forgotten to include any game”

      What the hell are you blabbing about?

  16. RadioactiveMan says:

    Age of Decadence makes me think of… Iron Tower!
    Iron Tower makes me think of… Dead State!
    Lack of release date for Dead State makes me…. sad.
    (approach of AOD release makes me hopeful for Dead State news)

  17. grasskit says:

    must everything be simplified and streamlined these days then?
    theyre going for fallout ui because of nostalgic and retro, not because it was “the greatest ui ever”.

    • pipman3000 says:

      yeah that’s a great reason.

      i’m going to paint my house with lead paint since it’s so nostalgic and retro.

      Edit: supposed to be a reply to grasskit

      • Tetragrammaton says:

        Ok pipman and others- we get you dont like old school RPGs. There is nothing wrong with that.
        Some of us do however, enjoy this sort of game. Perhaps that is nostalgia, perhaps not. But it does not negate the fact that we do actually derive pleasure from the old war-horse of a genre.
        This is a game for those people. No one is forcing you to buy or even take interest in it. It is unlikely that this will have an effect on the games you like, as it is niche, and will remain niche.
        So can we turn down the pointless vitriol a little please?

        • DrunkDog says:

          @Tetragrammaton

          Here, here. It’s interesting that it’s been AoD that’s brought me out of lurk mode. Being an RPG-head I would have of course bought the game when it eventually came out of the trap, although it’s only RPS that reminded me that damn thing was still in development.

          After spending a bit of time perusing the forums it’s been the non-combat approach that’s really sold me. That really captures my imagination. If it’s possible to get through the whole game without engaging in fisticuffs then I think that’s rather admirable. At that point the whole thing becomes somewhat “Machiavellian” in the truest sense of the word.

  18. Acosta says:

    I can’t wait, some of the Let’s Play are pretty awesome, especially for some of the most unusual archetypes like Merchant.

  19. Jimbo says:

    That interview is nearly 3 years old. This is never coming out.

  20. thesundaybest says:

    Just playing through Dragon Age for the first time. This looks like DA, only with the David Lynch filter set to max.

  21. bhlaab says:

    Dead State has sort of been taking the spotlight recently despite this likely to be released much sooner. Glad to see it again.

  22. dethtoll says:

    I can’t even begin to describe how utterly disinterested I am in this game. Weller’s attitude just makes it worse.

  23. Vinraith says:

    This and Dead State are two games I’m buying on day 1, nevermind the fact that I’ve no time to play them. Good turn based indie RPG’s need to be encouraged wherever we may find them, they’re an endangered species after all.

  24. Voidy says:

    Their website is quietly brilliant in its own way. On the front page it features gushing praise from a person named Dicksmoker, taking the concept of self-irony to a whole new level. It doesn’t mind telling us that axe is a sharp hafted weapon that combines the power of a hammer with the cutting edge of a sword.. But the real gem is the Merchandise page:

    Imagine: you are at a party, wearing a fine AoD shirt. A hot girl walks to you and purrs in your ear: “A man who knows his RPGs is SUCH a turn on… Wanna see my room?”

    • Dragatus says:

      Where I live we call that sort of thing “humor”. And the full text under the shirt reads:
      Imagine: you are at a party, wearing a fine AoD shirt. A hot girl walks to you and purrs in your ear: “A man who knows his RPGs is SUCH a turn on… Wanna see my room?” Oh come on, guys. It can happen.

    • Miles of the Machination says:

      I’d say the phrase “Quietly brilliant” meant he wasn’t insulting it, Dragatus.