Intriguing: Old-School RPG’s Sci-Fi Fantasy World

By Nathan Grayson on October 6th, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Brenda Brathwaite and Tom Hall’s old-school RPG, Old-School RPG, has been the talk of the town lately, but – in all honesty – the town hasn’t had all that much to actually, well, talk about. The big Kickstarter reveal was fairly light on down-and-dirty details, so instead, most resorted to speculation. Others to flat-out making things up. And still others to crime. Now, though, Loot Drop’s dropped something worth holding onto – namely, a fairly sizable helping of plot/world details.

In short, it’s a potentially fascinating blend of sci-fi and fantasy. These bits, especially, have me excitedly pondering the possibilities:

“James Connelly works for Shaker, a Bridge corporation between time and worlds. Depending on the job he – or any of Shaker’s 400 employees – can be anyone you want them to be.  Human warrior? Done. Cyborg Psionic, also done.”

“Officially, Connelly was a resident of the Bridge, but he spent so much time away from it that the concept of residence and permanence had lost its meaning over time. He lived out of a locker at Shaker, storing only his most important mementos there — family heirlooms, a couple of gifts from post-jobs. He slept in rooms usually assigned to other Shaker employees destined for imminent departure. His family, a wife and two kids, residents of Barrow, would visit him when they could.”

Interesting class system and crazy speculative fiction psychological issues? If you look up my alley on a map, you’ll actually find it right at the intersection between Interesting Class System St and Crazy Speculative Fiction Psychological Issues Avenue. So those elements of Old-School RPG seem right up it.

Ultimately, the plot will end up focusing on Connelly’s trials and tribulations when he gets stranded on Antera, a “medieval, barely developed planet.” Or at least, that’ll be the case until the (at this point in the Kickstarter process, still theoretical) second, interlinked game comes out. That one will hand the spotlight over to Darien Cole, delving into the talented young operative’s mission-gone-gruesomely-wrong on a world called Tenerus.

There’s a short story on the Kickstarter page that introduces Cole’s tale if you’re interested in giving it a read. It’s a bit jargony, but promising nonetheless. Granted, none of this will matter a lick if the game ends up worlds away from being fun, so hopefully we’ll find out more about how it’ll actually work soon. Until then, I really hope it’s official in-game canon that – at one point – Shaker had a corporate rival called Mover, which it ultimately bought out. I mean, it only seems natural, you know?

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116 Comments »

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  1. Prime says:

    Sounds bloody brilliant! :)

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      Revisor says:

      It does, but they should still release a lot more information about the game. The other Kickstarter gaming projects are on a much higher level.

      Pitch + Prototype + Pedigree = Succesful KS project. Of those three they only have pedigree so far.

      • karthink says:

        More like pitch, prototype, pedigree: Pick any two for a successful kickstarter.

    • bonesbro says:

      This sounds pretty much precisely like the setting of the Acts of Caine novels by Matthew Woodring Stover: http://www.amazon.com/Heroes-Die-Matthew-Woodring-Stover/dp/0345421450. Dystopian future Earth, a mega corporation that controls a bridge system to a medieval planet with magic and elves and shit.

      The novels, by the way, were bloody good.

      • Grey Ganado says:

        My first thought was The Longest Journey but they didn’t have a corporation in charge of the bridge.

      • Noodlemonk says:

        Oh, shiny things! Is it any good that book?

        • Werthead says:

          I haven’t read this particular series (mainly because the second novel is impossible to get hold of without selling a kidney) but Matt Stover is the single greatest writer ever to work on anything with the STAR WARS name on it, bar none (his novel TRAITOR is the closest STAR WARS ever has or will likely ever get to literature, whilst still including badass lightsabre battles). Definitely a name that commands respect in the SFF community.

          • Noodlemonk says:

            I’m intrigued! Your thoughts are much appreciated in these dark days of dire needs of proper reading of …

            Anyway, thank you.

          • malkav11 says:

            What’s hilarious about that is that I got into the series with the second book (Blade of Tyshalle) because there were eighty billion copies floating around the bargain section of my local Barnes and Noble several years back. But it was years before I could lay my hands on a copy of the first book (Heroes Die), which was out of print and impossible to find.

            BTW, Kindle version of Blade of Tyshalle for $8: here.

            They’re very very dark and the protagonist, Caine, is a pretty far cry from a hero, but well worth reading.

    • Nibblet says:

      I actually find this downright insulting.
      Brenda Brathwaite’s first decision upon being promoted to producer at sirtech (after primarely making manuals) was to stop the production of Wizardry 8 infavor of the shitty druid adventure because she felt it would reach a wider audience.
      Sirtech went under not long after that was released (gee who’d a thunk it).
      Her only real “claim to fame” was making the very inferior wizardry 8 after Sirtech tanked alongside 6 other developers.
      Since then she has been focused on the casuals market and has been making facebook games for years now .
      The less said about John “im gonna make you my bitch” Romero the better.
      At best this is a blatant cashgrab and hearing theese proven failures blather on about their rpg values when they were among the first and most vocal developers to advocate dumbing down games to reach a wider audience is pretty rage inducing.
      No idea what Tom Hall is thinking teaming up with theese two. Guess he has bills to pay.
      Also kinda funny how they cant even maintain appearances during their sales pitch when listing the features of their “old school” rpg with set characters etc.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Seriously, it’s posts like this that make me scroll straight to comments.

        • Caiman says:

          Invalidated by calling Wizardry 8 inferior. Having played nearly all of them since the start, I tell you this man speaks nonsense.

          • botonjim says:

            Pretty much. Wizardry 8 was rather great.

          • Wulf says:

            Indubitably. Wizardry 8 was the most fun I had with that series, and I just found it an impenetrable thing until the latter trilogy to begin with. But 8 was pretty fun. And it had a talking spaceship in a fantasy setting, which I am completely okay with.

      • ulix says:

        What I find funny/strange/worrying/impudent is that the pitch video and text includes bragging about the Realms of Arkania (Das Schwarze Auge: Nordland-Trilogie) series, when it was developed completely in Germany by a German team.

        What did she actually have to do with it? Don’t think she speaks German, so it couldn’t have been the translation… anyone know more about it?

        She probably “produced” the localized English version. Wow, Brenda, great. That really is something to brag about…

      • Yosharian says:

        What a load of shit.

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    RedViv says:

    Granting us insight into this might have prevented a bit of the early snark, myself thinks.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      One concurs.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      i doubt it existed. it seems rather hastily slapped together as a response to the criticism.

    • Acorino says:

      Meh, I had no problem pledging for Double Fine Adventure without any insight at all. The vague promise of the Old School RPG Kickstarter was good enough for me, too.

  3. Yosharian says:

    Oooh this is interesting, I’m just not sure from a gameplay/game systems perspective how this thing will work. With the Obsidian project I have a firm grounding in the Infinity Engine and D&D, so I know what I’m getting into. With this project, I don’t have that same experience with the old First-Person rpgs (never played them) so I’m just not sure what to expect.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Think of a game with the exploration and conversation of a Bethesda RPG with the combat of a Final Fantasy game. Then think what they would be like if instead of being made for the patience levels and tastes of the console market they were made for the early adopters of the first home computers.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Final Fantasy requires tons of patience. I can’t think of a game that needs more.

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          Dilapinated says:

          Possibly World of Warcraft, but yeah, I can’t really think of many that aren’t grindy MMOs.

          That’s what always put me off Final Fantasy. The boss fights were intense/hair pulling, and the characters/plot sometimes really grabbed me, but it felt like the story was being eked out crumb by crumb, interspersed with some of the most boring gameplay I’d come across the rest of the time.

          So.. Yeah. Console =/= lack of patience. See also Animal Crossing, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Disgaea, Shadow of the Colossus, for more examples.

        • Cinnamon says:

          Final Fantasy takes time but you can play it while watching the TV, it doesn’t really need your full attention.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Which seems like a bad thing to me. I mean, you want your games to be good enough so they’re worth your full attention, right?

            Well, unless it’s some flash game you play to bide the time or something.

    • Urfin says:

      The combat in such games was generally more primitive than isometric RPGs; story-wise, I’d say the Infinity engine games were better and quite a bit more mature. But there was more than one overall masterpiece among first-person RPGs, so genre-wise they work. And these people really are bloody experienced, and did work on a lot of landmark stuff. And frankly, I’d rather take devs who had really painful fuckups over those that just made a hit or two.

  4. mckertis says:

    Vaguely Anachronox-ish.

  5. Wizardry says:

    Sounds pretty rubbish. Are they honestly telling you what characters you’re going to play as? It sounds far more like Anachronox than it does Wizardry 8.

    The first game brings you to The Bridge and then to Antera in the role of James Connelly. The second game, set on Tenerus, expands on this universe and story with Darien Cole.

    Hmm. Thanks for telling me what roles to play in a role-playing game.

    • apocraphyn says:

      I agree, does sound rather odd to propose an “old-school RPG” and then define the prospective roles before the game has even started development.

      Are you interested in this project at all, Wizardry? And what are your feelings towards the Obsidian project?

      • Wizardry says:

        I was kind of interested before I realised they were going to JRPG route (Anachronox) instead of the CRPG route (Wizardry).

        Regarding the Obsidian Kickstarter, it’s more of a “wait and see” for me. I’m not much of a fan of their previous games, and a number of decisions they have made so far are extremely disappointing. But I did like some of the Infinity Engine games, if only for their D&D combat, so if they can somehow come up with an interesting tactical combat system with their game it might just be able to provide some fun. I’m more looking forward to Chaos Chronicles (not a Kickstarter) and Wasteland 2 right now.

        • mouton says:

          You must be from that Codex place thing.

          On more serious tone, please do not equate western games with JRPGs. There is much more at play there than just mechanics.

        • InternetBatman says:

          They do go into tactics a bit more in today’s update. They’re using magic based on cooldowns on spell level, which change relative to the mage’s level. You have to memorize spells, but you can switch books for a significant time penalty. They want to do Dragon Age style spell combinations.

          It uses op-attacks, flanking, and charging too.

          http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61129-reddit-qa-part-2-with-tim-cain/

    • DrGonzo says:

      Agreed, but thank god Anachronox is far better than Wizardry 8.

      I’d also like to add ‘Old School RPG’ can mean a lot of things. Not your narrow minded view of them.

      • mouton says:

        Especially since the term “RPG” doesn’t really mean anything.

      • Wizardry says:

        Wizardry 8 would still have been a superior RPG even if it had twice the number of combat encounters and half the animation speed as it ended up having.

        • Lemming says:

          As I understood it they are KSing a new Wizardy game, so… play that instead?

          • Wizardry says:

            Have I missed something?

          • Lemming says:

            Nevermind, it turns out this is it. Which is weird, because I’m sure I read something about creating a party from scratch.

    • Vinraith says:

      I have to agree that calling a game “Old-School RPG” and then building it on that most current-school of tropes (predefined character with predefined background and heavy story focus) is an exceedingly strange thing to do.

      It may or may not turn out to be an interesting game of its own type, of course, but it’s anything but an “old-school RPG.” Given the name, that’s pretty disappointing in and of itself. It’s even more disappointing that it’s such an interesting sounding world, and rather than being allowed to explore it I’ll be forced to take the guided tour.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I think the market for “old school” games is people who weren’t actually playing the first time ’round, or have since had pieces of industrial equipment embedded in their skulls.

        It’s the only explanation I can find for why so many people called Hard Reset or Duke Nukem Forever “old school”.

        • Lawful Evil says:

          Surely a Ph.D. should be capable of a more insightful analysis of todays market than the one you just gave? Especially given the broad conclusions about people and their possible personalities?

          • LionsPhil says:

            Not on a Saturday, no. Yourself?

          • Lawful Evil says:

            @LionsPhil: Ah yes, silly me, it’s saturday! *goes to rest his exhausted mind*

            EDIT: I see no use of insulting people, even vaguely, so I feel the need to apologise. I also haven’t come to this site to give lectures on ethics and what not, so…

      • Supahewok says:

        “I have to agree that calling a game “Old-School RPG” and then building it on that most current-school of tropes (predefined character with predefined background and heavy story focus) is an exceedingly strange thing to do.”

        Tom Hall’s Anachronox was released over 10 years ago and had all those things. People loved it. If they are making another RPG with the same amount of wit and charm I will be a very happy man.

        • Mordsung says:

          I don’t think most people are thinking 10 years ago when they hear old-school.

          They’re thinking more 15-20 years ago.

          • Vinraith says:

            Exactly. There’s nothing “old-school” about a game from the 2000’s.

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t know, given how these conversations often go, I’m almost convinced what people mean by “old-school” is “how things were when *I* was young”.

            Which creates interesting misunderstandings.

          • Caiman says:

            It’s pointless to use fixed time scales when the rate of change between your points of reference can be so variable. Using a PC from 10 years ago would be pretty darn old school. Driving a car from 10 years ago, not so much. Given the difference between PC games now and those I was playing 10 years ago, I’d have no problem calling them old school. They were riffing on older gameplay styles anyway, making their true heritage considerably older.

          • BooleanBob says:

            I use a PC from 10 years ago. Which I bought when I was still at school! Which, yes, makes me feel old.

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        Thirith says:

        I have to agree that calling a game “Old-School RPG” and then building it on that most current-school of tropes (predefined character with predefined background and heavy story focus) is an exceedingly strange thing to do.

        Then again, Final Fantasy has been doing that sort of thing for, what, 15 years? In addition, apart from the avatar who was more of a blank than a true customisable character, the Ultima games from U6 onwards used pre-defined companions and had a heavy story focus. There isn’t just *one* old-school.

        • Wizardry says:

          I agree. “Old school RPG” isn’t a specific type of RPG. Having said that, Brenda Brathwaite spent 18 years working at Sir-Tech, the company who made the Wizardry series, and her main credit in her career thus far is a lead designer on Wizardry 8. I guess it was more the expectations than anything else.

        • Werthead says:

          More like 25 years than 15, but correct. DUNGEON MASTER is a similar-vintage game with pre-generated characters (though you could customise them a lot, to the point of all but replacing them).

          The notion that you require the ability to create a party from scratch to be an ‘old-school’ or ‘proper’ RPG is rather limiting. Some games allow you to pre-gen a whole party, some give you characters to play and some allow you to do both (BG, PROJECT ETERNITY). Players simply need to judge games based on what they are, not on their own, rather narrow, definitions of what they think they should be.

        • ulix says:

          24 years, actually (1988, Final Fantasy II).

          Don’t think the first FF had much of a story (let alone back story of your main character) at all…

          • BooleanBob says:

            The original Final Fantasy had a storyline about – get this – time travel. Holy bleeding of genre fiction conventions, Batman!

            Seems kind of appropriate, given the material discussed in the post.

            Oh, and I think Thirith’s point was that the first FF games offered complete freedom in party creation, a la your ‘old-school’ Wizardry/Wasteland tradition, before beginning to shift toward pre-defined party composition, pre-written cutscene-led character development, etc.

            What really throws a squirrel into the works is that FF1 was build-a-party, and so was FFIII, but in FFII the party is 100% pre-defined. So the series bucks its own trend mid-evolution. With so many games coming after that followed the example II rather than I/III, however, it becomes clear that the build-a-party mechanics of those latter two titles were to prove the aberration, not the rule.

            Personally if I could have chosen any ‘old-school’ mechanic for the games to move away from, it would have been random battles.

          • Wizardry says:

            If by “random battles” you mean battles that just pop up without being able to see the enemies in front of you, they are kind of funny because they never actually were a result of technical limitations. Akalabeth, effectively Ultima 0, came out in around late 1979 and 1980. It had no “pop up” battles. Ultima 1 and 2 also had no pop up battles. Ultima 3, for some reason, did have pop up battles in the first-person view dungeons, but not on land. The rest of the series had none. Wizardry, on the other hand, did have pop up battles for a long, long time, as did many of its clones, but the fact that the Ultima games and, later, Dungeon Master could do first person without enemies popping up kind of makes you think it was all just a feature.

            Having said that, sometimes pop up battles, due to its abstraction, can actually be a good idea when tied to solid fundamental game mechanics. For example, you can have skills in awareness or various senses that could alert you to upcoming battles. Alternatively, take something like the random encounters that happen when travelling the wasteland in Fallout. They work because they are tied to the outdoorsman skill, a skill that changes the ratio of good encounters to bad encounters. If, in Fallout, you could see little markers on the screen indicating random encounters moving towards you for you to dodge to avoid then it would seem like more of a silly mini-game.

    • Caiman says:

      Well it’s a little bit confusing, because it very clearly states twice in the main description that you create up to 4 characters and then go and explore. Yet the story mentions you doing things “in the role of” a character. I think we need more information on exactly how you’ll create your characters, what freedom you have etc. The pitch implies that you have total freedom, but they need to clarify whether one of the characters is pre-named, or whether you create a party in addition to a pre-named character, or something else entirely.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      So, I wonder. What is your opinion of the Witcher games, then?

  6. Lee_Nox says:

    I think the real question on everyone’s lips is: “When will we see a remake of Commander Keen?”

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      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      When Tom Hall can negotiate the rights back from id (well, from Bethesda now). I’d love to see it happen, but doubt it’ ever will.

  7. mouton says:

    Less kickstarters in one month, please. I have cages at home that I have to provide for.

  8. subedii says:

    Hey, Anachronox is totally fine by me, one of my favourite RPG’s ever. Back when I first played it gave me a distinctly old-school vibe as well (and that’s not owing to the graphics). There was just something about the world design and setting that engrossed me in the way those ancient top-down RPG’s used to do. Plus it had awesome characters and humour.

    It is weird in a way that the comparisons to Anachronox keep cropping up since, one the face of it, the two plots are completely unrelated and are probably going to play completely differently as games as well. I guess it’s just that I get that same quirky vibe from what they’ve described here that I did from Anachronox. Most RPG’s focus on EPIC HEROES, not mundane workaday guys with an ordinary life who just happened to get caught up in the events of their odd setting.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Anachronox is a great example of an interesting world, character and story with an absolutely crap game on top. But the good stuff was enough to keep me playing.

      • mouton says:

        Well, that’s how it goes, many games can be poor in one area but can make it up elsewhere. For example, both Borderlands 2 and Spec Ops: The Line have mediocre core gameplay, but I played them for the graphics, music, humor, nice story (BL2) and music, terrific narrative (Spec Ops: The Line).

      • Emeraude says:

        Finally got around to playing it yesterday, and I really don’t see what the fuss is about with that game thus far (just reached the hive portion). Granted, I do think it does some interesting things in terms of mood and uses of narrative segments (I particularly liked what they did with the crippled woman at the start, made me care more for its world than anything else in the game thus far), but from a game design standpoint, I find it a rather ugly game. The constant meaningless/context-less mini games interjections is especially grating.

        • Werthead says:

          Up to the hive section, ANACHRONOX has really only teased the player with what it can do with its narrative (up to that point, the fate of Sunder is really the biggest surprise). The best stuff comes later on and especially in the ending.

          • Emeraude says:

            Well, up to be seen then, I do plan on finishing it.
            I try not to form an opinion on a game unless I feel I have exhausted what it has to offer.

            Still, thus far it’s rather lackluster (Democratus made me smirk though, I’ll admit. The whole place feels like someone was burned by Japanese corporate culture).

      • LionsPhil says:

        This post has reminded me that I should really try to put up with aformentioned gameplay again to see where the story goes, because I don’t remember getting very far.

  9. DarkFenix says:

    Meh, when I found out about Project Eternity I couldn’t throw my money at it fast enough. Reading this one it seems more like “Hey, give us some money on blind faith then we’ll think up an idea of what to do with it.” I love RPG’s, but this has done nothing to capture my interest, there’s no hook.

    In fact I’d consider there as being an anti-hook in there. “If we reach $1.9m we’ll split our resources and make two mediocre games instead of one good one.” Here’s a developer with no plan and no clue if ever there was one.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      That split idea really seems like they should’ve just gone with a second kickstarter after this one was successful… if they couldn’t just use the profits of the first and do it anyway.

      I assume at least some of the resources spent on one will overlap. E.g the game engine, setting, etc could easily be used in a second game without it just feeling like an expansion pack or something lesser.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      Perhaps you should reread their Kickstarter information then? They certainly don’t mention making mediocre games anywhere, unless my eyes are playing tricks on me.

      And what about Project Eternity? It’s Kickstarter hardly had any information available on the game the first few days, not to mention the pretty rushed stretch goals. And still, even without all the information a bunch of people just “instabacked” their Kickstarter, simply for they knew it was Obsidian’s, and they didn’t even bother to first properly inform themselves about the project prior to backing it.

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        Revisor says:

        Of the kickstarter trinity – pitch, prototype and pedigree – Project Eternity had two of them – the pitch and pedigree.

        This project has only sorta pedigree. The pitch was absolutely botched and there is no prototype, maybe not even a story and basic layout of the game system.

        That said, I still pledged the minimum, but I’m ready to go either way – cancel or increase my pledge. It depends on what they’re gonna show in the next 4 weeks.

      • Kadayi says:

        I’m with Fenix tbh. Eternity might not of shown much bar a map and some concept art, but Obsidian at least presented an outline of what they wanted to achieve in terms of the game world setting, had a model in place for how the funding would help them do that and how by hitting the stretch goals they would be able to broaden the final product. The game clearly exists on some embryonic level beyond simply the promise of delivery. With the ‘Old School’ presentation there was no real sense of that. It was all about ‘we made some great games once give us some money and well be able make another …maybe two if you pay us enough’ and details were scant Vs the repeated appeals to yesteryear nostalgia (cloth maps!, rickets!, serfdom!) as if that should automatically be enough to make you want to slap your money dick on the counter and shout ‘chop away’.

      • DarkFenix says:

        I really shouldn’t need to explicitly state that what I wrote was my personal opinion, my impression. Anyway, how many companies advertise mediocrity compared to how many companies make it? Mediocrity is just my worry (and expectation) over their apparent lack of a solid plan and the frankly insane idea to divide efforts between two projects; they’d divide their resources, both financial and human, meaning each project would only receive a fraction of the TLC one project would unless the backing far exceeded the $1.9m.

        Anyway, Revisor and Kadayi both worded my approximate thoughts much better than I could anyway so at this juncture I’ll just shut up ;)

        • Lawful Evil says:

          Certainly, you’re entitled to your opinion, and no need to explicitly say that. But… Perhaps it realiy is feasible to make a quality (not an AAA title, per se) game of the kind they intend to (if they acquire the necessary resources) with just ~ $1m. It’s just that I tend to think that you needn’t have millions and millions of $ to make a quality game, for after all, many games that had huge budgets turned mediocre, sadly.

          I guess my point is that just because, hypothetically, they would’ve split their $1.9 m to make two games doesn’t necessarily mean it would’ve resulted in making 2 mediocre games, but perhaps the result could be 2 very good games… On the other hand, by implying that 0.95 million dollars per game leads to disaster I believe you make a wrong assumption, that is all. No harm meant really, I’m just curious at some altitudes when certain things are in question, and how those altitudes could be right or wrong.

          EDIT: I understand that splitting limited resources to two projects, instead on one, might be a bad idea, but perhaps those resources are enough?

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Also it seems like many resources would be “shared” so it isn’t actually like making two games, but one game twice as big?

          • Kadayi says:

            It’s not about leading to disaster it’s about possessing a degree of depth. With Eternity the stretch goals are all about adding more content to the base game and rounding out the game world. With Old School it’s about funding another title. Those are very different things when you get down to it.

            I’d rather have one game where a quest is about saving the villagers trapped in a mine, and then discovering that they’ve accidentally opened a portal to another dimension whose inhabitants are now hellbent on conquering ours and being able to deal with the situation in a number of ways, Vs two games where I just get quests to go kill 10 rats/bugbears/Kolbolds.

    • NathanH says:

      They’re never going to reach the two-game target, so it’s not worth being worried about.

      But even if they did, the target is approximately double the level they’re asking for to make one game, so making two games doesn’t sound particularly unreasonable at that level.

  10. Hoaxfish says:

    I get the feeling they’re heading down the “fantasy, but it was sci-fi all along” that hangs around as a common “twist” in books/games.

    You know where you have dragons and elves and whatever, and then there’re full-blown robots in there as well (but not a global/planet wide technological civilisation, or a blend like Shadowrun). I think Wizardry (at least Wizardry 8) had some stuff along those lines.

    Of course it’s fairly nice to see it out in the open, rather than “turns out Sauron was an alien space robot, and humans are descended from crash astronauts” in the last chapter.

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      Rise / Run says:

      No, man, you’ve got it all wrong. Fantasy is when there’s good and there’s evil, and you know em when you see em. Sci-fi is when there’s grey and there’s that other grey, and man is it hard to tell the difference.

      e.g. Star Wars was pure fantasy. Just with lazers.

      (that said, the “twist” you’re is about as rewarding as a through the looking glass style “and then alice woke up”)

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        Dilapinated says:

        Can’t tell if trolling. *twitch*

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I’ve never felt the idea, as a twist, or even the simple blending of the two elements is that great. It just seems to dilute the whole experience in terms of the world-building.

        As to definitions, I like to go with “Sci-fi is the future that could happen, Fantasy is the past that never did”

      • Createx says:

        Game of Thrones is firmly Science Fiction then, I just knew everybody else was wrong!

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Sci-fi should have something to do with science. Not just space because you learned about space in science class…

        Star Wars- not really sci-fi… more like space opera…
        Andromeda Strain= sci-fi

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          Rise / Run says:

          @Dilapinated: sorry, just being silly, though half-serious — classic sci fi certainly deals with dystopia or morally ambiguous chars and situations far more often (and with more ability) than classic fantasy. More recent “imaginative literature” does a much better job with the grey, though it is also much more likely to have a blend of scifi and fantasy elements (as Hoaxfish said though, it’s annoying when it’s done as a twist)

          @Sparkasaurusmex: Yeah, Star Wars is good-ole-pulpy space opera through and through, but it’s basically a standard Fantasy romp. Stop me when this sounds familliar: young orphan from farming community is befriended by wandering wizard, realizes he comes from noble/magical lineage and/or is part of a prophesy, goes on to take down evil empire run by a Dark Wizard (with the help of a wise-cracking side-kick thief). That, and go watch The Hidden Fortress sometime.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I agree. I didn’t mean to counter that Star Wars is fantasy just reiterating that it’s not sci-fi. (I like the way it sounds when I type)

  11. skinlo says:

    Hmm, will be interesting to see if they reach their target. Often the big rush is at the beginning, and they’ve only got around 1/10th of the money they need so far. I reckon they’ll stop at around 600k.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Lacero says:

    I assume there’s no screenshot/mockup yet? That’s my main problem with project eternity right now too.

    Are we talking old school as in legends of valour? Dungeon Keeper? Baldur’s Gate?
    Anachronox? Wizardry? Zelda?

    At least I know ProjectEternity will have drawn background maps like BG.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Probably the worst thing for them is that they sound like they’re describing Legend of Grimrock (first person, 4 characters, etc)… which is obviously already out and well received (and on sale, and with a map editor). People can simply buy that rather than put money on a vague project.

      There are clear differences in the story, but not for the actual gameplay. Namedropping Wizardry does point towards a slightly different game, but the obvious assumption is that people have played Wizardry enough to know that.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    LEVEL UP:
    You have gained [SHORT PANTS AND CAP]
    +2 to spitballs

  14. Flip|Jay says:

    Woot woot for jargony short story! That’s my Saturday night saved!

  15. Calabi says:

    This is sounding better than the Obsidian Infinity concept.

  16. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Tom Hall is a very sympathetic character and he has made som great designs over the years. I’m backing his project.

  17. kud13 says:

    “ltimately, the plot will end up focusing on Connelly’s trials and tribulations when he gets stranded on Antera, a “medieval, barely developed planet.” Or at least, that’ll be the case until the (at this point in the Kickstarter process, still theoretical) second, interlinked game comes out. That one will hand the spotlight over to Darien Cole, delving into the talented young operative’s mission-gone-gruesomely-wrong on a world called Tenerus”

    hmm, what does this remind me of?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_to_Be_a_God

  18. Stackler says:

    I really don’t want to hate on Tom and Brendas project, but the point that makes this whole thing annoying for me, is the godfather of fucking stuff up and alltime bigmouth, Mr. John Romero. I absolutely despise this arrogant idiot and I’d never buy a game he had a part in… only when he is the antagonist and you can shove a BFG up his ass and blow this prick to pieces. Make that game and I will kickstart it.

    • dE says:

      While the idea of seeing John Romero on the project, doesn’t instill me with faith, I have to wonder, what else but the whole Daikatana deal has he done to warrant this much hatred for his person? Yeah he has made some mistakes, but he can’t be blamed for all the staffs failings at the time. Even if, do you know how long ago that happened? And some folks are still holding a grudge?

      • Stackler says:

        I’m not really holding a grudge. I always was thinking that Romero may be a very good programmer, but that’s it. He is NOT a game designer. Every project he had the lead designer position, bombed. Just look up his wikipedia page and look at his track record. He runs from company to company, “co-founds” some of them, just to leave them months later, god knows why.

        In my opition, he is just a bigmouth and he was, is and always will be an arrogant schmuck. His successfull time at id Software is NOT his merit, because there are a lot more talented people than him. Every endeavour he started alone went down the drain and he STILL thinks we all are “his bitch” and we “suck it down”.

        So yeah, maybe I lied. It is a grudge. I just can’t stand all these dickheads in this industry. As soon as I saw him in the video, they lost me.

        • Kadayi says:

          I believe that he’s married/engaged to Brenda and is a joint partner in Loot drop with her and Tom. Like the other guy said though, move on already. I mean jez are you still grinding an axe for Pete Molyneux over Fable 1 as well? These people make games, they’re not arms dealers or war criminals. Villifying a guy for stuff that happened over ten years ago is kind of insane tbh. No one died because Daikatana didn’t set the world alight.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    I think it’s about time to move on from the Romero hate. It was 2000 that Daikatana was released. The guys released another ten or so titles since then and done his time in wilds of casual games. There are plenty of other designer-figureheads far more worthy of your contempt at this point.

  20. Stackler says:

    I just don’t think Romero has what it takes to be a game designer. He is a brilliant programmer, yes, but I don’t think all these shitty “social” games he worked on, are the olymp of game design. He promises too much and delivers nothing. You can’t compare him and, for example, Peter Molyneux. The first is a smacktalking prick, the second one is a guy with too much ambition to get it all into his games.

    Also, Romero was 30 when he started his Daikatana flop and his insulting “marketing” campaign. This guy behaved like a 12 year old and I don’t think much has changed since then.

    But well, who knows. I just can’t understand how gamers are so fast to forget insulting, lying and disillusional developers and publishers. No wonder the industry produces so much crap. Just look at this list of gaming industry dickheads:

    John Romero: Wastes 10 years doing nothing but social games, after he insulted 90% of his fanbase 15 years ago.
    Bobby Kotick: EA president. Enough said.
    Yves Guillemot: Thinks Ubisoft games only sell bad because 90% of pc gamers are pirates.
    Phil Fish:Needed 4 years for his threedimensional “I am soooooo hipster” indie plattformer Fez and still thinks he is the shit. Just watch “Indie game: the movie” and after that you want to jump with a boot in his face, trust me. This guy is mental and he LOOKS like it.
    George Broussard: Father of the biggest running gag of gaming history.
    John Smedley: Fucked up Star Wars Galaxies with the NGE even MORE, although it was already fucked up.
    Bioware: The whole company is so moronic, even the founders are now pissing off after they steered it into the shit. Every game is the same formula: Hero goes and seeks companions and after he babysitted them and solved their problems, they all kick the bad guys ass. Very creative, really.

    I am a very forgiving guy, most of the time. I even trust companies after they disappointed me, as long as they recognize their mistakes and work hard to please their fans. But no, most of them don’t give a shit about you and me. They want our money. It’s not about creativity or “changing the world”, it’s just Ferraris, model girlfriends and big homes (all three combined: John Romero).

    id Software (especially John Carmack), Valve, Bethesda, thatgamecompany, Jonathan Blow, Blendo Games… there are sooooo many good developers out there, big AAA studios and indies, it doesn’t matter. These are the people I support. Guys like Romero (although he is not the worst of them) stand for the many things that are bad about the gaming industry and I just can’t understand how people support this.

    Trust me, this game will disappoint big time. But if you want to throw money at this silly kickstarter, go on. I want it to be a success, because Tom Hall is a nice guy, but I don’t think he has chosen the best business partners to make it a hit.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss all social games like that. Are you so deriding of mobile games as well, just because they’re smaller in scope, have a smaller budget, or whatever problem you have with them? The thing about social and mobile games is that without the ability to throw hours of cutscenes at you, designers have to actually do some, you know, design. There’s a reason a lot of talented AAA designers started working on social or mobile games instead, and it’s not just because they’re chasing money.

      In fact given that Romero started working on mobile games quite some time ago, you could argue he was actually a few years ahead of the curve. Maybe he’s not as stupid as you’re suggesting.

      It’s also significant, given that you claim he wastes money (in the present tense), that Loot Drop is fully independent, meaning it hasn’t taken other people’s money. It’s also had two buyout offers but rejected them. If Romero was only after money, he’s going about it the wrong way.

      It seems like all your problems with the company the people in it are based on events of over a decade ago.

      • Stackler says:

        You may be right. I think my trust in game developers today is just very small at the edge of nonexistence. I really hope this project will be successful and is able to proof to ranters like me, that we were all wrong. I really do. I am just not throwing my money at it, because I’ve been disappointed so often before and I have a bad feeling about this.

    • Caiman says:

      But Romero isn’t designing this game. He’s not involved in it at all, although he does run the company that employs the people who will design and program it. I think it’s pretty bloody obvious why they left his name out of nearly every part of the pitch, to really underline this point. Yes, Romero runs Loot Drop, no he won’t be involved in the game. You think he had anything to do with Deus Ex, other than running Ion Storm?

    • Kadayi says:

      “Trust me, this game will disappoint big time. But if you want to throw money at this silly kickstarter, go on.”

      Pretty sure it should be obvious that I’m waiting for the KS to fail and for them to come up with a better pitch.

      Also I’m not entirely sure what your particular hang up is with Romero beyond simple jealousy that he became wealthy and lived large off it at the time. Sure the guy made a lot of money because he was part of ID in the early Doom days and that’s when it was possible to become overnight millionaires with a hit game because development teams were small (often less than a dozen people) and games sold for a far higher premium than they do today. Nowadays AAA development teams often involve hundreds of people and prices have been relatively static for years. Ironically if you want to become an overnight millionaire in the games industry these days, you’re better off going the indie route and gambling on your $5 game hitting the zeitgeist (Braid, Minecraft) that working for a big studio, unless you’re high up in the food chain.

      For all your bitching about him, the guy (along with Tom) founded Ion Storm Studios. Without Ion Storm there wouldn’t of been a Deus Ex or Thief. Titles whose influence on game design since cannot be overstated.

  21. Strangerator says:

    Prediction: There will be betrayal in Antera.

    • abandonhope says:

      Seriously, FFS. Not just another fantasy world that begins with A, but one that is a single letter different from one that already exists and phonetically identical to boot.

      What an overwrought setup just to meekly go where most RPGs have gone before–medieval fantasy. Allow me to cross my fingers and hope for all the tropes we know and love. I mean if everything about it isn’t instantly recognizable, why would I want to play? Novelty sucks ass. Threadbare familiarity is where it’s at.

      Edit: I mean, Jesus. Here’s the most recent backer comment:

      don’t know if you have thought that far ahead but is there going to be magic in the two worlds, it was one of my favorite aspects of the later Wizardrys where there we different schools of magic I.e Mage, Alchemist, priest etc and then you also had the hybrid classes who did a big of magic as well.

      The question basically amounts to “Are you going to have the things that all the RPGs have?”

      What is it about people that makes them want to continually repeat the same experiences? I don’t get it. I like fantasy. Unfortunately, it seems to be atrophying in a feedback loop.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Maybe genuine creativity is a far rarer commodity than we realise? Sure everyone has ideas, but not everyone can turn them into an amazing game. For every Valve and Notch there are also creatives that don’t quite inhabit the same plane, and so thats when money takes over. As a manager of purse strings, why would you give the OK to something new that you have little faith in? Innovation is great, but innovative does not automatically equal popularity or profits. You can just as easily end up with navel-staring pretentiousness as you can with something that makes people see the world in an entirely new way. The Matrix Trilogy is a good example of something that started as truly innovative, then ended up trying to be clever for its own sake and alienated rather than inspired.

        I do agree though – it all becomes boring very quickly when you see the same things. Many texts have been written about managing innovation and creativity, and I am sure many people far cleverer than me have debated it. Ultimately though if profit has to figure in it, yes playing safe will feature more heavily. It seems to have worked for the car industry for several decades.

  22. Turkey says:

    Not having sci-fi in your fantasy game would be an innovation at this point.

  23. Ahtaps says:

    Based on that extract alone, it sounds like the Doll House if it were based in an RPG world. It’s an interesting way of integrating a class system into the game.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      As long as the game doesn’t include you playing Eliza Dushku in HO MODE, like 95% of that series did, this will be good. Woolly stockings don’t offer much in the way of armour.

  24. fdisk says:

    I pledged my $15 then withdrew my pledge for two reasons: 1) It was implied in the original pitch that this was a fantasy game, but it’s now a sci-fi one. 2) John Romero is engaged To Brenda. This guy has been married what, 5? 6 times? I’m afraid they’ll break up halfway through the development and we’ll never see this game finished. I have zero trust in Romero and anything he’s involved with.