Making Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup with 253 cooks and no head chef

Brogue was created by one person. Rogue was created by two. Dwarf Fortress? Two people. Caves of Qud – three people. Desktop Dungeons: five. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has had two hundred and fifty three contributors. Of these, fifty have been core developers. In the sixteen-year history of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, there has never been a lead. No design lead, no engineering lead, no art lead, no producer.

I spoke with David Ploog (dpeg) and Corin Buchanan-Howard (Lasty), two of the most prominent developers on the team, about how and why they make a game with such a sprawl of people. How many are working on the game right now? “That’s impossible to answer, I’m afraid,” David told me, laughing. Corin said, “almost certainly less than twenty, almost certainly more than five.”

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Warhammer Fantasy Battle going hack ‘n’ slashy

A hack ‘n’ slash adaptation of Warhammer Fantasy Battle is in development at Eko Software, the French studio known for their How to Survive action-RPGs. That’s about all I can tell you. Fantasy Battle, set in the Old World, multiple playable races, and that’s about it. Hacking and slashing through the grim dark future of Warhammer 40,000 was a lark in Relic Entertainment’s Space Marine — a perfectly average 7/10 action game to be celebrated, Alec will tell you — but what might this be? Heck, what would you want? Read the rest of this entry »

Day of Infamy shoots its way out of early access

“Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it infamy!” is one of the best jokes of all time. It is also what I screamed as I was repeatedly gunned down in World War II shooter Day of Infamy [official site] while playing the early access version.

Fans of murdering me from afar with a scoped rifle will rejoice that the game has just now busted out into a proper release, fully baked and ready to storm some beaches. You can see what kind of terrible conflict you can create in the trailer below.
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Endless Space 2 adds multiplayer, Riftborn faction

In its early access mission to seek out new features and new civilizations, Endless Space 2 [official site] today encountered some corkers. Multiplayer is now in, supporting up to eight players, and a new faction has entered the 4X scrap too. The Riftborn are a lifeform from another dimension forced into ours, packing mighty time-manipulation powers and some ↑ natty threads. Here, meet ’em in this video: Read the rest of this entry »

Best Crusader Kings 2 mods

Crusader Kings 2 [official site] is (somehow) now five years old. Adam raised a glass to its humour and humanity last month in celebration of its half-decade anniversary, so I thought I’d delve into its modding community to mark the occasion too.

Much like the digital empires depicted in-game, many of its mods have risen and fallen since my last visit, however the following list sends the best into battle. Given how involved CK 2 can be at times, I’ve tried my best to link videos where possible so as to properly showcase each mod’s worth. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Football Manager 2017 free to play this weekend

Oh, Sega, your cunning knows no bounds. Recognising, no doubt, that many football fans are itching for some excitement during the doldrums of an international break, they’ve only gone and made Football Manager 2017 [official site] free for the weekend on Steam. And that weekend starts now, but please don’t miss work or school tomorrow and blame “that man at RPS”. Blame Sega.

Download the game now and you can play with no limitations until 8pm on Sunday (UK time) and even though I don’t think Football Manager is perfect, I guarantee you’ll have more fun than you would watching a World Cup qualifier. Especially if you’re English because let’s face it, if the despair doesn’t end us, the hope just might. Merry Footmas!

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The Walking Dead S3E3 shambling out next week

After kicking off with a two-parter in December, Telltale’s shambling story ’em up The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier [official site] will continue with Episode 3: Above The Law on Tuesday. If you’re expecting a cheery episode with Clem riding around on the shoulders of police officers and judges, you might be disappointed. Going by the trailer announcing this launch date, Above the Law is all drama and distrust. See: Read the rest of this entry »

How Wadjet Eye’s Unavowed merges RPGs and point and click adventures

I’ll always be excited when a new Dave Gilbert game is on the horizon. Since I first played The Shivah [official site] in 2006, a murder mystery more concerned with the Jewish faith than gangsters and gumshoes, I’ve felt I’m in safe hands with almost anything Gilbert puts out under his Wadjet Eye label. That includes games that he publishes as well as those he creates, and while I haven’t adored every single release, I’ve always found something to admire. With Unavowed [official site], his next game, Gilbert is incorporating ideas from the RPG world into a point and click adventure, and the combination could lead to his most interesting release to date.

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Explore cyberpunk Louisiana in Norco: Faraway Lights

Do you want a homecoming tale but don’t want to put up with those deplorably cute animals of Night In The Woods? No worries, here’s Norco: Faraway Lights [itch.io page], a neon text adventure of conspiracy theorists in a cyberpunk New Orleans. Or more accurately, here’s a demo for the opening chapter. The story is: You’ve come back home because your mum has died and your brother has gone missing. Why are brothers so rubbish?
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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds hits early access

The funny thing about ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Battle Royale’ games isn’t that they miss how awful those dystopian murdergames are, rather that they recreate the experience of the antagonists – those hated and feared few who relish the killing and thrive in murderland. They’re the Hunger Royale All-Stars, dozens of Kiriyamas and Catos thrown into murderlands where the would-be suicides and pacifists are already winnowed by not buying the game. The genre’s mighty popular these days — H1Z1: King of the Kill is the third most-played game on Steam — and today a new blooddrenched contender swaggers into the arena. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] has just entered early access, with some pedigree to its name. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Dream Quest?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Non-competitive roguelite-card game mash-up Dream Quest was my favourite game of 2014 – but that year I played it entirely on an iPad. The PC release came a year later and without fanfare. Fast forward further to last December and it finally scored a Steam release, though I fear that came too late to make the impact it needed.

Of course, it’s the art that’s to blame. Look past it, I beg you. Read the rest of this entry »

Bwaaaarp! Death Road to Canada honks out new update

As fun as Death Road to Canada [official site] is, you know what the post-apocalyptic road trip action-RPG has needed? Well, yes, every game needs the CEO of Cold Steel but Death Road has that covered. No, the answer is: more air horn. That’s now covered too. The Ultimate Sports Fan, a rare party member who’ll wildly honk their air horn, arrived along the Death Road with a free update last night. The ‘Brainstem’ update also added new weapons, an NPC who’ll buy your weapons, and more. The game’s on sale now too, at what Rocketcat Games say will be its lowest price ever. Read the rest of this entry »

Nier: Automata mod offers fixes while devs investigate problems

Platinum’s Nier: Automata [official site] is a cracking game, our Adam will tell you, and from the 16 hours I’ve played I’d certainly agree. Sadly, technical problems are dragging it down for some — not all, to be clear — players. Issues include fullscreen mode upscaling wonkily, crashes, and unexpectedly poor performance. The Automata team have now issued a statement saying they’re investigating reports. But in the meantime, players have come up with some good fixes themselves. Read the rest of this entry »