inXile Tease Another cRPG Comeback: Bard or Baldur?

that's Torment: Tides of Nananana concept art, btw

With two successful Kickstarters under its belt, one well-received RPG sequel out in the wild and one spiritual RPG sequel on its way, what next for Wasteland and Tides of Numenera dev inXile? Sadly, it doesn’t involve ditching any crazy capitalisation. It does, however, involve bringing back another much-loved olden roleplayer. But which one? I’ve stuck a few guesses (two of which are in this post’s title) below.

In the shorter term, they’ll also be doing a bit more tinkering with Wasteland 2.

Wasteland 2’s future seems to primarily consist of bug-fixing, as apparently the majority of the team has switched full-time to working on unofficial Planescape sequel Torment: Tides of Numenera.

However, in a backer note earlier this week, project lead Chris Keenan wrote that “we still have a dedicated crew giving Wasteland 2 the love and attention it deserves. Amongst other things, we intend to do a serious balance pass in the future that should tighten up some of the loose ends. This process will easily take a month to complete (have I mentioned this game is massive?) so we will need a solid window of time to complete it between updates.”

No mention yet of whether there’ll be expansions, but that Keenan notes that he’s turning his attention another, undisclosed inXile game may not bode too well on that front.

Here’s all he gives away about said other game: it’s “another RPG that has been passionately demanded of us for a while now! It’s still quite early in the process, but we will have more news on that in the New Year.”

Ho-hum! What could it be?

Let’s look at inXile’s back catalogue, and more importantly those of its predecessors (of sorts) Black Isle and Interplay.

The smart money is probably on a new The Bard’s Tale game. That series (of sorts – it’s two games which share a name but not a lot else. Here’s Kieron on the first one) doesn’t tend to attract anything like the adulation that Fallout and Planescape did, but inXile have the rights, bossman Brian Fargo references it an awful lot, and the pastiche-heavy 2004 version has seen a decent second life on mobile.

The Bard's Tale, 2004 edition

Its satirical approach to fantasy roleplaying tropes has its fans and has its detractors, but I’d imagine there’s more than enough wind in its sails. Whether it’s enough for a third Kickstarter on the half a million scale, I’m not quite so sure.

Another option is inXile’s other 21st century RPG, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Given the mediocre reception and a swift parting of ways with publisher Bethesda, this seems highly unlikely.

Going further back into Interplay and Black Isle stuff, here’s an option: Baldur’s Gate III, either spiritual or actual. It is the other name in the Black Isle-associated holy trinity, after all. While BG1 and 2 were developed by Bioware, both the Wasteland 2 and Tides of Numenera projects have successfully conveyed the sense that they’re being made by an old school cRPG supergroup, and I don’t doubt that they could do that again if they can get a few big-name contributors on board.

Baldur's Gate II

In theory, Bioware co-founder Trent Oster’s Beamdog/Overhaul Games are working on an official BG3 (as well as retaining series rights generally), but I wouldn’t offer too many startled blinks if some collaboration came to pass. Beamdog have already suggested there could be a Kickstarter, though that was two years ago. I’d be even less startled if inXile went down the spiritual sequel line. Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity is doing that to some extent, but I reckon there’s still gold in them that hills. It’s a big reach, sure, but it would certainly fit “passionately demanded.”

Similarly, Icewind Dale is an option, but it’s harder to hang “passionately demanded” onto that. See also Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader.

Another out-there option is a new Arcanum: Of Magick and Steamworks Obscura title. That came from the dearly-departed Troika, which span out of original Fallout devs, so a link is there even if the rights situation looks a whole lot muddier (it was published by Sierra, now part of the Activision-Blizzard gestalt). It certainly has its enthusiasts, even though it doesn’t tend to appear in the same breath as Baldur, Fallout and Torment.

I reckon Bard’s Tale, to be honest, but I’m hoping for something more Baldury.

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116 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Lakshmi says:

    Minsc and Boo stand ready!

    • Minsc_N_Boo says:

      Swords…. not words! :-)

      TBH as much as I love BG, I do not really want to see a BG3 game. Throne of Bhaal finished everything off nicely, & I don’t really see any point in continuing the story.

      I would however love to see another game set in the same world. Be it a new franchise or another “spiritual successor”.

      • Premium User Badge

        Grizzly says:

        This was originally supposed to be the plan for the never-to-be BG3: The Black Hound. Same setting, different story (although there’s probably some overlap).

  2. karthink says:

    I’m guessing it’s Bard’s Tale. I’m hoping it’s Arcanum.

    I’d like to see some polish and better writing from Torment before I send more money their way, though.

    • Tyrmot says:

      Yeah, if I had to bet, that would probably be it.

      Another Arcanum though would be amazing. That was such a great game, right up there with Fallout 2 & BG2 imo (once you have downloaded the bug fixes!)

    • tomimt says:

      New Arcanum would be pretty sweet. My biggest issue with the original is that the world itself always felt a bit too empty. It had such a big map, but there just wasn’t that many locations to actually visit. But the worl and the setting itself was fantastic and I always hoped to see more.

      I do agree though, that I’d love to see both, W2 and Torment properly polished before I’d jump on another KS with them. I played W2 through when it came out and have been pushing the second playthrough further because I just want to make sure they’ll fix it proper before jumping in again.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      And another vote for Arcanum. Is that enough, did we win?

    • ChuckChuckRazool says:

      In case the current tally isn’t sufficient, chalk another one up for Arcanum. Such a memorable game, with deep skill trees demanding multiple replays and an interesting exploration of the interaction between technology and magic. Ah, Troika.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Arcanum, please! High fantasy, steampunk, magic vs technology, none of these are exactly original ideas, and yet the way Arcanum blended them was unique and wonderful and really, genuinely refreshing.

      Which I suppose makes my demanding a sequel sort of ironic… Oh well.

    • Husa says:

      Damn, now that you said it. I really hope it will be Arcanum, it was so great yet so broken. we already got decent remakes for BG2 and Icewind Dale and everyone (maybe I’m exaggerating a bit..) has played through them countless times.

      It’s funny that Arcanum made me so goddamn frustrated, but it’s the one that I want to try again.

    • BlackCanopus says:

      I really really hope IT WILL NOT BE ARCANUM!
      inXile has absolutely no affiliation with the original team that did Arcanum. They don’t share the vision. They do not make that kind of game. And by Wasteland 2, they showed clearly that their style is very unoriginal. The only thing they would do with Arcanum, would be stealing Arcanum’s IP and making a totally different game that would resemble Arcanum only in name, and nothing else. No, not Arcanum, please do not ruin that. Not that.

      • EvaUnit02 says:

        Because any single development studio is only capable a specific style of game, right? In general your logic is dumb, but let’s get specific here:- InXile have made games as diverse as 3rd person shooter/brawler hybrid (Hunted), side-scrolling arcade shooter (ChopLifter) and a GTA-esque crime-based action game (Heist? I forgot thesspecific name but publisher Codemasters cancelled it).

  3. Anthile says:

    You creep up to the window and, in the soft, muted lights, you see a tall woman with long, blond hair. She sits before a mirror and brushes her hair, then stands and walks over to the sunken tub off to her left. She kneels and her blue, silken robe drops to the floor. She turns the water on and steam slowly fills the air. You watch in fascination as she reaches down into the tub, whirls, and points an Uzi in your direction. “Stop reading paragraphs you’re not supposed to read, creeps.” She sighs deeply. “Next time I’m going to demand they put me in a Bard’s Tale game, this Wasteland duty is dangerous.”

  4. razgon says:

    The new bards tale was horrible. The old ones were glorious – for its time. I don’t think I could do the whole graph-paper and monsters every other step thing again though.

    Arcanum as someone mentioned was incredibly, but that IP isn’t theirs, is it?

    • balinor says:

      This. The original Bards Tale trilogy deserves to be updated for the modern generation. I’m not willing to back them on anything else though as Wasteland is still extremely buggy for me. Once that is finished then maybe.

      • Hex says:

        Really? Other than the common crash-to-desktop issue in Nukemonk Pass or whatever it’s called, I haven’t encountered any bugs. And considering the (still overwhelming) scope of the game, that’s pretty amazing.

        On the strength of Wasteland 2, I have every intention of backing everything these people propose to me.

        • balinor says:

          Yes really. I’m not sure why that seems hard to understand as it’s hardly a novelty that what works for one person doesn’t work for another? Maybe I’m reading your intent wrong. Anyhow, as it stands I am unlikely to back anything from inXile again from the low quality of some of the work on W2 to the lackluster writing in other parts and the general bugginess that I am experiencing. I hope they continue churning out rpgs I really do, but I wont be purchasing them until they are so cheap that it doesn’t matter how little entertainment I “might” get out of them

    • jrodman says:

      I played Bard’s Tale 3 for the first time last year. It was surprisingly pleasant.

      I even enjoyed learning how to be very effective at my map-making in Inkscape.

  5. Infinitron says:

    You missed one. Google “Meantime game”.

  6. GameCat says:

    What about making something fresh, something that will expand the RPG genre rather than making another nostalgia-driven almost-cash grab?

    • Hex says:

      Isn’t that arguably what they’re doing with Torment: Bananarama?

      • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

        Arguably.

        But even as I’m not so harsh and understand they need to ride the nostalgia wave to get funded, I’m pretty sure they could do something new and wish they’d be willing to tackle a new setting. PIrates? Gangsters? Urban fantasy? Steampunk, which is just urban fantasy with copper gears? The sky’s the limit, man.

        • malkav11 says:

          Numenera is not really much like any RPG setting previously brought to computer games. It’s more or less fantasy, but it’s in that sort of “technology so advanced it seems like magic” way, and it’s a setting where those ancient ruins you crawl through could be the withered remnants of a 2014-era accounting office. I mean, crawling through the ruins of slightly-future-times in the wake of an apocalypse isn’t new, exactly, but we’re also not talking the apocalypse of your Wastelands and Fallouts, with your rusting cars and shotguns and mini-nukes and such. We’re talking nanotech and weird pseudomagical artifacts and so forth.

          So, I mean, another new setting would be cool, but it’s not like they’re not already working on one.

  7. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    My hope is for Arcanum game
    I want some steampunk RPG

  8. The_Player says:

    So I wasn’t alone who thought about Arcanum after all.

  9. Arathorn says:

    I’m fine as long as it doesn’t have turn based combat. And I’m not looking forward to BGIII either. The story is done, finished, and Throne of Bhaal was mediocre enough already. Just let it rest, okay?

    • bee says:

      That’s nice. I’m fine as long as it DOES have turn based combat.

      • malkav11 says:

        Indeed. Turn-based 4 lyfe.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Always turn-based. I much prefer my fights to have some thought to them, and real-time combat in an rpg just doesn’t give you enough time for that, as far as I’m concerned.

  10. Infinitron says:

    P.S. It’s widely assumed that something along the lines of Arcanum 2 might eventually surface at Obsidian, considering that its creator Tim Cain works there, so I’m not sure inXile would want to touch that.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Oh dear lord. Arcanum 2 by Obsidian would basically be my dream game. Don’t do that to my feelings, not when sleep-deprived and emotional.

  11. Uglycat says:

    I want another crack at those 4×99 beserkers in Baron Harkyn’s castle.

    • Themadcow says:

      I always wondered how they got trapped in that broom cupboard. Must have been like rush hour on the Northern Line.

      Jabberwocky! Flame Horn! MIBL!!!!! Dieeeee Berzerkers!!!!!

      I’d love a new Bards Tale but I fear it’s just too old in the tooth gameplay wise to make a new game in the same mold. Sure, Legend of Grimrock did it for Dungeon Master but if Bards Tale came back then I’d want it in all it’s dungeon set, turn based pomp rather than a modern reboot. Above Bards Tale and Baldurs Gate though, I’d like to see the Gold Box games updated as it seems TSI is about to do…

      link to tsi-games.com

  12. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    While I Kickstarted and enjoyed Wasteland 2, one thing tarnishes my good will towards inXile: I’ve yet to receive the Collector’s Edition box for the tier I Kickstarted. Apparently they should be on their way to backers around about now, but it’s now what, over 2 months since release?
    Better late than never I suppose.

    • Jp1138 says:

      Waiting for the collector´s box here too. At least I´ve received the “your game has been sent” mail at last.

    • Tacroy says:

      The thing is, they can’t do final production on the CE until they’ve got the actual game ready.

    • sear says:

      FYI, Collector’s Editions are going out now for backers who got the non-signed version; you should have got your shipping confirmation message within the last couple of days. Some of our fans are already getting them in their hands, for instance: link to twitter.com

      Signed Collector’s Editions are still en route to our office to be signed (we are picking the fastest possible shipping to expedite the process), but we plan to ship those out to backers as soon as they are ready to go.

    • jrodman says:

      My non-collector box took forever as well, but I did get it last month.

  13. Volcanu says:

    I dont want a BGIII despite BG 2 being probably my favourite game ever. The story arc concluded with ToB and wrapped everything up in a most satisfying conclusion. I would hate to have that all unpicked just to shoe horn a third game in there.

    PoE is basically going to be a spiritual BG 3 – or at least that’s what we’re all hoping.

    • Cinek says:

      reply fail.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah. The Baldur’s Gate storyline is over, and I don’t want a direct sequel to it. And if it’s not a followup to the story but just a spiritual successor, call it something else. Like, say, Pillars of Eternity.

      Honestly, I don’t know what people could be demanding from them. There’s nothing all that memorable about the Bard’s Tale games these days as they come from an era of minimal story and fairly simplistic dungeon crawling, unlike Wasteland’s very open-ended and skill-driven design, which is still impressive today. Baldur’s Gate is over and done with and we’re getting a spiritual sequel already. And I can’t imagine anyone being super passionate about Hunted, Icewind Dale, or Lionheart. Arcanum, sure, but that was Troika, not Interplay.

    • Morte66 says:

      We’ve had Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter multiple times, can we get 5e Waterdeep?

  14. ix says:

    Whatever they do I hope it will go away from the ‘look-how-tongue-in-cheek-we-are-being’ style of humour. I’m definitely one of its detractors. Wasteland 2 was somewhat disappointing there in the sense it’s so over the top anything that happens is hard to take seriously.

    • Wizardry says:

      Wasteland 1 was over the top too, so how could it be disappointing on that front?

      • Cinek says:

        I don’t know, one would expect they grew up since then and stop repeating the old mistakes?

        • Wizardry says:

          Or the opposite. See Fallout 2.

        • malkav11 says:

          I’m not sure why you would hope that from a project whose explicit promise was to be a direct, faithful sequel to the first Wasteland.

  15. derbefrier says:

    Cool I still haven’t gotten around to buying wastelannd 2 yet but more crpgs are always welcome. I would like to see these guys put these skills to take a chance on an orginal IP some day also. Resurecting old IPs is fine and all but I would love a new world to explore.

  16. XhomeB says:

    Arcanum 2. PLEASE. The original is TEH BESTEST ARPEGEE EVAR (the combat system was imbalanced and should have been designed with Turn Based mechanics in mind exclusively, but that’s my only complaint, everything else rocked). It needs a sequel.

  17. C.J.Geringer says:

    I would really like to see than have another goal at Hunted:the demon´s forge without Bethesda interference.

    There is an interview where Fargo talks about the game he wanted Hunted to be, but which bethesda vetted.

    I think having the new hunted make a lot of money would be awesome. They would be able to call bethesda and say, “see? all that money could have been yours”, than mnaybe methesda would be abetter publisher. I ratrher like them as developers, but not a spublishers.

    • Hidden Thousand says:

      Yes.
      Seems unlikely, all things considered, but I would really love to see this game getting some attention. Hunted was a decent adventure, with characters who managed to be more than what they seemed, decent voice-over and fun battles (the more, the merrier) And it had co-op! Which made everything twice as good.

  18. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Of the options mentioned, Arcanum 2 would be good – great game but find it hard to play nowadays – too spoiled by modern UIs, I suppose. No interest in BGIII, since Pillars of Eternity fits that spiritual successor niche well (at least I hope it will!). Bard’s Tale, meh. Never saw the appeal frankly.

    But some new IP with old-school RPG vibe would be my vote actually. Time for some new epic RPG goodness.

  19. Cinek says:

    “Wasteland and Tides of Numenera dev inXile?” – Well, I played Wasteland 2 and for me this game was a complete and utter disappointment. I got so exhausted by it’s lack of depth, poor combat, poor storylines (with exceptions, but still), and artificial enforcing of certain mechanics that I couldn’t get to the half of it. Here and there you can find some OK moments, but overall it’s really, below-average game. I don’t know, perhaps I got tainted by playing Planescape: Torment before the release, with which I fell in love (again), but I can’t see myself finishing Wasteland 2, ever.
    So my hopes for the new Torment went down the drain, especially since they gave up real time combat opting for cheaper turn-based (they already got an engine for that) and this brings a threat that combat in a new Torment will be as horribly bad as it was in Wasteland 2 (mind you, Planescape: Torment combat wasn’t great either, but still it was better than the wasteland of Wasteland 2).

    At the moment my highest hopes for a proper infinity-engine games successor circle around Pillars of Eternity – current build plays really well, and I love the depth along with freedom of choices I am given there. It’s already a really fun game which gave me more joy than Wasteland 2 ever did, without even having a main storyline or vast majority of it’s world implemented into the public builds.

    • Hex says:

      Is anything at all, ever, anything but a complete and utter disappointment for you?

      Judging from the perpetually unpleasant comments you leave on this site, I’m thinking gaming may not be the right hobby for you.

      • Cinek says:

        Reply fail, sir. Worry not, it happens. I did it too under this very article.

        • Hex says:

          No. There is no reply error here. I’m pointing out the ceaseless negativity streaming from you, Cinek. Hence the direct reuse of your original wording in my previous response.

          If you hate all of this stuff so much, why are you here?

          • Cinek says:

            I don’t “hate all this stuff”. No idea what the hell you are talking about.

      • PromthivonWeber says:

        but it was an utter disappointment. :(

    • Wizardry says:

      Moaning about the lack of depth and poor combat mechanics in Wasteland 2 just before praising Planescape: Torment. Priceless.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Quite!

        I love Torment, but the combat is really shite.

        Also, I’m pretty sure the reason they went turn based was the result of a backer poll, not being cheap.

      • Cinek says:

        Sorry, but Planescape wins in terms of combat – at a very least it’s varied (and BTW: re-read my comment again, that’s all I meant: that PT is better than W2, I didn’t praise P:T for combat much) – and in terms of depth it’s a whole level above W2 (I’m laughing hard if you seriously think the opposite).

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      I agree with you. I was really excited for Wasteland 2 but I just don’t like it. I was spoiled by Divinity: Original Sin, that game was so much more polished than Wasteland.

      I can see the Obsidian team do a good game in the Baldur’s Gate universe, but not inXile. I am definitely worried about the new Torment game. I really hope it doesn’t turn out to be such a personal disappointment as Wasteland 2 was.

  20. Dale Winton says:

    Wasteland 2 was actually rubbish. There I’ve said it. It was just slightly too old fashioned and too much text to read. Divinity was much better

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Huh, I hold the opposite view in almost every respect.

      • Dale Winton says:

        Its was like reading a long tedious book that’s not very interesting. At least divinity has good combat

        • lanelor says:

          Wasteland 2 was Skyrim – ocean wide and half a finger of depth. As much as I like the world, Wasteland was too old fashioned in design (click on skill, click on object, click to open safe, click “TAKE ALL”; every FFFFing door/lock/object is BOTH trapped and locked). And no interesting NPCs. And poor graphics, really poor.

          • Cinek says:

            Don’t insult Skyrim. Even FarCry 4 is more like it than than Wasteland 2. W2 never was an “ocean wide” – it was a river delta where you could pick which way to go, but in the end you were always limited to smaller or bigger spots of “activity” with (visible or not) walls every screen width.

            Skyrim offered huge open exploration where you could stumble upon semi-random adventure in between hubs. Be it fighting with some dragon, collecting herbs, hunting for animals, being hit by mega-troglodytes or randomly stumbling upon a dungeon and you always had that enormous world to walk through and see tons of things. You could pick random direction and just go ahead. Wasteland 2 never offered that. Even it’s map view, which arguably offered most freedom in an entire game, had more limitations than any random village in Skyrim.

          • lanelor says:

            @Cinek

            Wasteland2 is CRPG while Skyrim is open-world game. Yet both games fail, IMO, to the same problems – no interesting NPCs, no reactive story line, explorarion of a world full with random loot in caves/grotos/tombs much like the previous one.

            Perhaps if i was 10 again and playing all these games for the first time … but right now most of the titles are like “in which game did i already saw this scene?”.

          • Cinek says:

            Skyrim is a CRPG too, and I’m not the one who compared Wasteland 2 to Skyrim – you did that. I just highlighted how very much W2 fails in the exploration department – which was actually one of the stronger points in Skyrim. Sure, you couldn’t affect world too much, but exploring was all over this game. Like: actually exploring in a fully non-linear way, something that Wasteland 2 hardly can offer you at any stage. W2 is more about going to watch scripts / crawl though totally uninteresting and uninspiring dialog trees / shoot someone somewhere than anything else.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            It’s like… you’re not wrong, except that D: OS was somehow even more tedious despite having much better combat

          • lanelor says:

            Skyrim is not CRPG (there are not attributes and skills in the way Fallout,Wasteland,NWN,KOTOR and so on used). For me the C stands for the Chance to hit a molerat with a shotgun from 10 meters due to characters stats.

            Otherwise, I agree with the exploration part.

          • eggy toast says:

            lmao CRPG stands for computer role playing game. Don’t try to make up new definitions for decades old terms, please and thank you.

          • malkav11 says:

            I don’t agree with many of the complaints levelled against Wasteland 2, which I am generally enjoying, but I definitely agree that it’s a bit too oldschool in the design of the skill system, and the loot could really use an overhaul (and better difficulty progression in terms of locks/traps/etc) so that the reward is commensurate to the effort put in and much more interesting in general. As it is, it’s nearly always just ammo and random junk. Woopdedoo.

        • Dale Winton says:

          Chance role playing game lol

      • PromthivonWeber says:

        did not like w2. combat and graphics were shit. characters dont even change their look when equipping new armor, the character models realy looked free2play/pay2win browsergame bad (like the jagged alliance browsergame). dunno. divinity os on the other hand has enjoyable combat and realy beautiful graphics, imho, but an annoying and slow start (at least if you consider replays).

    • eggy toast says:

      I agree on both counts.

      Combat was both boring and poorly balanced, exploration was impossible, traveling a massive slog, interacting with the world arbitrary and poorly done.

      I felt like Wasteland 2 was *too* old school, to the point where it was practically recreating the feeling of installing from floppy, just to be “authentic”. The problem was, 20+ years of UI and UX improvements went right out the window.

      I don’t feel like they let me down, as a KS backer. They clearly did what they set out to do (buy a bunch of shit in the Unity store and write a huge script to park it all in) but even for the $15 I backed it for I didn’t enjoy what I got and I can’t imagine backing their next project based on this.

    • Premium User Badge

      JiminyJickers says:

      Completely agree, I wanted to like it so much but it was just very disappointing.

      • PromthivonWeber says:

        yeah, so sad :( wanted fallout 2.5. all i got was something that felt like a tactical browsergame and even for an unity engine game looked like shit.

  21. clumsyandshy says:

    No chance of it being Temple of Elemental Evil? Who has the rights to that since it was also developed by Troika, Atari?

    After the utter blandness of Wasteland 2 I am mostly worried about what they are doing to the Torment name.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Temple of Elemental Evil’s been done and won’t be done better. How about a CRPG version of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks?

      • Anthile says:

        Is that the one with the UFO? I guess the Might & Magic games are pretty much all based on it.

  22. unimural says:

    That series (of sorts – it’s two games which share a name but not a lot else.

    The original Bard’s Tale had two sequels, Destiny Knight and Thief of Fate, so I think it should well be considered a series. The modern comedy Bard’s Tale has practically nothing in common with the original series, and while not a terrible game, I hope it won’t have anything to do with the inevitable Bard’s Tale remake-over.

  23. 65 says:

    !Mild spoiler ahead!

    I still haven’t gotten far into Wasteland 2.
    The Canyon of Titan has pretty much stopped me dead, due to fact that there is just no decent outcome. Any involvement on the player’s part leads to a worse situation than the relative stalemate that was. Which would be fine, if the quest weren’t so wonderfully complex, with so many things to try and decisions to make, it just seems like there HAS to be better way.
    The fact that there isn’t one and that I spend hours and hours trying to find one left me a bit burned out on the game

  24. Enkinan says:

    Arcanum or something new would be fun.

    As for WL2 I thought it was a fun game and stuck pretty true to the original. The end of my first play through was a bit disappointing due to quest bug issues in Hollywood, but those have since been patched. I’ll probably run through it again next year.

  25. Premium User Badge

    cpt_freakout says:

    Speaking of all this, I hope RPS has noticed that Dead State was just released today.

    • Hex says:

      Bleh.

    • Dale Winton says:

      Ooh I might buy that when I get home from work

      • Hex says:

        Buyer beware. I only putzed around in the Dead State beta for a bit, and I imagine I’ll check it out again at some point, but…it’s…it’s not what I was expecting. I’m not very enthusiastic about it.

        • Dale Winton says:

          £22.99 I don’t think I’ll bother

        • klops says:

          The other game from Iron Tower, Age of Decadence, interests me much more. It should also get a (presumably somehow unfinished) release this month. Great stuff, that is.

          • Hex says:

            Again, buyer beware. If you’re already familiar with the nitty gritty of Age of Decadence and are interested, I hope you enjoy it.

            If you’ve only read about it and like what you think you know about the game, please be sure to check out the demo. The reality is not quite what the initial marketing fluff had me expecting.

            It boils down to being almost like a classic text-parser game. You, the player, must predict what the developers have decided the correct answer to each scenario should be — prior to seeing what the scenario will be.

            Every so often your character receives skill points. To survive (much less progress in the game), you have to allocate your skill points absolutely correctly — as the developers have seen fit to make the requirements — with no margin for error. Then, when confronted with a series of options requiring your action, you must choose the option which you hope puts your allocated skill points to their best use.

            Pretty much exactly the same feeling I’ve gotten when trying to figure out the correct word or phrase to type in while playing something like Zork or Anchorhead, etc.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Hex:

            Does it mean that only the winning conditions are interesting or is it that the game is set up in a succession of basic binary success/game over states ?

          • Hex says:

            It’s mostly succeed each skill-check or die, so far as I can tell. If you play it, be very prepared to restart over and over and over again, and to reload save states constantly.

          • Emeraude says:

            Disappointing.

            Thanks for taking the time to answer.

          • klops says:

            You have a good point there, the game can be frustrating and the skill checks and fights are generally pretty hard.

            Then again, I don’t find AoD nearly as hard as you describe. I did not die on every skill check and definitely did not restart the game over and over again.

          • Hex says:

            Well, no, not every skill check is life-or-death.

            My experience of the game is having spent a good, I don’t know, at least 5 or 6 hours with the demo. In that time, I started games with several of the character classes — 3 or 4 of them at least — and I started at least half a dozen games with the Drifter class (I think that’s what he was called).

            I completed the demo once, on my final play-through with the Drifter, after having spent several hours making various amounts of headway, and going back to the start and tweaking stats, and tweaking how I distributed skill-points as I earned them.

            I was only able to finally complete the demo (DEMO!) when I threw out any concept of developing the character as I saw fit — my inclination was to make the character well-rounded, with points concentrated in at least two or three skills, to make him viable in a variety of situations. This practice inevitably lead to death. So finally, I jadedly min/maxed the build at the start, and with every earned skill point.

            And I won. Finally. It wasn’t easy — I still had to go find hidden events/triggers throughout the town in the game to earn every available bonus skill point I could find. (I would literally save my game before every decision, hopefully with a handful of unassigned skill-points, then reload a few times, testing out different combinations of skill-point allocation with the options presented in decision trees. If every single option lead to failure/death, I would reload the save and go bumbling around the town until I found a bonus point somewhere. Then I would dutifully head back, assign that one-more-point to whatever skill-check, and succeed. This happened regularly throughout the demo.)

            The game appears pretty clearly to have been designed like this: X amount of skill points will be required in a certain skill at each decision-point in the game. The player will have a potential total of Z skill points by this time. X = Z – 2. Potential skill points necessary are hidden in trigger-events (which can also kill you), and unless you get all but maybe one or two of them (and allocate them exactly as the developers have dictated your class should allocate them, again, for emphasis without informing you ahead of time how they must be allocated you will fail the skill check. In most cases, this means death.

            To my mind, this is the opposite of a role-playing game. It’s a game of fit the pegs in the holes. The pegs are the skill points, the holes are the skills. If you’re a warrior, all your combat-related holes must be filled with pegs. You have no extra pegs available for experimentation. There’s no opportunity to craft an intelligent highwayman warrior who charms or intimidates his victims, and resorts to violence effectively, but only when necessary.

            No.

            If you’re a drifter, all your charisma-related holes must be filled with pegs. You have no extra pegs available for experimentation. There’s no opportunity to craft a dexterous, acrobatic con-man who charms or intimidates his victims, and then resorts to cat-burglary effectively, but only when necessary.

            No.

            I don’t think any game has inspired me to write about it quite so much. It really gets me going, once I get started. There’s something about the way it was designed and implemented which makes me very, very unhappy. It feels like a bait-and-switch, though I hate that term, and it probably isn’t quite right. And I don’t mean it like it’s a con — I mean that calling this game an RPG, and then making it such a shallow hole-filling exercise…it’s like a bait-and-switch of the concept of “RPG” to me.

            I’ve played some pretty shitty RPGs in my day. This is the only one that really makes me feel anger at the idea that the game is labeling itself as such.

            Also, the lead developer is reputedly a dick, so fuck him. (I think he came on here and said rude things at me when I first expressed concerns at the demo, but I can’t be arsed to look up the RPS article upon which this exchange probably took place.)

  26. Laurentius says:

    Wasteland 2 is excellent, so is Divinity: Original Sin and ShadowrunReturns: Dragonfall It was great year and with Numenara and Pillars of Eternity on the horizon, 2015 is shaping great as well. so fak u haters…

  27. thekelvingreen says:

    Neither; it’s Bloodwych, obviously.

  28. klops says:

    Chickendogs!

  29. sdfv says:

    I (and probably a lot of people like me) would back a BG3 or Arcanum sequel or spiritual successor with some of the same people working on it.

    I did play the 2004 Bard’s tale… for an hour or two. It really wasn’t very good, and if they do choose to make the mistake of continuing with that it will almost certainly fail. I would never back anything connected to it.

    • Cinek says:

      Then back Pillars of Eternity. It’s exactly that: Proper spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series developed by people who worked on it.

      • Premium User Badge

        JiminyJickers says:

        Yeah, that is where my hope for the RPG nostalgia sequel is currently residing. I backed it on Kickstarter and can’t wait for it to release.

      • Werthead says:

        Obsidian – in their former guise as Black Isle – provided assistance/advice on BG1 and (a bit more ) on BG2. However, the PILLARS OF ETERNITY team are more the people who worked on PLANESCAPE: TORMENT, ICEWIND DALE 1 + 2 and some of the Troika crew. The hardcore of the BG team are still at BioWare, have decamped to Beamdog or have scattered to the winds.

        Saying that ETERNITY is made by the same people who made BG1 + 2 is a bit of a stretch.

    • Hex says:

      Daww, I have pretty fond memories of the 2004 Bard’s Tale. Not a great game, perhaps, but I had fun with it for what it was.

      Still, I would expect a new Bard’s Tale reboot to go a drastically different direction in terms of gameplay, if not in tone.

      • sdfv says:

        The tone of Bard’s Tale was somewhat entertaining. I just got bored with the gameplay really fast. I suppose a reboot or sequel could theoretically be good. I did back Pillars of Eternity and have high hopes for it.

        • Hex says:

          Yeah the parts where you play are pretty crummy. I don’t remember hating them too much, though, so I don’t think they could have been really painful — just boring. I had enough fun seeing how the plot developed to keep me slogging through the boring.

          And that end. Ha! It really tickled me at the time. (I chose the “evil” ending, I guess.)

  30. Diatribe says:

    I really wish they would do a sequel to Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. However I can’t see them getting the rights from CCP any time soon, and without Brian Mitsoda writing, it wouldn’t be the same.

    Too bad.

    • Emeraude says:

      As much as I personally loved Wasteland 2 – and it seem I’m the minority here, but even if it doesn’t have what it takes to become a classic in my opinion, it’s a game following a design ethos that had mostly been abandoned, and even if the list of complaints I have about the game is pretty exhaustive, it’s been so long since I could play a game like it that I really, really enjoyed it – unless inXile really not only up their game but also readjust their creative process (especially the editorial control), I don’t think they have the chops for it.

      That being I ask nothing better than to be proven wrong.

      • sdfv says:

        I’d agree with this. Wasteland 2 was fun, but not a classic – games like this really need a top tier writer, and they don’t seem to have one.

        • Longestsprout says:

          I’d probably wait for torment before passing the sentence on the writing part. In fact, I’d say one should wait for torment before passing sentence on particularly anything. On the whole the whole process of torment seems a lot more organized compared to wasteland 2 and they’ve really rounded up a bucketload of proven talent to work on this one. I mean, if George Ziets of the MotB fame isn’t a top tier writer, I don’t know who you had in mind.

  31. Taear says:

    I would love a second Arcanum but after playing Wasteland 2 I don’t really have any faith with inXile. It was really tedious and combat is constant and goes on forever with Bethesda style dialogue when you speak to NPCs.

  32. BlackCanopus says:

    First, it is Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. You got it mixed up.

    Second, any game but Arcanum! inXlie may be a good developer of oldschool RPGs, but Arcanum is a very different kind of game than the ones they did, especially Wasteland 2. Please, inXline, hands off Acranum!

  33. DNACowboy says:

    Omg, OMG, please let it be Bards Tale ala Michael Crawford and most definitely not that 2004 abortion PLEASE.