Gather Your Party: 10 Minutes Of Sword Coast Legends

Sword Coast Legends screenshot

Luskan! City of… of… well, mostly pirates as far as I know. But also, as evidenced in this new gameplay footage from Sword Coast Legends [official site], city of thieves, skeletons, zombies and other stock D&D nasties.

There’s also a zombie ogre in there, as if regular ogres weren’t already possessed of disgustingly low standards of hygiene.

Sword Coast Legends was only announced last month but it’s already looking to be in a fairly playable state. One might almost suspect that development was begun soon after the Torment: Tides of Numenera and Pillars of Eternity crowdfunding campaigns proved to be enormous successes! Or that could be baseless supposition, which it is.

Developers n-Space don’t have much in the way of institutional prior when it comes to D&D or CRPGs, although top dog Dan Tudge was the director of the rather good Dragon Age: Origins. Regardless, what’s in that video looks to be pretty close to what one would expect from a D&D CRPG right down to the archetypal character classes: “Scottish” dwarfs, reedy wizards, and the other two who don’t talk much.

That sounds like I’m being down on this game. I’m not, really, even if the voice acting isn’t for me. I’ve loved every minute I’ve spent questing around the Sword Coast over the years, and a lot of what’s in this video has chipped sparks of nostalgia from my stony heart.

We’re promised a second video next week that will show off the game’s Dungeon Crawl mode. Said mode allows a player to act as a Dungeon Master for a friend or group of friends, directing campaigns as they unfold and building new ones as they wish. This sounds like an area where Sword Coast Legends could really stand out, so I’m keen to see how it will play.

43 Comments

  1. Lars Westergren says:

    Voice and what was shown of the plot: meh. Graphics and setting: yay. Combat: acceptable.

    Unless it is completely linear, they have a sale.

    Who else is exited about Pillars of Eternity btw? Review embargo lifts tomorrow!

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      tigerfort says:

      I’d rate the voices well below “meh”. Otherwise, yes, potentially one to be interested in.

    • TormDK says:

      My regular tabletop group is very much looking forward to Sword coast legends, we use Roll20.net right now, but if we can get something acceptable out of Swordcoast legends, then they will have our money for some time to come.

      And Zomg yes! on the Pillars of Eternity thing. I am impatiently counting down.

      • fdisk says:

        Because the campaigns are premade by the GM and it will take some fairly time-consuming prep-time I highly doubt this will have the flexibility for RPing Roll20 and traditional pen n paper gives you. In Roll20.net you can literally start a game with zero prep time and your imagination is the limit to what you can do.

        This will still limit you in some ways (No off-the-wall improv like swinging from a chandelier, riding on the back of a Dragon and cutting its wings off mid-air to plummet into the middle of a battle between two armies, etc.)

        What this will give you is a much more fun and flexible CRPG than we’ve been getting from Wizards set in the Sword Coast. What you will also get is some super fun campaigns made by players that you can play through with your friends. The on-the-fly GM thing is super interesting and hopefully will make things even more fun, but I doubt this will replace Roll20 for you; it’ll most likely replace something else like WoW, Neverwinter, or Diablo 3 for a while though.

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      teije says:

      Excited yes – been following it closely since backing and it looks very promising. Still not crazy about RTWP, but that didn’t stop me from loving the BGs, so hopefully won’t impact my enjoyment of PoE.

      And this one looks interesting potentially, will follow it.

    • Frank says:

      Yup, same sentiments, though I’m more down on the voice acting.

      Can’t wait to try Eternity.

    • whorrak says:

      FYI: According to their twitter feed, the VOICE ACTING in the demo video is PLACEHOLDER content pending the recording of professional content.

      link to twitter.com

  2. Reapy says:

    Why this over neverwinter nights 1/2?

    • Werthead says:

      For players: I’m assuming graphixxx and the game maybe being less hassle to run on a modern OS than NWN1 or 2. Although I replayed 1 a couple of years ago and it was fine. Also, it’s using the latest rules which makes it easier if people want to port over their tabletop campaign.

      I must admit I’m impressed that they had the restraint not to call this game either BALDUR’S GATE 3 or NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 3. They have the rights to the names and doing that would attract much more coverage, whilst SCL has flown under the radar for a lot of people so far.

      • fdisk says:

        My guess is that they didn’t want to tarnish those franchises with what is essentially a budget game. I guarantee this is going to be a short game single player wise, hopefully it will have its legs on the community created content and multiplayer. They are going to try to make their money selling you modules and assets to create campaigns like they do IRL.

        Wizards is also super out of touch with gaming. They believe that turn-based games are dead and don’t sell (In spite the huge success of Civilization V, XCOM, Wasteland 2, Divinity, Shadowrun, etc.) so they refuse to make a game that truly captures the DnD experience; it’s mostly Hasbro’s suits’ fault.

        In a way, I’m glad; I love Roll20.net, it’s built by guys who love tabletops, it’s updated constantly, and they have done a better job with a virtual tabletop than Hasbro will ever let Wizards do.

    • redm says:

      I recently re-installed NWN2…. I can’t find good patch files for it anywhere. It seems everyone hosting them have removed them.

      • cpt_freakout says:

        I know this means paying more money for something you’ve already bought before, but I do recommend getting the GOG versions of NWN 1/2. They run perfectly in recent setups and they’ve already been patched up by GOG. I played the vanilla NWN 2 campaign with a friend a couple years back and while the story is boring the combat is still pretty fun.

    • fdisk says:

      Because of the updated technology; something tells me this is going to be a lot more flexible and easier to make campaigns for. Also, a lot of newer gamers have never heard of NWN; in fact, I don’t know if this is still the case, but up to a year or two ago it was impossible to find a legal copy of it.

  3. jfml says:

    Wow, it’s so annoying that the party leader says something everytime you let him/her move forward.

    Does anyone know if you play with premade characters or can you make your own? Can I choose to have/not have Scottisch accent, if yes?

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      If previous party based PC D&D games are any indication, and unless the devs have absolutely no idea what they’re doing, you can change the player character response rate in the options menu.

  4. thekelvingreen says:

    Oh wow, the voice acting is terrible. That dwarf!

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      With that voice acting, this really is a Neverwinter Nights game. Too bad that they learned from NWN1 rather than the sequel.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Not just bad voice acting, but also bad writing behind the acting. Ugh. Unfortunately, it sounds like it’s not something you could just turn off, like random barks, because they’re using the voice acting to deliver important plot info.

      I like to support small studio projects, but there’s a minimum threshold to cross, once you decide to do something like add voice acting to a game. A game of this scale might have been better with just text balloons for speech, if they couldn’t hire better voice actors. Of course that wouldn’t fix the writing…

    • whorrak says:

      FYI: According to their twitter feed, the VOICE ACTING in the demo video is PLACEHOLDER content pending the recording of professional content.

      link to twitter.com

  5. aliksy says:

    What version of D&D?

    I wish people would make party based coop RPGs that aren’t based on D&D. I guess I have original sin, at least, but I kind of bounced off that one.

    • Bobsy says:

      It’ll definitely be DnD Next / 5e. There’s no way Wizards of the Coast would release anything new that used old rulesets.

      This looks passable as a single-player RPG, but the true test will be how much of the non-combat mechanics they managed to work in and how easy it is to create custom campaigns and DM them.

      • malkav11 says:

        Which is too bad, because 4E would have made for great videogames and that entire era was squandered making a shitty Facebook game (but I repeat myself), a shitty ARPG, and an MMO that some people seem to like but certainly isn’t faithful to the tabletop rules, instead of the faithful turn-based TOEE-esque games that those rules practically cried out for.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      I imagine it’s based on the 5th edition rules given the timing.

    • derbefrier says:

      Its confirmed its 5e. I am excited for this. I hope the DM mode is as awesome as they make it sound.

  6. Flea says:

    Resurrection of classic RPGs makes me so happy, it’s good times again with Pillars of Eternity just days from release and Tides of Numenera and Sword Coast Legends coming up.

    I don’t think voice acting here is as bad as the comments make it look. Besides, I’d much rather have crappy voice acting than a crappy game overall. It looks promising, I like the sepia tone when paused during combat, it creates extra focus on characters.

  7. ffordesoon says:

    Wow, there’s surprising amount of hate here for thr VO. I like it quite a bit! Yes, it’s cartoonish and cliche as hell, but the objective of the single-player mode is presumably to provide a “quintessential D&D campaign” feel, and I think they got that right. The campy tone, the archetypal characters and situations, and yes, the hammy-but-really-going-for-it VO. It’s not going to win any awards or make anyone think, obviously, but it does give me that “bunch of nerds raised on genre fiction around a table making goofy shit up to entertain each other” vibe. YMMV, but it gives me the right feels.

    Someone’s probably going to yell at me for saying this, but I don’t think the dialogue or VO is particularly different in quality or tone from your average slice of Baldur’s Gate 1 (and yes, I have played and finished BG1). Maybe a little campier, and there’s more of it, but it scratches the same itch for me.

    My main worry is actually that the game looks too easy. I’m not someone who gets pissed off if every encounter doesn’t result in an instant TPK, but a zombie ogre should at least require a few pauses. My hope is that the dev is playing on easy or the party’s deliberately overleveled for the demo. If you’re going to put a pause feature into your game, at least some encounters should necessitate it without me bumping the difficulty up a notch.

    Still, given that I was expecting this game to look like a garbage rush job, this video was a pleasant surprise. I’m not going to say it appears destined to reside forever in the hallowed halls of party-based RPG classics like Baldur’s Gate or Pool Of Radiance, but it looks a damn sight more enjoyable than I was expecting.

    P.S.: Does anyone else think Dan Tudge sounds like Mike Nelson from the latter seasons of MST3K? My initial thought was “Canadian George Clooney,” but the Mike Nelson comparison seems more accurate to me.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Maybe it was intended to be intentionally hammy, as a sort of homage to early D&D geeks sitting around a table. I dunno… it just didn’t come off that way to me. It sounded like they couldn’t hire good voice actors and just used whoever was in the room, and the writing didn’t help.

      I think if you’re going for comedy (or irony, whatever), then it has to sound intentional and not just poorly done. When Minsc says “Go for the Eyes, Boo!” you know it’s intentional. This didn’t quite cross that line for me, but maybe I’m just jaded and not bringing a fresh enough perspective here. I did like the level design and general aesthetic approach, so I’ll keep an eye on how it turns out.

      • ffordesoon says:

        I don’t think it’s going for outright comedy or irony, to be clear. I think they’re trying for the blend of self-aware goofiness and meat-and-potatoes fantasy melodrama that endeared a devoted cult of fans to low-budget 90’s American genre TV shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and Sliders.

        Which is, perhaps, aiming low, but it feels right for a D&D game built around recreating the tabletop experience. I don’t know why, exactly. It just works for me.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      Maybe it is intentional but I lived in Wales for eight years and didn’t hear as many rolled Rs as I did in that ten minute preview.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Haha, fair enough. The over-the-top gregarious Scottish dwarf is an archetype for which I harbor a great deal of affection, but I recognize that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m from the American South, so I’m sensitive to awful accent work myself.

  8. malkav11 says:

    Oh, the guy that helmed Dragon Age: Origins left Bioware? That might explain in part why every subsequent installment has failed to come anywhere near that game’s quality.

    But yeah, I’m looking forward to this one.

    • Werthead says:

      I think it’s the same guy who quit in protest over the direction EA took DRAGON AGE II in. He said the plan alwys was for several games and a franchise, but large ones on the scale of DA:O with several years inbetween them, and a quickie action-RPG sequel only a year later was not acceptable to him so he walked.

  9. skyturnedred says:

    I want a party of six people, not four. Again.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      I agree completely. How can you use your group to flank and outmaneuver the enemy, when all you have is just enough to cover your casters from being melee’d to death?

      I don’t want to hold the line and simply out dps/aggro the mob. I want tactics, dammit!

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      Agreed, nothing has ever replicated the myriad of tactical options of the 6-party Baldurs Gate games. It was as much about the *feeling* of being able to flank/withdraw a spell caster behind a defensive line, etc, as it was the actual mechanics.

      All 4-party games of the same ilk since have felt too limited in combat depth.

    • trashmyego says:

      The limit to four party members probably has something to do with there only being six playable classes. This is the main reason I’m still sitting skeptical of the game. They also haven’t been clear about what the DM mode will encompass and what type of module building will be provided. All talk seems centered on creating your own dungeons rather than full campaigns. It all just looks a bit lite as of right now.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      I still have memories of battles from the BG and Icewind Dale series where I had to actually think my way through and pause desperately because something unforeseen happened. Can’t say the same about CRPGs from NWN onward, though; the fights in all those games were fairly mechanical, and I think the little praise DA:O’s combat got came from its system being reminiscent (and only that) of the flexibility that the IE games used to offer. I guess this one will offer something like DA:O, given the people involved.

  10. celticdr says:

    Voice acting on this is horrible – having lived in Scotland years back I can tell that Dwarf in the game is an American putting on a comically laughable Scottish accent… the rest of the voice acting is far too overdone as well.

    The graphics are neat though, I’m a big fan of Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate so I will definitely give this a go when it comes out – but only if there’s an option to turn off the voice acting.

  11. Big Murray says:

    DnD on the Sword Coast with classic kind-of-isometric 90s style CRPG stylings?

  12. Zekiel says:

    By golly! Adventuring in a sewer! I want to see more of this original game!

    In all seriousness it does look kind of interesting and the city looked OK. I just couldn’t quite believe they chose to open their first preview in a sewer.

    • fdisk says:

      Maybe it was their way of telling us “Look, we are going full ham on the classic DnD CRPG here!” that a lot of use have been begging for since NWN2