The RPG Scrollbars: Exciting Upcoming Updates

One of the most gratifying things about the recent-ish RPG revival is that they’ve almost all done well enough to warrant developer interest after release. (Oh, if only the adventure one had been as… no, no. Wrong column.) Call them Enhanced Editions, Director’s Cuts or whatever else, they give their creators a second chance to fix mistakes or expand their worlds – and that’s pretty cool for fans. But what are the main ones on the way? I put together this quick list of ones to look forward to.

Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition

As with a couple of these, a big part of this update to Divinity: Original Sin [official site] is getting it ready for a new audience over on console – controller support being one of its top additions. That’s only the start though. Courtesy of a free update for all players, the once text-only game is now getting a full voiceover, as well as new quests, new charcters, and most interestingly, a rewritten story with a new ending. Original Sin certainly didn’t have a bad plot or script, but it did sometimes have a tendency to be vague or expect you to figure out where you were meant to go and what you were meant to do by process of elimination – specifically, where you could dare venture without getting splattered by high level goons. That being streamlined and tweaked is no bad thing. Another cool feature is that while the original supported online co-op, this version allows for split-screen play. Other bits and pieces have also been teased, including new gameplay modes, and a general rebalancing so that shopkeepers are no longer so useless (though I suspect the economy will still give economists palpitations, much as simply walking around Azeroth is enough to kill geologists.)

Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut

Another one making its way to consoles. Formerly known as the Game Of The Year Edition, that specific year being 2102, it’s recently had a name-change and a new trailer. This new version of Wasteland 2 [official site] isn’t as big an update as Divinity’s assault on The Witcher’s past record, but it’s still quite a big one – upgraded graphics, controller support, much more voiceover, and additional control over character builds and combat. Body part targeting is in, as are Quirks and Perks to give characters more flexibility – Deadeye for instance reducing the cost of firing a sniper rifle if a character hasn’t moved, or Delayed Gratification docking a skill point every level until 15 before giving a bonus on every level-up after that. I can’t say the changes make me super excited to jump back in, but all sound like good additions on both PC or the Traitor Boxes under your TV.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong

I’m really excited about this one. I didn’t think much of the original Shadowrun [official site] campaign, but its follow-up Dragonfall was a wonderful surprise. I suspect that’s the one that really helped fire up the Kickstarter engines to the tune of $1,204,726 for what could be seen as more of an expansion pack than a full new game – though I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. Unlike Dragonfall, it’s launching as a standalone game. There’s not a whole heck of a lot of information about it yet, but Harebrained Schemes is promising 15+ hours in its new setting, a team of broken toys, some quality of life upgrades like a new inventory and Cyberware skill-tree, and a new approach to hacking the Matrix that hopefully won’t suck as much, though it will probably still suck at least a bit because cyberspace bits in games are always terrible. Not too long to wait to see though.

Roehm To Ruin/The Order Of The Thorne

Quest For Infamy [official site] was a staggeringly impressive take on the Quest For Glory formula, sadly undercut a bit by a couple of issues – some childish humour, not a whole lot of villainy. I’m glad to see its makers pushing on though, with two new games on the horizon. The first, Quest For Infamy: Roehm To Ruin is more of an adventure than QFI’s hybrid, and a prequel showing how antihero Roehm ended up fleeing to the first game on the back of a cart. Also part of the same Kickstarter was the start of a new series called The Order Of The Thorne, an anthology series with two games announced – The King’s Challenge and Fortress of Fire. The first one has a touch of Loom about it, starring a bard who has to use music to save the queen of the land from… uh… something. Fingers are crossed for all of them.

The Witcher 3

Had enough free DLC yet? Good. CD Projekt Red hasn’t closed the spigot on The Witcher III [official site] yet. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be the usual Enhanced Edition of this one, though Christ knows it doesn’t really need it. There are however two paid DLC expansions on the way, one this year, one next year. The first one is called Hearts of Stone, due in October, set in the town of Oxenfurt and involving a particularly complex contract set by someone called the Man of Glass. That’s estimated at about 10 hours of game. The biggie though is due for the first quarter of next year – Blood and Wine. Set to be 20 hours of game, it also adds a whole new region to the game, Toussaint, where ‘carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret.’ Oooh. And after that, we might finally start hearing some real stuff about Cyberpunk 2077.

Baldur’s Gate “III”

It’s not actually Baldur’s Gate III, but Beamdog has decided it’s ready to move on from simply adding a few characters to the classic games to creating a full chapter. So far, we’ve only got this countdown to stare at, but assuming nothing’s changed, a few facts have slipped out over the months – that it’s an interquel between the first and second games, and still tied to the Bhaalspawn story. It’s also an original Infinity Engine game rather than simply a game trying to act like it, a la Pillars of Eternity. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine until the info drops next week.

Pillars of Eternity

A couple of biggies for Obsidian’s most recent RPG. First up, Pillars of Eternity [official site] is getting a two-part DLC on the way called The White March. It adds the usual stuff – areas, characters, and levels with extra goodies like spells. Two new party members also join the fray, a scarred monk called Zahua, and a golem with the wonderful name “The Devil of Caroc” – a convicted murderess now encased in a bronze body. Along with all this, though available to all players whether they buy the expansion or not, is Update 2.0. This adds Party AI, with the option to set a playstyle for each of your party members and whether they’re allowed to use their Per Rest abilities. Characters can now go into stealth mode individually, and be caught without dragging everyone else out of the shadows. Spells have range indicators to take the guesswork out of getting magic users into the fray, while other weapons have accuracy indicators. All good stuff for new players especially.

Dead State Reanimated

This one’s already out, but I’m going to mention it anyway because the core game was pretty overlooked (interesting, albeit flawed) and… well, why not? Dead State Reanimated [official site] reworks the combat balance and promises better AI, as well as offering more hardcore features like the ability for your character to get infected with the zombie lurgy instead of it just being an NPC thing. Not played it myself, so I can’t say how well they work, but Alec took a good look at it last month. “I do like it, though. Quite a lot more so than this piece probably suggests, and that’s because it’s a game which is far more successful in theme and tone (harder to convey in text) than it is in features,” he concluded, and I agree with that. It’s a messy game, but an interesting one.

Of course, we’re not done with Kickstarter RPGs yet. There’s still several on the way, including Torment: Tides of Numenenenenenenenera, The Bard’s Tale IV, Shroud of the Avatar, and Camelot Unchained. Will they get the same level of developer love after release? Certainly wouldn’t bet against it… or indeed want to. Though in the case of all these improved versions, some kind of targeting amnesia wouldn’t be amiss, to properly experience them all for the first time again.

50 Comments

  1. prof_yaffle says:

    The enhanced edition I’m looking forward to most is the one for Divinity: Original Sin. Mainly because I’ll finally be able to play it.

    • caff says:

      Me too. Absolutely loved it on release then encountered a game breaking bug 15 hours in. I didn’t fancy starting all over again.

      Sounds like a lot of the enhancements will make it feel a fresher game. And pleasantly it’s free too.

      • trn says:

        Oh no, I picked this up in the Steam summer sale and I’m about 14.5 hours in!

        I wonder whether the voice chat is something Larian originally wanted to implement and are now able to because of the game’s success – or a sign of what the developer thinks will appeal to a console audience? I would imagine trying to read the dialogue in the current interface on my TV while sat on my settee would be a nightmare but is voice chat the answer?

        My guess: lots of regional British accents.

        • malkav11 says:

          That’s the one part of these various updates and upgrades I find disappointing, because one of the selling points of this recent resurgence of RPGs for me has been that they aren’t wasting huge piles of money on voice acting every scrap of dialogue. Something which also drastically limits the scope and editability of dialogue and other textual content in the game as it means a) every line costs voice actor time and thus fees, and b) the voice actors typically are only around for a limited amount of time and so voice acted stuff has to be locked down before they’re brought it, or at the very least before they’ve left.

          I suppose the fact that in this case it’s happening after the fact makes it less problematic, but…I don’t want it to be an expectation of games in the genre.

          • Apocalypse says:

            As you said: It a perfect valid thing to do with such an director’s cut, enhanced edition or whatever. You already know that you had the sales to support the budget, you already have the dialog finished. And it as well increases your potential audience, especially if you combine it with a console port. For those fully voiced dialogs are especially important.
            It a perfect win/win situation for everyone imho.

            And as all owners of original sin get this update for free, I am very happy about it. My wife for sure has to play again with me once this update is out. :D

          • Netulven says:

            Maeharj

            Voice acting make the game so much more desirable in the beginning, many people could and would cut the game, on that simple fact,
            so its a calculated risk, when talking bout weather or not the game should have voice actors from the get go

            in RPG’s lige orginal sin, the game works just fine with mostly text, and no voice actors
            but image a game like Starcraft….No voice actors, to give the characters life, and personality, it would blow big time, despite the fact that the game play is solid

            I myself have invested 134 hours in Original sin, played thought it twice, and boy oh boy am i looking forward to some new story lines / ending for a 3th play though :D

  2. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    I still can’t believe The Witcher’s going to be getting 30 hours more content. I swear every time I get an abbundance of new side quests it feels like taking a bite out of a cake only for twice as much to grow back where you just bit. I love it, though.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah. 60 hours in and there are great swathes of the map I never even went near…

      • nearly says:

        If the whole map is anything like White Orchard, there are swathes of the map that you’ll hit an invisible wall before even reaching. Was very disappointed that the edges of the map weren’t actually the edges of the playable area.

        I eagerly look forward to an enhanced edition or at least some mods to tighten up the experience. Main gripes: the leveling/skill system is asinine in the early game, roads on the map sometimes don’t exist in the world, why is there both a block inventory layout AND encumbrance by weight?, inventory sorting options, cluttered menu layouts (here’s looking at you, the three tiers of menus in the skill tree alone), cutscenes where the “Spacebar to skip” only skips you five seconds ahead because it’s tied to dialogue cues even when dialogue isn’t actually happening, cutscenes that end with an enemy hitting you in the face before Geralt even draws his sword, Geralt transitioning to combat mode far slower than enemy NPCs transitioning to attack mode, etc.

        It’s a great game and parts of it are very well-polished but it sometimes feel that the overall level of polish is average and some things suffer from other aspects being so well-polished.

        • Jeeva says:

          >If the whole map is anything like White Orchard, there are swathes of the map that you’ll hit an invisible wall before even reaching.

          Doesn’t sound like you got particularly far. The rest of the map is absolutely nothing like the prologue in White Orchard. Go back and give it another shot! Most other folk seem to think that it’s something pretty good.

    • swiftshlock says:

      I’m now 179 hours in and finished all the main and side quests, hunts etc. I took my time, often just riding/wandering around, taking in the sights, discovering all sorts of sights and mini-adventures on the way.

      Still some ?s left on the map (especially in Skellige), but content-wise I guess I should have seen 95% of what my decisions in this playthrough will allow me.

      There really is an abundance of things to do, for me at least it was a woderful experience.

    • Koozer says:

      I’m still in the first zone. Choosing hard difficulty may have been an unwise decision.

      • ssh83 says:

        Nah. You’re wise enough to tune the difficulty setting in the start, you can always tone it down. It’s better than setting it too easy and getting bored.

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    Swordfishtrombone says:

    Are there any plans for an inventory update for TW3? I do find it a bit of a chore to find things in there sometimes (particularly when using a controller). I especially wish books/notes, potions, bombs &c. could be placed in more prominent, or at least easy-to-search locations. I also miss the ability to order the inventory by name, weight, time acquired etc. like in TW2.

    That aside, for clarity’s sake I should point out that it by no means mars an otherwise abso-bloody-lutely fantastic game. I’ve been playing for ~ 70h and am yet to even venture to Skellige for the first time. And I haven’t got bored once.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The game needs better inventory management, which may show up in either a future patch or a mod. Meanwhile, the best way I found to deal with it, is to sell every book and note in the “Usable” tab to the bookshop in Novigrad’s main square (except Yen’s first letter). You don’t need them after reading them, and that brings potions and bombs up near the oils, so they’re all visible without scrolling down.

      • popej says:

        Are you relatively certain that Yens first letter is all you need to retain? If so I’ll be doing what you recommend when I get home.

        Ta

        • Zenicetus says:

          Relatively certain, yes. At least it didn’t appear to affect my gameplay at all.

          Quest-critical stuff shows up under the Quest tab, then it shifts over to the Usable tab after you’ve read it. Anything that shows up first under the Usable tab is something you’ve already been told about (i.e. notes in your quest journal), or it’s background flavor like the books on various subjects.

          If you sell notes and books to just one merchant — like the Novigrad book shop, which seems logical — you can always go back and buy it cheap if you need it again. I never had to do that, and selling all that stuff really cleans up the inventory screen you access the most for combat.

          Oh, and you don’t need to keep Yen’s letter. I just kept it for role-playing reasons, because I think that’s what Geralt would have done.

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            Swordfishtrombone says:

            Sell my books?! What is this blasphemy?!

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            Swordfishtrombone says:

            (And random scrawled notes. And smorgasbord of foods. And multitude of alcoholic beverages, for any occasion.)

    • dr4gz0r says:

      Nothing official as of now, but people on reddit / CPR forums reported that a storage chest and some inventory filters would be added in the future.

      Source for this is the Czech translator’s twitter; I can’t find the tweet regarding the inventory filters atm, here’s the one about the storage chest link to twitter.com

      Momot (CPR ‘s community manager) also mentioned that the upcoming 1.07 patch is gonna be ‘quite large’ and bigger than 1.05; since it is indeed taking some time (1.06 was just a hotfix, and 1.05, which was a pretty big one, was released on the 5th of June) I think we can expect even more good stuff coming our way.

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    Sihoiba says:

    So I keep holding off starting Pillars of Eternity until the bulk of the bug fixing and improvement patches are done.

    Will 2.0 be the point to jump in, or should I hold off, and make a dent in another part of my gaming backlog?

    • Zenicetus says:

      You’re probably good to go with version 2.0. I finished the game without hitting any major bugs, so this is more of an added feature patch. It was a remarkably stable game after the first couple of patches.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Exactly what I did. Half the community was wailing over broken main quests and RPS reporting permanent skill lose by equiping stuff so let’s wait for PoE with GTA5 and TW3 til they fix it.
      Now’s the big moment and then – bam 2.0 announced.

      Diablo3 – next big update announced.
      DS2 – waiting to buy scholar of sin edition (for cheap).
      AoW3 – waiting to buy add-ons.
      Euro Truck Sim. -waiting to buy scandinavia.

      The list goes on and on.

  5. gunny1993 says:

    I swear if Iroveth or Saskia aren’t in the new Witcher DLC when they come out I’m gona riot, WHERE MA BROS AT YO …. where ma bros

  6. Riaktion says:

    I have read that Pillars of Eternity v1.10 will have the option to play with turn based combat (hit the googles to see) however as there is no mention of this in v2.0 which seems to be the *next* patch… Then perhaps it was an April Fool or something. If it is true though, I’d love to return to PoE and play it turned based.

    • Riaktion says:

      *turn based… Not “turned based”. Sigh.

    • Heretic7 says:

      The turn base combat of the pillars of Eternity news was an April Fools joke by the infamous RPG Codex

      • Riaktion says:

        Ah poop, that’s a shame. Ah well, AI characters and easy mode it is then!

  7. Riaktion says:

    Ah poop, that’s a shame. Ah well, AI characters and easy mode it is then!

  8. ukpanik says:

    “specifically, where you could dare venture without getting splattered by high level goons”

    I love that. Unless you are locked into the fight and can’t run away.

  9. Zenicetus says:

    I will buy the Witcher 2 DLC to support the company, but I can’t imagine playing it right away (or whenever it first comes out), since I’ve finished the main story line.

    The ending was so satisfying, I just couldn’t go back into the game world now. You can continue playing and wrapping up side quests after the main story, but your “family”…. everyone you’ve spent the whole game centered on… they all disappear from the game world. It would feel empty without them, especially with the version of the ending I got.

    There also might be some combat balance issues with DLC unless it auto-levels to your character’s level. By the time the story wrapped up, there wasn’t anything that could touch Geralt outside the final boss battles. Which felt exactly right, but I don’t know how DLC would work with that.

    So I’ll save the DLC for another full run through the game, and that might not be for another six months or year. The game was so outstanding, I just want to let it sink in for a while.

  10. Oozo says:

    There are even more Kickstarted RPGs coming. One day. Soon? Let’s not give up hope, anyway.

    I’m mostly looking forward to of “The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa”, which is ridiculously behind schedule, but then again, that was to be expected by Tale of Game’s and the ambition they had for the project. It still seems to be alive, in a weird way, and I honestly think that there’s a chance of this game being not only stranger, but simply a better game than a fair few on this list here. (Mostly based on the fact that the first Barkley game looks like a novelty, but in fact is smarter, more solid and more creative than a lot of people seem to give it credit for.) Maybe it’ll never come out. But if we all pretend that it does, maybe we can will it into existence?

    Also, UnderTale, which is definitely set to come out towards the end of summer, and give us even more opportunities to break loveable, horribly overprotective characters’ hearts by playing bullet hell-minigames. And progress also seems to be steady on whatever Where They Cremate The Roadkill will turn out to be. (Hey, it was pitched as a RPG, anyway.)

    A lot of interesting projects, then, even though only one of them actually qualifies as an “update” to an existing game. (Which would be UnderTale.)

  11. Vacuity729 says:

    One of the joys in reading RPS regularly is finding the odd turn of phrase or mode of expression that delights me.

    Today’s small delight is ‘traitor boxes.’

    “I warned my brother not to buy a traitor box, but he didn’t listen.”
    “I hooked up the controller from my traitor box to my computer.”
    ‘The next generation of traitor boxes is causing a lot of controversy.’

  12. Sorbicol says:

    I’m just in the closing stages of The Witcher 3 (Past “the point of no return”) which has been a total delight. I’ve still got swathes of the game map unexplored though (Skellige and the bottom half of Velen especially) as well as quite a few side quests and contracts. I’m not quite sure I’ll do a replay straight off the bat (especially as the copy I’ve been playing has been “Loaned” from a friends GOG account) but I’ll be straight there when the first proper expansion DLC is released.

    I left Divinity: Original Sin standing just before the end (I got distracted by Pillars of Eternity) so I should really try and get that finished off I guess. Still I might just leave it now for a replay using the new edition.

    Speaking of that Pillars of Eternity Expansion…… Yes. I shall have to look into that.

  13. Enkinan says:

    This is all great stuff. Hopefully I’ll be done with Witcher 3 by the time Wasteland 2 is updated. I’d like to give it another go now that so many patches, fixes, and content have been added.

  14. Paul says:

    You know, as much as I want Cyberpunk (it is my favourite setting), I kinda want Witcher 4 even more. And I want it to star Geralt again, with Ciri, Yennefer, Triss and all our known characters. Even after 200 hours I just want more. Moooooooooooore

    • jonahcutter says:

      I’d love a Witcher 4 that was just a newbie witcher of your own creation wandering around doing contracts and getting mixed up in weird little localized stories.

      If there was to be a pre-determined protagonist and overarching narrative, let it be Ciri. I like the idea of an aged Geralt as someone you might encounter while on the road hunting monsters.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I’ve read other comments too, about how Ciri would be a natural focus to continue the Witcher series. Especially if one of the alternate endings is made canon. And the other one could be fudged.

        On the other hand, she’s basically a swordfighter with just one, massively overpowered special ability — that teleporting and time-shifting trick. She never went through the Witcher mutations, so she doesn’t use potions or cast any other spells. I think Ciri wouldn’t be Ciri if all that other stuff was tacked on, and her one special ability in combat would have to be massively reduced at the start of a new game.

  15. anita152 says:

    I­­ a­­­­m­­­­ m­­­­a­­­­­­­­k­­­­i­­­­n­­­­­­­­g­­­­ a ­­­­go­­­­o­­­­d sa­­­­l­­­­a­­­­r­­­­y f­­­­r­­­­om­­­­ ho­­­­­­­­me ­­­­15­­­­00­­­­-3­­­­00­­­­0/­­­­ D­­­­ol­­­­ler­­­­s w­­­­ee­­­­k , ­­­­wh­­­­ic­­­­h ­­­­is­­­­ a­­­­ma­­­­zi­­­­ng­­­­, ­­­­un­­­­de­­­­r ­­­­a ­­­­ye­­­­ar­­­­ a­­­­go­­­­ I­­­­ w­­­­as­­­­ j­­­­ob­­­­le­­­­ss­­­­ i­­­­n ­­­­a ­­­­ho­­­­rr­­­­ib­­­­le­­­­ e­­­­co­­­­no­­­­my­­­­. ­­­­I ­­­­th­­­­an­­­­k ­­­­Go­­­­d ­­­­ev­­­­er­­­­y ­­­­da­­­­y ­­­­I ­­­­wa­­­­s ­­­­bl­­­­es­­­­se­­­­d ­­­­wi­­­­th­­­­ ­­­­th­­­­ese in­­­­s­­­­tru­­­­ctio­­­­ns­­­­ a­­­­nd­­­­ n­­­­ow­­­­ i­­­­t’­­­­s ­­­­my ­­­­duty­­­­ t­­­­o ­­­­pay­­­­ i­­­­t ­­­­for­­­­wa­­­­rd ­­­­and­­­­ sh­­­­ar­­­­e ­­­­it ­­­­wit­­­­h E­­­­ver­­­­yon­­­­e, ­­­­He­­­­re­­­­ i­­­­s ­­­­I ­­­­st­­­­ar­­­­te­­­­d. ­­­­..

  16. MisterFurious says:

    I always viewed these expanded editions and director’s cuts as a way for developers to double dip and expand their profits with minimal work whilst screwing over the people that bought their games early.

    • Paul says:

      Yeah those who got those games early and then get the enhanced editions for free, like with Witcher, Wasteland or Divinity, really get screwed over horribly.

      Wait what ?

      • malkav11 says:

        Must be thinking of stuff like Sleeping Dogs or Metro Redux. Or Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin.

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    gritz says:

    Has anyone found a comprehensive list of changes and features in some of these new editions? I’ve looked all over for a D:OS changelog but can’t find anything.

    I’m debating about whether to continue my 4 player campaign in Chapter 2, or to just wait for the new edition.

  18. Frank says:

    You know what super-duper edition of an RPG I’d like to see? A Fallout 3 that actually works, like, on a real computer that exists in these modern times. It’s f***ing crazy that Bethesda can let that game die (by not updating it to run on Windows 7+). I only realized the incompatibility this week.

    Anyway, anything anyone has to say against Bethesda from now on, I’ll join in. This is EA-level bulls***.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m on Windows 8.1 and I just played Fallout 3 a couple days ago. It’s not easy to get working (and I did whatever I did to get it running a couple of years ago so I can’t guide you through it, unfortunately), but it’s definitely possible.

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    Neurotic says:

    ” it did sometimes have a tendency to be vague or expect you to figure out where you were meant to go and what you were meant to do by process of elimination – specifically, where you could dare venture without getting splattered by high level goons.”

    This!