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Richard Cobbett

9 months ago

Feature: Back to Albion

The lessons Of Fable and what we want from a sequel

According to the rumour-mills, we may be due another Fable in the world of Albion. A Fable 4, if you will. It's easy to shrug that off as no big deal. Fable is arguably the series most talked about for what it doesn't do rather than what it pulls off, not helped by the PT Barnum level overpromises of a certain Mr P. Molyneux. Plant…

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1 year ago

Making Eye Contact In VR

They say eyes are the windows to the soul. At the very least, eye contact is one of the most intimate forms of connection two people can make with their underwear on. Valve spent a fortune ensuring that looking into Alyx Vance's eyes wouldn't be robotic and awkward. A big reason for Vampire: Bloodlines' characters being so successful is that they, likewise, hook you in…

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In Praise Of World Of Warcraft: Legion

I often feel sorry for the World of Warcraft team. You're never far off a million complaints about everything from balance to nostalgic musings about how much better things used to be to the lingering "Wait, how is that clunky old thing still getting so much attention?" whenever anyone says anything nice about it. Today though, I want to put my positive hat on and…

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Feature: End Of Quest

The RPG Scrollbars: A Farewell Dip Into The Archives

It is said that the greatest test is that of time. Actually, I'm not sure if anyone's said that, except me just then. But that's fine. I'm sure everyone will remember. Anyway, in the final edition of The RPG Scrollbars, let's take a look back to see what the people of the past said about what was the present but is now, by the laws…

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Feature: The MMOs that came back from the dead

The RPG Scrollbars: Second Chance Servers

It is a truth universally accepted as a buggerance that nothing good lasts forever. The server of your favourite online game will go down. History will move on. The Grim Reaper will move in to slash the network server connection, mumbling about what an obvious waste it is of his talents. Ah, but in the world of digital, things are only over when everyone agrees…

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Feature: SHODAN at the Better Than OK Corral

The RPG Scrollbars: The Many Faces Of Villainy

Not only does a great hero need a great villain, villains are usually just so much more fun. Whether it's the tortured lost soul who can only find peace by destroying the universe or the cheery psychopath looking to see the world burn, it's no wonder that many of the greatest films of all time have been defined at least as much by the baddie…

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Feature: Faster than a bard shot out of a cannon

The RPG Scrollbars: Quests Done Quick II

It's Summer Games Done Quick time again! You know what that means. The final seal has been broken, the rivers are turning to blood, and High Dread Azagorath is free to destroy the land. But while people wait, they're doing speed-runs. And in celebration of that, I thought I'd take a dig through the archives for a few particularly impressive and interesting ones that take…

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Feature: Gronda! Gronda!

The RPG Scrollbars: Gameshow For A LARP

This week saw the return of one my all-time favourite TV programmes, Channel 4's The Crystal Maze - the knockabout silliness of a team, thankfully not usually including Louie Spence, bopping around four time-zones (Industrial, Aztec, Medieval and Futuristic) in a quest to recover magic time crystals, win distinctly underwhelming prizes, and ideally not look like a complete arse. It's a wonderful show. But, sadly,…

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Feature: Might need to squish up a bit

The RPG Scrollbars: Universes Built For Sharing

For a few horrible minutes during E3, it looked like Bethesda might seriously claim that The Elder Scrolls and Fallout were part of the same universe. Thankfully, not. Despite this being an era where Sony wants a Ghostbusters universe and Universal thinks demeaning the Universal Monsters by linking them with a top-sekrit monstah hunting group led by Dr Jekyll is anything other than schoolboy fan-fiction,…

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Feature: World of Absence

The RPG Scrollbars: In search of urban fantasy

There's a real urban fantasy gap in the gaming industry, and it's never made much sense. We see a thousand Tolkienesque fantasy games a minute (rough napkin calculation) and the future's typically so bright, even the lens flares need shades. Yet when it comes to that line where the mundane meets the magical, mostly what we've had for the last few years is false hope.…

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Feature: Getting your keks

The RPG Scrollbars: Language Of Uncommon Tongues

The sign of a truly hardcore world is that it has its own languages. Klingon. Dothraki. Elvish. The term for these is 'Conlangs' - aka 'constructed languages' - and whether you see them as a vital part of world-building or a joke-in-waiting on The Big Bang Theory (they're due a third one one of these days), there's more to them than just slapping together some…

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Feature: Sympathy for the damned

The RPG Scrollbars: The Fall Of Tyranny

Kickstarter's been pretty good for RPGs. We may not have seen the next big leap yet - Divinity: Original Sin 2 is looking pretty damn special, mind - but it's certainly breathed new life into the classics. Wasteland and Pillars of Eternity are both returning. Numenera went down well, despite a little over-promising. Divinity was superb. Have I left anyone out? (Oh yeah, don't forget…

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Feature: HP Source

The RPG Scrollbars: A Meal Fit For A Hero

"mage food pls" Gladly! Speaking as a carbon-based lifeform with the need to convert sustenance into continued existence and also poop, I consider myself quite the food devotee. I'm not sure what I'd do without it, except to curl up and die. This, of course, is where most RPG characters have the advantage over us, or at least, have for the last twenty years. Who…

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Feature: Touring different types of worlds

The RPG Scrollbars: Cool Setting, Bro!

The problem with fantasy is that it's often not very... well... fantastical. Far too often, even brand new worlds feel like Tolkein or Warcraft or Star Wars with a few twists, and the serial numbers scraped off. The good thing about this is that when a game does take us somewhere new, it feels all the more special for it. This week then, a quick…

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2 years ago

Feature: A bit like Wikipedia, but on paper

The RPG Scrollbars: The CRPG Book Project

Since the invention of the RPG, there have been many, many RPGs. Maybe too many to count. At least six! Let's see. Ultima VII. Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse. The Magic Candle III. Faery Tale Adventure II: Halls of the Dead. Two or three more, probably, and that's if you don't count Quest For Glory. But who has time to play them all? Oh, if only…

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Feature: Words read: 2 / 1921

The RPG Scrollbars: Saving World Quests

Previously in this column, somehow not taken up by the industry as of yet, I suggested that the word 'quest' was being somewhat damaged of late by the fact that it can be anything from 'Kill the Great Red Dragon' to 'bring me some orange juice.' I advocated a system where instead, tasks were split between two basic categories - what used to justifiably be…

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Feature: It 'aint easy beating green

The RPG Scrollbars: Back To World of Warcraft: Legion

Like many, my relationship to World of Warcraft [official site] has shifted over the years, from second home (though never second job, unlike many) to an occasional jaunt to go catch up with my Undead Mage and see the latest fun stuff and twists and turns in Blizzard's ongoing demonic soap opera. Sure, it's a theme park, but so's Disneyworld. I like making return trips…

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Feature: The long awaited follow-up to Forgotten Realms: Baldur's Gate

The RPG Scrollbars: Predicting Planescape

If you go down to planescape.com today, you're sure of a big surprise. Unless you're expecting a countdown, in which case, it's that. What could it mean? Well, if you open the page source, you'll see a secret message hidden in there - 0x50 0x53 0x54 0x45 0x45. Convert that from ASCII numbers to letters and you get PSTEE. The two most likely translations of…

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Feature: Uneasy Ryder

The RPG Scrollbars: Before Mass Effect Andromeda

Since the original trailers, some players have had questions about Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] and some of its details. In the name of answers, we present this snippet from the official prequel novel. Available March 28th from all good bookshelves. From where Director Tann stood, the curves of the Nexus stretched out like the wings of an angel, embracing Andromeda and all its potential.…

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