It’s a desktop, it’s an RPG, it’s Kingsway

The throwback thrills of mashing monsters and arranging a cluttered Windows 95 desktop combine in Kingsway [official site], which launched yesterday. Andrew Morrish’s roguelikelike action-RPG is presented as an operating system where all aspects of dungeoneering are spread across the desktop and so many windows. Popups, shortcuts, folders, and progress bars all show little bits of the game, so you’ll likely want to dust off those window-arranging skills as well as your numbercrunching visor. I don’t know if the dungeon-crawling is any good but the presentation is cute. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t expect more of Telltale’s Wolfamongus or Borderlands any time soon

Update: Well ho ho ho don’t I look a fool. Telltale have since announced a new season of Wolfamongus, along with more Batman and The Walking Dead. But no mention of new Borderlands, sadly.

If you’ve been hoping to hear more from Telltale Games about new seasons of The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands, don’t hold your breath unless you’re willing to pass out over and over for an indefinite — and possibly endless — time. After That There Internet You Get Nowadays became excited about a marketing hint internauts took to be about an impending Wolfamongus announcement, Telltale marketman Job Stauffer stepped in with a hose to cool everyone’s jets. Nope, it sounds like Telltale won’t release me of either any time soon (if they ever do?). Read the rest of this entry »

Titanfall 2 adding cooperative wave survival mode

A four-player cooperative wave survival mode is coming free to Titanfall 2 [official site] next week. ‘Frontier Defense’ mode will have players defending a doodad as enemies flood in, buying helpful gadgets as you go. New maps for other modes are coming too.

The developers have also announced that the game’s active player count is still growing, eight months after launch. That’s pretty great. It’s almost as if players like games which get bigger and better over time with free updates, rather than ones which divide and drain players with a swarm of paid DLC. Who would’ve guessed, eh?

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Communal Combat Mission: Turn 5

Every year The Flare Path runs a communal Combat Mission skirmish in which RPS readers attempt to outwit and outfight CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this year’s scrap centres on a German-held Baltic port. It’s been four turns since the commenter-controlled Soviets left their deployment zones, and things are just starting to hot up… Read the rest of this entry »

Humble selling best Telltale games for 15 smackeroos

Oh boy, have we got sales news for you, vast gaping maw of collective consumerism. Isn’t it a beautiful day for buying things? The Humbler Bundlers have put together a bunch of Telltale’s better games for $15. Yes, everyone has probably already got their critically acclaimed zombies ‘n’ conversation games based on the Walking Dead. But has everybody got Batman? Has everybody got Game of Thrones? Has everybody got…

*squints at notes*

“Bone: The Great Cow Race”?
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Premature Evaluation: Sælig

saelig6

Every week we send Brendan into the dark age of early access. This time, the old English village life of Sælig [Steam page]

Sælig, we are told at the beginning of this game, is an old English word that means “blessed, fortunate, prosperous, happy”. All fine goals in the harsh world of the dark ages, where the best you can hope for is a good fire and a full belly. But by the end of my brief time with this Anglo-Saxon household management sim, I would be none of these things. I would be “annoyed, discontent, bored, cheerless”. To keep up the old English, I would be wansælig.
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How Spirit hopes to bring humanity to AI

Spirit AI

Sitting in a Bath tearoom having just wiped the lemon curd from my fingers I was tasked with interrogating a robot about a murder. The interrogation scene was the GDC demo for Spirit AI [official site] – middleware geared around bringing more expressive characters to gaming as well as building safer and more inclusive online environments. Both hinge around the same set of technologies. They each look at language to understand interactions but one uses that understanding to build meaningful encounters with AI characters and the other uses it to keep an eye on how players are behaving towards one another.

I was sitting with Mitu Khandaker, creative director at Spirit AI. You might remember her work as the developer, The Tiniest Shark, on the game Redshirt or, if you’re in academia, she’s an assistant arts professor at NYU Game Center and holds a PhD in games and the aesthetics of interactivity. She was watching me play through the demo, using natural language to try to figure out how a man called Martin died and whether the robot is culpable. The demo was by Bossa Studios, makers of Surgeon Simulator, and it gave me a limited amount of time to chat with the robot – me typing and the robot speaking into the tearoom with a female voice in a Scottish accent – before asking for my verdict on her guilt. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect lead Casey Hudson returns to BioWare as general manager

Former Mass Effect project director Casey Hudson is returning to BioWare to become the studio’s general manager, coming back from three years in wandering the desert of Microsoft. He’ll replace Aaryn Flynn, who is leaving the studio entirely after seventeen years. Hudson left BioWare in August 2014, after helping lay the foundations of the game that became the Destiny-lookin’ action-RPG Anthem. After several games that haven’t quite clicked, can Hudson get the studio back on track? Read the rest of this entry »

Total War: Warhammer II waggles Norsca race DLC as early purchase incentive

Norsca

My partner is literally playing Warhammer in the living room with a friend right now. That means I’ve probably got enough ambient Warhammer to write an entire post about Warhammer. “Age of Sigmar” is a Warhammer phrase. So is 40K. I also remember that guy with all the eyes. The Chancellor of Eyes we call him. Hangs out with the Lord Relictor and Sir Doots And His Trumpet in the Silver Tower. OH. He is called the Gaunt Summoner.

Anyway, if you pre-order Total War: Warhammer II [official site] or buy it on the first week of release you get the Norsca Race Pack for the first game free of charge when that particular DLC comes out on 10 August.

As the famous saying goes, “In the far future when someone turns the lights out and it’s scary there’s a war. Only war. In the dark.” Read the rest of this entry »

Foolish football: Behold The Kickmen coming Thursday

If football is the biggest sport in England, pretending that you don’t know anything about football comes a close second. Dan Marshall, the creator of The Swindle and the bad half of Ben & Dan, is a fan of the second. His Behold the Kickmen [official site] is an arcade kick ’em up which gets football gloriously wrong, and it’s launching this Thursday. It’ll run you about three quid. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy Of creating citizen stories in Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines [official site] is a game in which every single citizen has a name, home and (if you’re playing it reasonably effectively) job, but nobody matters in the slightest. For a game with such a chummy, chipper tone, it’s weirdly cold. Dozens of people might leave town in protest at your mayoral ineptitude, or tens of thousands of people might die in a freak sewage accident, and not only does the game not care, it doesn’t even try to make you care either.

There are eight million stories in the reasonably well-developed city, but if I want a human connection to any of them, I have to build it myself.
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Football Manager has secured the Bundesliga license

bundesliga

Gary Lineker once summed football up as neatly as anyone ever has: “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” Lineker was wrong, of course. The goalkeepers rarely chase the ball.

The quote is even more inaccurate when applied to Football Manager [official site]. There, football is a simple game where twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, an alternate universe, corrupted copy of the Germans always wins. Football Manager, you see, has not had access to the Bundesliga license for many years, which means if you want official team and player names, you need a mod. Starting in 2018/19 and for the four seasons (presumably with possibility of an extension) following, Sega will have an official German license as well.

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Might & Magic Showdown shutting down

Might & Magic Showdown [official site], Ubisoft’s faux-tabletop wargame where players can paint their own miniature warmen, will shut down without even leaving early access. Fraser Brown said it was a lovely painting tool handcuffed to a rubbo game, so this isn’t much of a surprise. Ubisoft have already pulled the game from sale and will shut down the servers on July 31st, making the game unplayable. They do at least plan to offer full refunds to everyone who wants one, though do be warned that you’ve only got until the 31st to get your £16 back. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Mortal Kombat?

what are they all looking at? Why these poses? WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE NETHER REALM

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

I’ve been playing Injustice 2 recently (sadly, not on PC) and even though it’s probably quite rubbish if you’re a proper fighting game fan, the kind who could have been a concert pianist given your digital dexterity, but if you just want to watch superheroes biff one another, it’s top stuff. Mostly, it’s the loot system that makes it so compelling. It’s all silly boxes that spew out random bits of costume and stats, but that’s enough to keep me coming back again and again.

The studio behind Injustice 2 is led by Ed Boon, creator of Mortal Kombat, and all of this punching and kicking has got me thinking about how much I loved Scorpion back in the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Mode 7 to publish planetary settling sim The Colonists

colonists

Robots should be either adorable or terrifying. That’s my view and I’m sticking with it. Sure, it’s probably more important that they’re angular and efficient when they’re building cars, or that they’re a bit more suited to their work than this poor fella, but the little bots in The Colonists [official site] look like they’ll combine adorable automation and industrial efficiency.

Frozen Synapse folks Mode 7 will be publishing The Colonists, described as “a settlement building game inspired by classic titles like The Settlers and the Anno series”, and it’s the work of one-person studio Codebyfire.

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Lovely peaceful adventure Yonder released

If you fancy exploring, fishing, farming, befriending, cooking, and crafting, while saving a land without fighting anyone, have a gander at Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles [official site]. Launched this morning, it’s a mighty pretty and nonviolent open-world adventure which looks to smoosh bits of games like Stardew Valley and Zelda together. Only with no fighting. No, the way to save everyone is simply by helping people with their tasks.

Our John is having a bash to tell us all Wot He Thinks later but, for now, he tells me he found it “immediately incredibly calming and serene.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ys Seven coming to PC this summer

Nihon Falcom’s 2009 game Ys Seven [official site] is making the jump from the PSP handheld to PC. We’ve been slowly catching up on the series on PC, and the next one will actually launch on the same day as its western console counterparts, so it’s nice to fill in the gaps. I’ve not played any Ys but do hear good things from folks who do enjoy grinding through Japanese action-RPGs. Here, watch these teensy folks scrap: Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Assembly clarify DLC plans for Warhammer 2

More beasties, less mini-campaigns. In response to fan feedback and to avoid some of the criticism that the Chaos Warriors stirred up, Creative Assembly have outlined some changes to their pre- and post-release plans for Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site]. Brand director Rob Bartholomew has written a blog post explaining all (except what the actual preorder bonus will be, natch). Acknowledging the negative response that the Chaos Warriors DLC stirred up in some quarters, Bartholomew goes into detail about the reasoning behind “Early Adopter Bonuses”, both in terms of delivery and content. He also says that there are “more historical releases planned in the next twelve months than fantasy”.

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Splash Damage working with World of Tanks company on something warnew

Splash Damage, the studio behind Enemy Territory and Dirty Bomb, have joined forces with the World of Tanks/Warplanes/Warships lords at Wargaming to work on “new gaming experiences”. No specific game is announced yet but huh, I am always curious to see what Splash Damage do. It seems not impossible that Splash Damage might make some sort of objective-driven multiplayer FPS in the Enemy Territory mould, and that Wargaming would name it World of Warsomething. The question is: which Warthing? World of Warriors. World of Warmen. World of Warfaces. World of Warwars. World of Warworldwarwarworld. We just don’t know. Read the rest of this entry »

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 4

Every year in The Flare Path I run a communal Combat Mission skirmish in which RPS readers attempt to outwit and outfight CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this year’s scrap centres on a German-held Baltic port. It’s been three turns since the commenter-controlled Soviets left their deployment zones, and things are just starting to hot up… Read the rest of this entry »