Posts Tagged ‘Focus’

White Wolf and the World of Darkness revival: “Asking ‘when will you rage?’ has never been more relevant”

Last week, I sat down with Martin Ericsson, lead storyteller at White Wolf, publishers of the World of Darkness RPG systems and interwoven storylines. It’s a strange and exciting time for the company, who are about to step back into the spotlight after a decade-plus drought of digital games since 2004’s much-loved Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. For much of that time Ericsson and colleagues were locked into a licensing deal with CCP, working on the ill-fated and never released World of Darkness MMORPG, but now they’re ready to begin a new generation of stories.

We talked about the recently announced Werewolf: The Apocalypse game and how its werewolves act as nature’s remedy to mankind’s ills, as well as that MMO and the broader shape of White Wolf’s future. Along the way we discussed punching Nazis, why now is the perfect time to get angry, and how World of Darkness is about the here and now as much as its own mythology. This isn’t just one game, it’s the rebirth of a world.

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Call Of Cthulhu’s horrors might be too familiar

Right near the beginning of the Call of Cthulhu [official site] hands-off demo I saw last week, an angry caretaker confronts the player character. Suddenly Lovecraft Country felt a bit Scooby Doo. The game’s central mystery, or at least its initial hook, centres around a family who died when an accidental fire raged through their massive island home. Old man caretaker doesn’t think you should be poking around inside.

Once you do get inside, there are clues to investigate, unnerving paintings to shatter your sanity, and monsters to hide from. It’s the caretaker that sticks with me though, and that gives the clearest impression as to how the whole thing might play out.

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Styx: Shards of Darkness is a vomit-y fantasy Hitman

Styx was a game in need of a little refinement. You wanted to take the little oik and clean his fingernails, boot him into a bathtub, and scrub him down til he shone like an emerald. In his first adventure, the titular goblin (he’d smirk at being called titular) did some decent stealth, stabbing and scurrying through a handful of levels that were solid if unspectacular. It all worked fairly well but it didn’t pack any real surprises.

Pleasingly, the sequel Shards of Darkness [official site] looks like it might deliver a polished version of the original, though some of the rough edges are still noticeable in the opening level I played last week.

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The Surge brings limb-theft to the Dark Souls party

“It’s sci-fi Dark Souls”, said everyone who had anything to say about The Surge [official site]. I was at a preview event for the publisher Focus and, as happens at these things, journalists would gather in groups and discuss what they’d seen. I wasn’t playing The Surge until the end of the first day and lots of people had already seen it. “It’s sci-fi Dark Souls”, they’d nod to each other. “You know, like Dark Souls. But sci-fi.”

Fine. But is it a good sci-fi Dark Souls?

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Necromunda has bullet casings the size of tower blocks

Necromunda [official site] is finally coming to PC, with the subtitle Underhive Wars. It’s a game set in the underbelly of the factory planets that power the eternal crusades of the Warhammer 40K universe. Players control rival gangs, skirmishing in the shadows of giant machinery. I spoke to Rogue Factor about their upcoming adaptation of this long lost Games Workshop tabletop favourite coming, and here are the important points, including details on the movement system, camera, level architecture and INFINITE PIPES.

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Greedfall is Spiders’ colonial fantasy RPG

Spiders, the team behind Mars: War Logs, Bound by Flame and The Technomancer, are working on a new RPG that goes by the name Greedfall [official site]. The title may be a callback of sorts to Silverfall, an action-RPG that many of the studio’s initial developers worked on at Monte Cristo shortly before forming their new studio. Like that earlier title, Greedfall has a technology vs nature vibe, depicting an island paradise that has been discovered by colonial forces from several distinct nations. You play as a neutral, able to ally yourself with either the nature-loving natives, or any of the nations seeking to exploit the island’s resources. It’s all make-believe, with magic and monsters and a fictional map, but the art style and military tech is 17th century European in style.

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A Plague Tale: Innocence has gaming’s best rats

It’s a strange thing to be known for, but A Plague Tale: Innocence [official site] will almost certainly be That One Game With The Brilliant Rats. As soon as footage starts to spread around the internet, it’s the rats that people will settle on because they are the entire point of the exercise. With all apologies to the two kids who are the actual protagonists, sneaking through a plague-ridden medieval French city and avoiding both inquisitors and rats, it’s the swarms that steal the show. Both as a game mechanic and a technical feat, the rats are king. It makes Dishonored look like a petting zoo.
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