Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Best RPG of 2017: Downfall

Occasionally, writing part-time about CRPGs has its benefits. Developers frequently write to me asking if I'd like to take a look and comment on their RPGs in development. I usually say no to such requests--I don't generally have the time--but this one sounded so good from the one-paragraph description that developer Henry Lancaster sent me, I decided to give it a try. Even though it isn't finished, it's one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Henry's company is currently shopping for a publisher, but they have a lot of interest and the game will probably have a 2017 release.

I couldn't get permission to show any screenshots, but I did get permission to offer the first preliminary review on the Internet. I can guarantee that I'm going to plan a week off for this game's release date.

This is my preliminary review of Downfall: End of an Empire by Lancaster Media.

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Xaoje: empire of despair. Five hundred years after Xanmaran, the God-Emperor, conquered and unified the 17 kingdoms, most people live without hope. The Precept of Maran teaches that mortal life is meant solely to strengthen souls for the Great War in the afterlife, and to this end, the church enforces a strict caste system, brutal working hours and conditions, and crippling taxation. Many would oppose--even overthrow--the corrupt and merciless Empire, but how does one resist an enemy who can read minds?

Many people have reason to revolt: a child of wealth, disgusted by her family's abuses of its position; a dock laborer whose family was slaughtered by the ruthless Zaüd Seekers; a city guard, haunted by the orders he has carried out; the last survivor of an older religion destroyed by the Maranians. But only one will--through design or luck--come into possession of a vessel containing the soul of Nakata, an assassin of an ancient order. Not strong enough to possess the character, Nakata can only impart some of her will and power. Finding they have common goals, the player and Nakata join minds, skills, and resources to bring about Downfall.

Downfall: End of an Empire takes place in a large city--the capital of the Maranian Empire--and its surrounding environs. The player takes on two roles: the origin character (drawn from one of the scenarios above) and the character he or she becomes when he or she puts on Nakata's cape and cowl and takes to the streets in disguise. The player can choose any name from the origin character but chooses from one of seven names for the assassin; this allows the in-game dialogue to refer to the character by name while still preserving some sense of freedom in character creation.

Although standard weapon-based combat is possible, the game stresses assassination and stealth as its primary mechanic. After the origin story, background, and possession by Nakata, the game becomes completely open. The player must topple the empire by assassinating (or otherwise eliminating) its leaders and functionaries, from the lowliest tax collector to the Emperor himself, but it's completely up to the player to determine who those people are, and in what order to target them. Through research, scouting, reading, listening, NPC dialogue, and other means of acquiring knowledge, he learns who controls what in the Empire and develops his own plan for working his way to the top. The story changes dynamically and plays out very differently depending on the order of execution.

The key is that every assassination produces a reaction. An individual guard may simply be replaced, although the Empire has a limited pool to work from. A mid-level bureaucrat might be succeeded by a more cruel and efficient one--though if the player assassinates several holders of the same office in a row, the Empire may have to leave it unfilled. Eliminate the captain of the guards, and the resulting confusion on the streets may give you a few nights of breathing room--or it might lead to a squad of Zaüd Seekers scouring the poor quarters and killing indiscriminately.

Like any good RPG, the main mission isn't the entire plot. The player needs funds, resources, allies, and practice, and to that end, he or she can take quests from a variety of factions with compatible goals, including a feeble but growing Rebellion, agents from the neighboring Ulanic Republic, the Great Houses, the Merchants' Guild, and the Custodial Confederacy--a secret alliance of mid-level bureaucrats who resent the power of the Zaüd Seekers. As the character gains influence within these factions, he can send them on various economic and military missions, not unlike Dragon Age: Inquisition's "war table," but based on game time rather than real time, and with consequences for specific NPCs the player might care about, rather than just abstract results.
 
In tone, the environment is similar to George Orwell's 1984 or Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, with a palpable sense of oppressive despair that comes from an immortal ruler who keeps a populace under constant surveillance. In mechanics, the game merges some of the best titles of the recent decade. Think of open-world first-person exploration and inventory similar to Skyrim, an origin story similar to Dragon Age: Origins, NPC dialogue and relationships similar to most Bioware titles, and a stealth and combat mechanic reminiscent of Dishonored.

The half a dozen sectors (including an underground) that make up the capital aren't large, but they're dense. Imagine a city the size of the Imperial City in Oblivion but with as many enter-able structures as the entire game. You find yourself revisiting the same areas frequently, but it's not boring the way it is in, say, Dragon Age II, because you get to experience the visible and audible changes that your efforts have wrought.

As the player is successful in objectives, he or she gains experience, which can be spent directly on skills and abilities. Although a composite character is possible, the game encourages the player to specialize in one or two of five "paths":

  • The Path of Blades stresses traditional weapon-based combat, including melee weapons, archery, and defense.
  • The Path of Traps has a number of skills that allow the player to set both simple and complex traps for the chosen targets after studying their routines and movement paths.
  • The Path of Poison allows the player to specialize in alchemical skills, including poisons of direct and indirect effect. Pour a toxin in the target's drink, dust some powder on his front door knob, frenzy an innocent guard into attacking him for you, or frenzy the target into attacking an innocent--and leading him to be cut down by bewildered guards.
  • The Path of Guile is about speechcraft and persuasion. Get unsuspecting allies of your target to spill secrets and convince others into doing your dirty work. Eliminate targets by planting evidence that gets them fired, arrested, or executed rather than drawing suspicion to you.
  • The Path of Sorcery is about recovering Kata's memories of the arcane arts in the ancient kingdoms. Magic is not flashy and destructive in Downfall; there are no fireballs or meteor swarms. Instead, magic imparts subtle but effective bonuses to the actions taken in the other paths, such as improved weapon skill, more dangerous traps, more deadly poison, and more persuasive cajoling. Different arcane talents can cause distractions, weaken staircases, and even read minds (why should the Zaüd Seekers have all the fun)?

Common to all paths are skills necessary to stay alive and hidden, such as pocketpicking, sneaking, and lockpicking, all of which are handled with controls that blend character attributes with player skill. In between missions, the player can burglarize homes and businesses for equipment and gold. Thefts from the Empire itself, of course, count against its resources and further the player's goals.

The game is not organized into "missions" but rather "nights." Each night, the player has a fixed amount of time to accomplish whatever objectives he or she has set. The next day, the Empire reacts to what he or she has accomplished. That reaction might help set the plans for the next night.

Surviving a night can be difficult. The game bucks the typical RPG by providing few ways to quickly heal. There are no healing spells, and healing balms, salves, splints, and bandages don't work instantly. The character has a health meter, and individual parts of the body can be wounded or broken, with consequences such as slowed movement and reduced visibility. These wounds heal slowly on their own--faster than in real life, of course, but extremely slowly in typical game time--and it's easily possible to bungle an objective early in the evening and have to cut the night short, or do something with limited risk for the rest of the night. Players are encouraged to role-play injuries and other misfortunes rather than simply reloading. Since the player can only save in between nights, reloading isn't as useful as in other games anyway.

Fortunately, there's plenty to do that doesn't involve combat, as the player must use stealth, eavesdropping, burglary, and dialogue to uncover the Empire's secrets. And there are plenty of those. As the game goes on, the player learns that not all is as it seems in the Empire; new facts and perspectives call the very backstory into question. A player who doesn't care about this kind of thing can ignore it, but if you're the type of player willing to commit 4 hours to a burglary mission just to get your hands on a scroll filling in a bit more of Xanmaran's secret biography, this is the game for you. 

While creeping about at night, the player also has to keep up his primary guise. The Seekers are constantly trying to identify the mysterious assassin, probing the minds of anyone who might know anything, and a "Discovery" meter keeps tabs on how close they're coming to fingering the player. Remember: the Empire operates by a strict caste system by which everyone has a job and a place. If the nobleman's child is absent too long from the home and fails to meet social obligations, if the guard stops reporting for guard duty, and so forth, people around him or her start to get suspicious, and it's only a matter of time before the Seekers read that suspicion. Other actions, like getting spotted by guards or Seekers during missions, also serve to increase the "Discovery" bar, while taking a break for a few nights, taking off the cloak and cowl, and checking in to "home base" will cause the "Discovery" bar to drop. Checking into home base also serves as a mechanism for advancing an origin-specific plot and series of quests in which the player will have to make difficult role-playing decisions if he or she wants to maintain the disguise.

The endgame is triggered when the "Discovery" bar reaches the maximum and the identity of the character is revealed to the Empire and everyone else. The player can force this outcome relatively early in the game (by, for example, openly attacking a group of Zaud Seekers); otherwise, a few plot paths will make it inevitable. The nature and difficulty of the final missions, as well as what kind of city arises from the ashes, are dependent entirely on what the player accomplished during the game--number and type of assassinations, number of resources drained from the Empire, and allies made in other factions. When the cry goes up that the assassin is going for the Emperor himself, who will be in front of him, and who will be behind him?

****

Now that you've read all that, I hope you're as excited for Downfall as I am. Unfortunately, I lied above. There is no Henry Lancaster, and the game is not in development. It exists solely as described on this page. This was the result of a challenge from Irene to conceptualize the type of RPG that I would most like to play. I made up the proper names on the fly in seconds; they could be improved.

Did you like it? Someone go and make it. 

127 comments:

  1. You are a tricksy devil!

    But that does sound like a pretty neat idea for a game.

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    1. I often think about Morrowind, where there are a few places that you don't have to enter and search, but if you do, you find books that greatly flesh out the game's backstory. So few games reward exploration with information and lore as opposed to just combat and wealth.

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    2. I haven't played Morrowind yet; it's on my list to play it with you when you get to it.

      But I have played Oblivion and Skyrim and enjoyed those very much, but never felt that the books added all that much. There was backstory, but it didn't seem to inform the word so much as be a vehicle for the developers to throw stuff in because they know you won't read it all. (The books in Witcher 3 feel much the same.)

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    3. Ahh morrowind I spent weeks on that game looking for clues about dwemer and finally found the last of the dwemer jub jnf bs ab uryc ng nyy fvapr ur jnfa'g rira ba gur fnzr cynar bs rkvfgrapr jura gur Qjrzre qvfnccrnerq.

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    4. I had the same experience. I remember one character who told me something like, "I sure would like to know what happened to the Dwemer." Because quests in Morrowind aren't signaled with a bum-bum-BUM and don't have quest markers, I wasn't sure whether this was a quest or not. But I wanted to know what happened to them, too, so I scanned the map that came with the game for everything that looked like a Dwemer ruin and explored ALL of them, rejoicing every time I found a new book or other clue that explained part of the mystery. I never fully "solved" it, but the process was exhilaration, and something that I've hardly ever experienced in another game.

      Joe, I agree that the books in the last two games didn't add as much to the game as in Morrowind, but I still feel they were pretty important. If you don't read the brief histories of the empire or the 4-volume series on the rise of the Thalmor, much of Skyrim's backstory is unexplained. Almost every quest and location has some associated book that adds some additional context. They're not NECESSARY, I grant you, but reading them adds a lot to the game, at least to me.

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    5. https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/4stkho/help_me_develope_my_games/

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  2. I know it's not particularly useful, but... yes please.

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  3. The dynamic assassinations remind me (and probably not coincidentally) of my favorite part of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the part of the Assassin's whodunit quest where you have to kill all the inhabitants of a house who are all currently doing a murder mystery. Watching them descend into panic and attacking each other was a really rewarding part of being a sadistic killer.

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    1. I wish Bethesda had invested as much effort in role-playing opportunities for the "good" quests as they did for the Dark Brotherhood. It's pretty sad that murdering helpless people presents the best storylines of TES series. At least in Morrowind, the Morag Tong had a sense of honor about them and you got the impression that the assassinations were serving a good cause.

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  4. That was a lousy thing to do, Addict. If you'd started off your preface with something like your endnote, it would have been a fun read. As is, I just feel cheated and a little betrayed.

    You have enough credit with us not to need to pull that kind of crap. We'd have read your idea. You didn't have to trick us into doing it.

    Shame on you.

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    1. Eh, I'm disappointed too that the game isn't in development, but sometimes to get an accurate reaction to something you need to present it in a special way.

      That said, if you truly are upset even though this was presented on a blog that is obviously for entertainment purposes (about decades old games, written under a pseudonym, containing copious humor), then I think you have a rather... interesting relationship with the media you consume.

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    2. I expected a lot of "aw, Addict. You got me." But I confess that I didn't anticipate anyone being actively angry about it.

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    3. Actually I was kind of pleased - reading the description I saw a game that seemed way too ambitious for a game still shopping for a publisher and a 2017 release.

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    4. I'm not angry *now* but with your reveal you had me cursing. In a coffee shop. (Nobody's paying attention.) I thought it was both neat that you were including a game preview, and it also sounded pretty cool. Since I'm generally playing older games, this is the first one in ages (Dragon Age 1?) that I've looked forward to.

      Not that I'm holding it against you. Also, just glad to see a post. I've been mentally inserting a comma into your "Brief, Moving Break" and laughing that the break turned out to be neither brief nor emotionally gripping (for me). Yeah, that's how I work.

      For the record, I did make a game once. It's an MMO, though, so I've generally been quiet about it here, because one, you're not going to get to 2006 for a while, and two, you've stayed away from them anyway because of the addiction factor. Also, it was at the limit of what I, as one person, could do. For something like you describe, you'd need a team and some serious funding. Or an independently wealthy genius with nothing but time.

      The best I see is someone from a willing studio likes your idea and hires you as a consultant, which would be just peachy, but I suspect most studios already have too many idea guys (everyone's got ideas) and not enough make-it-so-er guys, because they're expensive.

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    5. He is a player of games. He should have that kind of freedom. He got me too, but I thought it was amusing.

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  5. I have to say, that sounds like a great game. The idea of "nights" reminds me of Quest for Glory II, and the rest of it is compelling and intriguing. Any game developers among us??

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    1. I couldn't even begin to write the code for such a game, but I think I'd have a great time writing the plot and dialogue.

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    2. I'm not experienced in 3D/real-time game dev, but have some experience with coding reactive, procedural systems. I'm tempted to try and put together a lo-fi/turn-based game that steals some of these ideas.

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    3. As a top-down game it would definitely be possible to implement. There's some modern roguelikes that come close in complexity and I have a design for another in the back of my head (a world-spanning mercenary sim in a political world, essentially - a bit like Mount & Blade plopped into a Game of Thrones style world.)

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    4. If you could envision it as a top-down Ultima-like. I'm sure that's codable by a wide variety of people. I'd first probably try and create a scripting language out of those ideas. Then work with the writer to implement a single night and see what works and what doesn't. The idea being that the writer can pick up enough of the scripting language that the developer and the writer could work in tandem. The developer improves and debugs the engine, sketches out the nights. The writer then playtests and tweaks the code.

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  6. My disappointment at the end of the article is only matched by my longing for such a game, you tease.

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  7. DAMN YOU, CHESTER BOLINGBROKE! By the end I was really buying into it!

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  8. An interesting idea, but hard to pull off. The level of detail necessary in the game's AI to make it react realistically to an open-ended free-for-all like that would be expensive to develop. Not impossible at this point, however, just expensive. Need to find someone with more time and money than sense if you want to see it built. :)

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    1. Seriously, while I agree that the strategy part (attrition of the Empire, fubctionary by functionary) wouldn't really work as designed, the 'two characters with separate quests' concept has a lot of possibilities.

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    2. I'm not sure why it would be "expensive," exactly. I can see why it would take a lot of time to map out all the dependencies and to identify the necessary changes in game variables, but I don't see why it would necessarily cost more.

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    3. since it would take a lot of tome, it would cos , since time is money. the problem is that not only you would have to figure out what happens when and in response to , it would create and insane dependency graph. i suppose that in the end you would not only had to create this graph, you'd need tools and techniques, which means quite a lot of research and development, amd this is what universoties do, not game developers. mostly.

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    4. Well, okay, that's fine. Obviously, time=money. I just don't see it as taking as much time as creating a graphics engine or recording all the sound effects or whatever. Perhaps I'm being naive.

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    5. Age of Decadence took 12 years to complete. Most of that time was scripting.

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    6. Dynamically responsive worlds are also expensive in terms of sheer processing power. Remember the whole Radiant AI system Bethesda was once working on for Oblivion? A big part of the reason it got scrapped is because computers at the time couldn't handle making that many real time calculations *and* run at the graphical standard they were trying to set. Which in hindsight is kind of laughable with how poorly the textures and models from that game have aged.

      One of the games that's come closest to achieving the kind of reactivity you're discussing here is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but even there you're still somewhat limited in how you can truly affect the game world.

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    7. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJuly 13, 2016 at 8:11 PM

      Metal Gear Solid is filled examples of characters reacting to minor changes and actions, and a very complex, reactive A.I. Kojima is a wonderful programmer who really pushes the limits of our technology.

      Maybe the addict can talk to Kojima about this game. Kojima has a new company and probably needs an influx of ideas now that he no longer has the support of his coworkers at Konami, though I am sure he has plenty of his own ideas. He should be warned, though, that Kojima is very imaginative and things will get very weird.

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    8. The options and outcomes would multiply indefinitely over game time.
      Just for the scope: Let's say you could stay hidden for about 2 weeks and you have the opportunity for every skillset (path) to be used at least 1 time each night, with each 2 possible approaches to solve and 3 possible outcomes. This means you would have to code 10 approaches and 15 outcomes for the first night alone. For the next night, you are at 30 approachs and 45 outcomes. Then 90 and 135. 270 and 405. 1215. 3645. Over 9000 (sorry). The you start the second week. This assumes you can do only one meaningful thing a night, everything else is for upkeep or knowledge.

      Otherwise, it would lose a lot. You could have the same outcome for a different approach (the reactions/consequences are mostly the same whether the target is poisoned or has an accident for example), but that would make many choices fake. In this level of detail, the replacement bureaucrat might be pure random, because there isn't enough room. You can't place "your people" inside the empire this way, because factions are only abstract.

      It's hard to judge if this abstraction can fully recreate your idea. And it would still require a complex economy simulation at the very least.

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    9. Good touchstones for this type of complexity would be Din's Curse/Depths of Peril (RPG/simulations with free-reigning AI based on a number of variables) and The Last Federation (a real time + turn based diplomacy and strategy / turn based tactical game - a game I would *strongly* recommend the Addict give a chance to if he ever finds some spare hours hidden in his couch cushions after a move. It has a lot of similar design goals to this project despite the differing mix of gameplay styles. It is not an RPG, but it has an extraordinary amount of potential gameplay outcomes based on how the AI factions' strategies interact with each other and reflexively adapt.)

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    10. Din's curse is probably a good, simple example of what the game would need to do. Of course, the AI would have to be more complicated than "if my strength + other strength < town attack threshold then attack other and steal their power. Otherwise form alliance and attack town."

      It's the complex AI rules needed to make the various factions seem like more than just mindless monsters that would be expensive to develop.

      Of course, judging by the reaction here, if one could find some talented programmers and graphics people, the project could likely be funded via kickstarter...

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  9. Definitely a good design. It also really highlights how personal of an experience RPGs are because I personally would put much more emphasis on very different areas, despite being similarly addicted and having grown up with games across many eras and styles myself.

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  10. Sounds kind of like a more open-ended Age of Decadence; i.e., if you had to play AoD as an assassin, but the game was much larger. In other words, awesome.

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    1. Age of Decadence is also what came to my mind as the current closest approximation to this description.

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  11. Sounds kind of like a more open-ended Age of Decadence; i.e., if you had to play AoD as an assassin, but the game was much larger. In other words, awesome.

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    1. I've never heard of that game, so it does sound like something I should check out.

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    2. It definitely feels very much in your wheelhouse. I found it a little bit harder than I was interested in when I played the demo - it's very much a game about avoiding combat as much as possible because the affair is deadly to all sides, even for trained warriors, unless you're specifically seeking that challenge (there are achievements for fighting).

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  12. So I think the problem with RPGs is a general problem in pop culture right now, or maybe just Bioware.

    You have an initial generation (Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins) that hews closely to someone's coherent vision. My favorite part of DA:O is not actually doing evil things, but knowing I could and chose not to. The first time I screwed around assuming I would always be a hero I wiped out the elves and sat staring at the computer in shock. But even allowing such choices means that someone is creating this universe, and needs the creative freedom to do so.

    If such a game succeeds, you've planted the seeds of its own destruction. ME2 could not be more different from ME1. DA2 was... These games just confused me after playing the first one. You could just see that the games were a hit, and the rough edges were sheared off for popular consumption, but those rough edges are the fun part for someone who wants to feel like the world responds and matters, which I feel like is what the addict is asking for in his ideal video game.

    At this point, the franchise descends into perpetual reboot awfulness. DA:I and ME:3 were mostly palatable but lacked any vision or soul. James Bond movies, super hero movies, etc.

    This is why GoT is so influential. It said it wouldn't do this, and stuck to that until this season, when it became wish fulfillment: it's cashing out on the delayed gratification of many seasons, right when the original vision of the product should be descending into an awful climax. And it's on HBO.

    So when the addict wants these games... they don't exist because 13-year-olds want Overwatch, not Planescape:Torment. It's unfortunate, but the small studios that kill it with a real RPG with good worldbuilding and commonsense go into SuperHero mode when bought out for the sequel.

    Or not, I dunno.

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    1. Also really happy you are back!

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  13. Obdurate hater of Rhythm gamesJuly 13, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    My thoughts: I want flashy and destructive magic. I want to feel like a God at high levels, raining Hellfire and lightning upon my enemies. Make the enemies at high levels just as powerful so the game is still challenging.

    Revisiting the same areas again and again can be quite annoying, but it can also be worthwhile if there is enough new stuff to find there. Xenoblade X does it well by adding new characters constantly to the main area; Zelda and Metroid do it well by giving you new items that open up inaccessible areas; Deus Ex does it well by having characters respond to everything that happens.

    I want open-world exploration like Xenoblade, NPC interaction and dialogue like Mother, an origin story like Little King's Story, stealth and story like Metal Gear Solid and combat like Zelda.

    I do not like the idea of wounds weakening individual body parts. I love Deus Ex and Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, but I hate that part of them. I just finished the game Dark half, and that had a better take on that kind of system: Instead of taking a toll on individual parts of your body, the stress of actions depletes energy from your soul, so you have to work fast, and healing your soul is a slow and dangerous process. I think a system like that is much better.

    I like games that let me use a variety of stats in different ways to win. Many C.R.P.G.s have hundred of statistics when only a few are useful. Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Xenoblade, Deus Ex, Zelda, Metroid: All good examples of R.P.G.s that have a lot of stats or items but make most of them useful.

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    1. I wouldn't like the wounds-affecting-individual-body-parts in a regular RPG, either. What I like about them in this scenario is they become part of the role-playing challenge. What can I accomplish tonight with an injured leg?

      I liken it to playing a game like Oblivion when you've reached the Imperial City on a quest to visit a particular shop, only it's 02:00 and the shop doesn't open until 08:00. What do you do for 6 hours? (And don't say use the "wait" system. That's just pathetic.) Some of the best times I had with that game were killing time and finding interesting side-areas and quests. In my hypothetical game, I'd really plumb that. Your choice of the next quest to focus on wouldn't be based on just what's convenient or going in chronological order; you'd have to carefully consider your current condition and resources.

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  14. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJuly 13, 2016 at 1:20 AM

    You want freedom of choice, so why not the choice to oppose the ghost assassin's methods and take your own route? He could be a shadowy figure fighting you in secret, or the game could go the Dark half route and have you play both characters working against each other.

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  15. Hah, so THIS is why I haven't found anything about this game on the internet after reading first paragraph. Reading it I was mostly excited that someone has seemingly developed some kind of AI that is able to figure out "what if". I imagined that there would be some kind of priorities system where each individual is described in terms of what he wants, how averse to risk he is, what are his goals (broadly, "gain power", "gain money", "gain fame", "preach", "achieve nirvana" etc.) and is able to provide dialogs when things change (I expected them to be not very interesting, but at least coherent).

    Oh well, it seems that I'll have to wait a few years more for an AI able to be Game Master for my own amusement.

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    1. Ugh, I haven't written it in the end: it is quite exciting idea, although I don't like stealth and weren't very excited about Dishonored or Assassin's Creed. Hell, I don't even have great memories of Skyrim because I tried to do something differently this time and instead of creating God Of Fire And Sultan Of Swords I went for Stealthy Sneaky Sniping Thieving And Prevaricating Shady One and I must confess that somehow fun was almost gone.

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    2. I don't think Skyrim's sneaking, thieving, and assassination systems were perfect, but I can't think of a game that does them better.

      Nonetheless, I confess that I'm not typically drawn to that type of role-playing. It just seemed to fit backstory better, and I thought it would be fun to do it better than the typical game. I thought my "traps" idea, for instance, was pretty original. Most games that let you set them only have the bluntest approach to them. I was envisioning something that worked well with the physics engine and would support, say, a collapsing balcony. Or perhaps setting traps of different types could be a mini-game like we see with lockpicking in other RPGs.

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    3. (first reply attempt eaten)
      If you want to try really good Sneaking/Thieving and maybe Assassination, I recommend non-RPGs "Mark of the Ninja" and "Thief: The Dark Project"

      Both do stealth fantastically well.

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    4. Dishonored might be the closest match to date, and even then mechanics were a little shallow if you take out the blink gameplay (which is, admittedly, brilliant). And Dishonored was largely just building on the chassis Thief had pioneered ages earlier.

      I'll be super interested to see how the sequel shapes up. In terms of world building it looks promising, but I haven't seen much about the gameplay innovations they're planning yet.

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    5. Obdurate hater of Rhythm gamesJuly 13, 2016 at 7:55 PM

      Metal Gear Solid is the gold standard for stealth and complex, subtle political stories in video games.

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    6. Funny Dishonored is mentioned...Purely regarding physical combat and stealth mechanics, their previous title Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is IMO still one of the best out there (and arguably better than Dishonored).

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    7. IMHO I agree with Harwin about "Mark Of The Ninja". It does stealth excellently with both visual and aural cues. Not an RPG but for a 2-D platformer, it's a wonderful masterpiece.

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  16. "The greatest trick the Addict ever played was to convince the world that Downfall didn't exist..."

    Seriously, I was so ready to buy this thing as soon as it hit early access, that the end of the article felt like a punch in the gut. Bravo, Chet!

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  17. Now we only need a kickstarter campaign... :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. After reading the intro and finding the title, I spent 5 minutes trying to learn more about the game via search engine. Finding nothing, I read the rest of the post. Blast!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well it was a good joke and a good read. Mistborn was a very good read. Now you would need a colossal budget to make such a game happens. The cheaper alternative would be to make it as an improved interactive fiction. For example, moving around the city could be like in Hillsfar. I am sure you may borrow some other interesting mechanics from the numerous CRPG games you played.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ouch, what an evil trick, you really had me salivating in expectation there by the second paragraph...

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm a bit surprised you want action-based combat. I was under the impression you prefer turn-based tactical combat, but maybe I remember incorrectly. Whatever, action-based combat is mandatory for a 2017 crpg of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I generally do prefer turn-based combat, but I think it feels ridiculous and artificial in first-person games, and I envisioned this as a first-person game. A hybrid via something like the VATS system in Fallout might work well.

      Anyway, it isn't turn-based combat that I prefer so much as TACTICAL combat. Back in the 1980s, the two were synonymous. Action-based combat was invariably less tactical. But modern games offer far more tactical options even in an action-oriented environment.

      As an example, I'm pasting what I said about Skyrim in another comment thread below:

      ****

      I'm going to use your post to vent on a pet peeve of mine: people who complain that Skyrim's combat is weak. I think it's the most exciting part of the game. Yes, I'll grant you that the literal combat mechanics are a bit basic--attack, power attack, block--and it would have been nice to have Fallout's approach to damage on specific body parts. That said, the integration of combat with the rest of the game world, plus a variety of skill combinations, give you far more tactical options in Skyrim than the typical RPG where combat is on a separate screen.

      The last time I played the game, I played on "legendary" difficulty, and it was exhilarating finding ways to defeat foes I could never have defeated just standing there swinging away. Between various stealth options, leading enemies to each other, spells and powers like "Calm" and "Frenzy," leading bandit chiefs up the sides of mountains so I could FUS-RO-DAH them back down, making daring escapes by jumping into rivers, sniping dragons from behind cover, conjuring allies to occupy enemies while I found a new place to hide, trapping Dwemer spheres behind grates, luring enemies into their own traps, and a thousand similar scenarios, I felt the game offered just about all I needed for combat tactics. I think if the next Elder Scrolls changes nothing but still allows headshots, it will be one of the best real-time combat systems ever made.

      Delete
    2. Chet, I'd be very curious as to how you found both Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin as two high profile tactical games to come out in the recent retro fad? Assuming you've played both. I'm curious how each lives up to your standards (or fails to do so). I thought Pillars was a pretty decent take on the BG formula, but I haven't gotten far enough into Divinity to judge it yet. (waiting on my partner to take them through the co-op)

      Delete
    3. I play Bethesda games on their hardest difficulty too and I find that it's fun up until about level 25 or so. At that point, you have so many powers and armor and weapons and assorted crap that you can just stand and swing/shoot and kill the biggest big bad. No - I haven't played Dark Souls yet. That's probably the masochistic experience I need.

      Delete
    4. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJuly 13, 2016 at 8:07 PM

      I recommend Baten Kaitos: Origins: A great game with a lot of imagination, and it has one of the hardest boss fights in video games.

      Delete
    5. Well that makes sense and I agree on Skyrim. One of my alltime favourite crpg's.

      Delete
    6. It would be interesting to read about the evolution of tactical gameplay in first person games. What were some of the landmarks I wonder? Thief?

      Delete
  22. Another question now that you mention Brandon Sanderson, I recently finished Wheel of Time (kinda late I know). What exactly did you hate about the last book, I remember you saying you didn't like it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Sanderson did an amazing job with the series, and the first two books of the final trilogy were excellent works of fantasy. I was less impressed with the final volume, mostly because I was expecting more plot twists (I felt the series had been setting up some revelations that never happened) and a more complex handling of the big bad. But I didn't DISLIKE it in any sense; I was just a little underwhelmed.

      Delete
    2. My pet peeve were utterly lackluster combat scenes from Sanderson ust compare that to how Jordan wrote ie. the battle of Cairhien in book 5 and you see what I mean.

      Not that I can blame Sanderson when other Jordan was a Citadel graduate with a degree in military history and dis 2 tours in 'nam' as a helicopter gunner with ribbons I might add, while the competition has well maybe read a bit about the subject but has no real clue aside from maybe basic training, tactics and some military lingo from a Hollywood movies.

      Delete
  23. Alpha Protocol had somewhat disappointing mechanics but had a similar general style - lot of interlocking event chains with optional objectives that primarily rewarded you in clues about how NPCS would react to your decisions. It was an underrated gem (though admittedly the mechanics could have been polished up).

    The main issue with such a game is that to make the consequences relevant you have to let the player make mistakes, miss out on clues and sometimes completely botch side quests (in many cases without even realizing it). My impression is that a lot of players had Tribble following along because of the depth of the consequences. Zero Punctuation did a pretty good review of its strengths and weaknesses; I think it fits surprisingly well with the thought experiment from above.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Alpha Protocol had somewhat disappointing mechanics but had a similar general style - lot of interlocking event chains with optional objectives that primarily rewarded you in clues about how NPCS would react to your decisions. It was an underrated gem (though admittedly the mechanics could have been polished up).

    The main issue with such a game is that to make the consequences relevant you have to let the player make mistakes, miss out on clues and sometimes completely botch side quests (in many cases without even realizing it). My impression is that a lot of players had Tribble following along because of the depth of the consequences. Zero Punctuation did a pretty good review of its strengths and weaknesses; I think it fits surprisingly well with the thought experiment from above.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Heh, I did wonder a bit about the multiple names starting with X. Channeling Xulima or something? Anyway, I'm not a fan of real-time stealth games, personally, but it sounds like a great concept. I thought the idea of a private persona vs a public character identity was a clever way of dealing with the name issue.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I immediately thought of Mistborn (many paragraphs before it was brought up), Skyrim/Oblivion and ....Dwarf Fortress.

    I love the weird unintended stuff that happens in dwarf fortress. Would be awesome in a beautiful Skyrim type sandbox.

    -Chris

    ReplyDelete
  27. See, *Downfall* made me think of another idea. You're the *ruler* of a decaying, tyrannical empire. Your underlings know things are going south, and are trying to save themselves. It's up to you to use what remains of the shreds of your authority to protect yourself and retain as much power and keep things going as long as possible. You can order someone brought to you, and hope your remaining minions are loyal enough to do it. You can execute disloyal underlings, of course, but you have to keep enough around to actually run things, because you can't do *everything* yourself. Of course you can just relax and party while you wait for everything to go south.

    Here's a mockup of the failure screen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7PmzdINGZk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the 'Dictator' type game (you rule a tropical island and play off factions against each other as long as possible until you are killed in a coup or forced to flee) is a long-established genre. [Modern games like Tropico are a cross between old-style Dictator and city builder.]

      Delete
    2. Oh, it was a bad joke, inspired by Chet's joke. "Downfall" is the English translation for "Der Untergang", the German movie from which the Hitler Rants meme was taken. ;)

      Delete
    3. Good one! I saw 'Downfall' - and when I was reading this I thought "they'll need another title" - but I missed the joke here.

      Delete
  28. Obdurate hater of Rhythm GamesJuly 14, 2016 at 1:47 PM

    I have two pieces of great news for fans of weird, challenging games like me: First Nintendo is rereleasing the NES with a great selection of classic games. It is only $60 and there are dozens of classic games beyond the ones built into it: I listed 77 here (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.937067-NES-games-have-aged-terribly?page=2#23616405) I later thought of other games that could be on that list, like Jackal, Kid Icarus. Addict, why not get one and see why we love weird, classic console games?

    Also, for the obsessive CRPG addicts: A sequel to The Real Texas called Cellpop Goes out at Night has been released. I have not played the sequel, but the first one was a strange and wonderful game despite its horrible flaws. I recommend it and am confident that the sequel will worth playing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The NES announcement is intriguing, but I'd guess many fans have been making do with emulators for 20+ years. I'm still tempted by one, just for the legitimacy of it, but I'm equally wary because of the controllers: let's face it, those old boxy controllers were hell on the hands. The emulator is a win just for the ability to use a modern, gentler game pad.

      Lots of great titles on the list, though. Metroid, Kid Icarus, Castlevanias, Super Mario 2 and 3, Zelda, and MegaMan 2 are among my all-time favorites. Throw in Contra and Baseball Stars, and you'd have almost the whole set. Oh, and Dragon Warrior, which is the one Chet really needs to play.

      Delete
    2. "I'm equally wary because of the controllers: let's face it, those old boxy controllers were hell on the hands. The emulator is a win just for the ability to use a modern, gentler game pad."

      You can use a Wii Classic Controller or CCPro instead of the retro NES pad. I've never used a CCPro, but the CC is not boxy at all nor hell on hands.

      Delete
  29. You had me so excited about this non existent game....well played, now talk to your dev buddies and get someone to make it!

    ReplyDelete
  30. i think a great way to reward people for side investigations would be to unlock music. certain songs. This would mean of course, that the songs would have to be good, but i don't see why that's not possible.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Admittedly, the setting didn't do much for me. It sounds like standard fantasy fare with a strong anti-religious bent, which I do not agree with. However, the premise was great and highly entertaining. The political system you described and the way to influence it seems to be drawn from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Crusader Kings II, both excellent games.

    The mechanical side of it sounded cool though, and ludonarratively consonant. I particularly like the Killer7-inspired (have you played it? Perhaps the slickest aesthetic in game history) switching of assassin 'avatars'.

    I particularly liked how the *same* character assumes different roles and can use subterfuge while being themselves, and later becoming an assassin. It's definitely a very gameplay-centric device, but it would significantly streamline the game from a development and player point of view -- in a good way, that would mean all gameplay outcomes are known.
    That's why e.g. Metal Gear Solid V is so successful as a stealth game, because guard reactions are wide and varied, but ultimately, are based on preset behaviours that the player can learn and know how to interact with to get a desired outcome. Sounds like you were going for the same thing.

    Just a shame we'll never get to see it in action. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJuly 15, 2016 at 12:43 PM

      That is a good point: The fundamentals are interesting, but it has no heart or imagination. I see in retrospect that there is very little infoormation about the world, only how to interact with it. Metal Gear Solid is one of my favorites not just because of the fun gameplay, boss fights and complex reactions of the characters, but because it is completely insane and presents a complex, surreal world. It was never predictable or repetitive: One game, you get taunted by a psychic who reads your mind through your saved games; the next, you fight a man whose arm is possessed by a ghost and get insane messages from a broken A.I. represented by melting faces; the next, your partners berate you for eating vultures that have eaten men; the next, you see a living skeleton that controls the world's weapons system die, then come to life as the man from whom you were cloned; the next, you fight a man who can reform his body from small pieces and throws giant balls of trash at you; and in the last one, you fight guys who are perpetually on fire for control of parasites that feed off human language.

      Delete
    2. Obdurate Hater of Rhythm GamesJuly 15, 2016 at 12:49 PM

      I want a game based on a dream I had, as I have dreams that make Mario 2 look like Inception:

      I was in a world where rocks were living things that assisted policemen. Everything was in strange, bright colors. This world's most popular sport was to take bears that could turn into racoons, put them on rafts until the vibration caused them to change and then shoot them. It was a spectator sport with some danger, as if the raft ran aground, the bear got loose.It was even weirder than it sounds.

      Make a game out of that, with that sort of insane sport and interaction between humans and what would be inanimate objects in our world being common.

      Delete
    3. I'm not seeing any obvious anti-religious bent. There's discussion of an institutionalized state religion (the bugaboo of many a religious person such as the Roger Williamses of the world) and state-sponsored persecution of an indigenous faith, both of which strike me as offering the potential for a more nuanced commentary on the relationship between religion and power than you are allowing.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  32. "The game is not organized into "missions" but rather "nights." Each night, the player has a fixed amount of time "

    Ugh... fixed amount of time and rpg go together like oil and open flame. There may be a place for it, but you have to be very careful because most of the time it just blows everything up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think JRPGs have had some success with it. Offhand both Valkyrie Profile and the latter SMT: Persona games give you hard time limits for the progression of the story and set you loose to do what you will with your time.

      Delete
    2. and speaking of SMT the Digital Devil Survivor games are *literally* broken up into Nights, very much like this design!

      I'm certain there are more. It seems like a bit of a cultural divide in development styles - but not necessarily one in consumption because all of these games have had tons of crossover success in the Western world, as well.

      Delete
    3. Well you could allow the "night" to go on in real time or about 8 hours after which it automatically ends with "speeding it up" and "end night, return to hide out" -options.

      That way you would have plenty of time doing exploring and what ever in the game world.

      Delete
    4. My interpretation of the time limit is that it applied to nightly "missions", not the plot. There was only so much you could do in a night, and you needed to gte back safe before it got too light out.

      As for the plot and end-game, it seemed like it was dynamic to the degree that if you played poorly/incautiously, it would force the confrontation sooner, and with different options and possible outcomes. That's not really a time limit in the same sense that the other games have them, if I'm correct.

      Delete
    5. Day / Night cycles and opponent reactions kind of remind game of "Werewolf / Mafia" party game, but that's probably just associative.

      Delete
    6. I don't like time limits, and I don't like having to re-explore the same area at night (it feels like a way for the developer to cheap out on map design) unless it's done REALLY well such that it enhances immersion.

      I didn't like this combination in Quest for Glory 2 at all. It made it easy to get lost and didn't really enhance immersion.

      Delete
  33. I can't wait until winter when you ate trapped in your house for all the snow and cold and have nothing to do but play awful RPGs all day. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really thought that after this one, I'd have another one out in a couple days. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm having the worst time trying to write. It's taking me an hour to compose a single paragraph

      Delete
    2. Is it just the prospect of rewriting that entire post that was accidentally deleted, or are you feeling more generally burned-out? One person can only juggle just so many tasks before they get overwhelmed, and you've had a lot on your plate lately. If you need another break, don't hesitate to take it; we'd rather wait a month than have you get the CRPG equivalent of the 1000-yard stare.

      Delete
    3. I only recently found your blog, but hope you get your 'mojo' back because it's amazingly entertaining...Good old Games has made a decent little stipend off of me after reading your blogs about the gold box games and QFGI-V was reinstalled to play through again...this in the midst of trying out the Baldur's Gate EE games which I still haven't made it all the way through. It's tough to get through anything when you work full time, travel for work and then keep going back and forth through different titles! I don't know how you manage to fit in the time for gaming and writing, but I sure am glad you do!!! Your blog inspires me in gaming much like 'The Adventurers' inspired me several years ago. Funny how reading can inspire gaming...

      Delete
    4. Maybe its the subject of your writing which is giving you issues. Perhaps a small leap to Bard's Tale II to try to rejuvenate yourself, then a return to Fate:Gates of Dawn?

      I remember when I was on Oblivion for my blog, it was a very not-fun slog that I was eager to be done with. Once I hit Skyrim I started to enjoy blogging again and my writing became somewhat more regular.

      Delete
    5. Judging by his blog regarding Bard's Tale II here: http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2010/06/game-18-bards-tale-ii-1986.html
      I don't think that's the game to get his interest in blogging back on track.

      Delete
    6. I've been missing this blog. I hope you can get back on the writing horse, Chet!

      Delete
    7. His initial post for Bard's Tale II seems fairly positive, but even if it wasn't I still maintain that achieving blog re-entry would be easier with a somewhat familiar game as opposed to the sprawling monstrosity that is Fate: Gates of Dawn.

      Whatever works, really.

      Delete
    8. @Chet
      You have no problem responding to us quick. Because we are speaking to you.

      So, I guess, your problem with writing something out is because the dame you're playing is NOT speaking to you.

      If it does, I'm sure you'd have a lot to talk about.

      Delete
  34. It DID sound too good to be true...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In similar vein, computer magazine Mikrobitti did their April Fool's joke in 1989 by preview of the Elite-type game "Illuminatus".

      The joke still surfaces now and then and there's even short gameplay video in youtube made in 2014.

      Only(?) short article in english about it:
      http://everything2.com/title/Illuminatus

      Delete
    2. here is a video of it:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeiILCkgVY4

      Delete
    3. and another article:
      https://skrolli.fi/2014/04/illuminatus-maailman-paras-peli-elaa-edelleen/

      (use google translate if you dont know finnish)

      Delete
    4. Interesting. Reminds me of a similar april fool's joke made by an italian magazine about a sequel for Zak Mckracken.

      Delete
  35. Obdurate hater of Rhythm gamesJuly 21, 2016 at 9:06 PM

    What is the nature of your world, addict? You told me how to interact with the world of the game, but not what I interacted with in that world. How does it differ from reality? What creatures inhabit it? I told you about the world in my dream, I could tell about 130 years in the history of Metal Gear, but you have told me nothing about this world--why would I want to be there, rather than an insane world like Metal gear, Bubble Bobble or Mother?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Um, just a thought. Pyrodactyl Games might be a good indie company to contact. They've done Unrest, Will Fight for Food, and Good Robot, and the writer of Unrest is a huge Morrowind fan and your game idea sounds like it's right up his alley.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I´d rather have enjoyed an article about an actual game and not a fictional one, I don´t get the purpose behind it. I can only speak for myself but I absolutely did not enjoy this article. Hope the next one will be better...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be difficult going through life without a sense of humor.

      I'm definitely excited by the idea of this game- I think the biggest obstacle would be making it a first-person Skyrim-esque game. The more visceral it is, the more realistic the graphics need to be, making it a more expensive production. If it were an isometric 2D game, you would have more room to hold back on graphic power (if you have a good artist to design a compelling visual world, the graphics don't need to be top of the line.)

      And honestly a turn-based retro style game would fit the tactical approach to the gameplay more than a realtime Thief type game would, I think.

      Theoretically the scripting multiple outcomes would be less expensive than heavy-duty graphics... Tedious and difficult yes... but if it's a labor of love, why not? Get a good team together and make it happen...

      Delete
    2. I don't know... top down perspective worked pretty good in Metal Gear franchise, especially with the little scanner that allowed you to see enemies and line of sight. Obviously that could not be used in a fantasy setting (unless there were a spell for that!) but I don't think first person / over the shoulder is the ONLY perspective that would work for a game like Addict described here. I think it could work even as 2D isometric, though it may not be as immersive.

      Delete
    3. Nothing to Do with lack of humour. Im just waiting for an update on FATE for so long now. Dont take anything so seriously mate.

      Delete
  38. Coming in 2017 - Guy Ritchie's take on King Arthur.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rbPTQIdjmY

    ReplyDelete
  39. Good grief, you're cruel!
    I was about to yell: "Take my money and kickstart this baby!" ;)

    ReplyDelete
  40. I love this idea, wish somebody woukd make it. You really had me going for a bit, glad I finished the article before googling. Hope you get past your writers block soon, really miss reading your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1! I only found the blog recently so still have many old posts to go through, but looking forward to the current content upcoming!

      Delete
  41. Dear Chester.
    This is my first time i write. I like a lot what you are doing here. I hope, everything is fine with you and i can't wait for the next games you play. Sorry for the bad english. Greetings from germany.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Even Donald Trump is paying attention to the Addict's hiatus:

    http://trumpgenerator.com/tweet/?txaxwdvaszqrdkqxevdp

    I still believe in you, Addict!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hello Chester. I hope you will return soon. I am missing your entertaining posts. Further greetings from Germany. I suppose you have many transatlantic followers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Addict, we miss you! Anything you need to do to power through that writer's block, please go for it. Skip to a game you know you'll like, whatever. It's all fine with me (and most of us- the silent majority).

    ReplyDelete
  45. Considering I'm going through withdrawal, does that mean I'm addicted to this blog? Cruel irony!

    ReplyDelete
  46. How about a text based game.

    Your (CRPG ADDICT) Skyrim intro looked good for Skyrim.

    ReplyDelete
  47. If this is the end of the blog, I just want to say thanks for years of entertainment and information about the more obscure corners of CRPG-dom. I'm a bit bummed that it was Magic Candle 2 that killed it since I'd been looking forward to you covering that game for quite some time (I never finished it as a kid but always wanted to know what happened), but I know how unbelievably exhausting it can be dealing with commenters and endless expectations. If you don't want that in your life anymore then that's totally understandable. Please post here if you take up another project we might enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I truly doubt it's over haha. Chet's taken long breaks before. It's most likely some real-life complications are involved in addition to any writer's block. it's not as if he's going to stop playing games - it might just be some time before he can relay his experiences c:

      Delete
  48. My thoughts went something like this:

    Henry Lancaster? Is this an RPG developer with a pen name?

    Blah blah man I hate fantasy nouns.

    How in the goddamn have they managed to combine versatile stealth gameplay (with a bevy of scripted responses) + open world gameplay. There's a reason stealth games are so linear - is the game tracking a whole city full of AIs engaging in some sort of rudimentary relationships with one another?

    Released next year? They've obviously spent tens of millions already if the current build has so much content, yet I haven't heard anything about this come out from any of the big cons, and they'd surely have been engaging the hype train by now. What the hell's going on?

    Man, I thought Underworld Ascendant was reaching for for stars but according to Chet these guys have already nailed something way, way harder. Technology huh?

    Oh. Ok. It's not real. I should have gathered that. That was a weird thing to do. Oh well.

    Right now a game fulfilling this description sounds like pure fantasy - but then we have things now that would have sounded fantastical a decade ago. So maybe we can call Downfall the best RPG of 2027 ;)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I was suspicious due to the title- no way would someone as careful as Chet make that call before 2017 even starts.

    As to why this would be super hard: either you need a lot of work on AI and formulas (hard, expensive) or you need a huge decision tree with thousands of entries. Plus testing is a nightmare- you need to test every entry to make sure it works. What if one is miscoded in a way that isn't apparent unless you hit these three other options, 20 more hours in?

    That said, I love the design. It sounds a lot like your love of V, and nicely removes the problem with'do this note before the empire takes over!" Not the game is have designed, but I'd probably play it. Until the stealth mechanics made me hunt you down and pants you. (I'm pretty sure at this point you are Bill Clinton, so getting past the secret serviceb might be tricky...)

    ReplyDelete
  50. To be honest, this fictitious game of yours sounds a bit like Assassin's Creed: The RPG.

    ReplyDelete

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