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Found 48 results

  1. You might have noticed headlines today blaring about how BioWare was going to reboot their beloved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Going from some of the articles, you'd think that this new version was going to be completely redone in the Frostbite Engine and also spontaneously manifest unending supplies of pizza. Sadly, that rumor never had much substance to it. The rumor originated from some words uttered by Liam Robertson, who runs Unseen64. On the show, Roberston discussed revelations from his connections at BioWare Austin, saying: I’ve learned now that [BioWare Austin is] pretty much now exclusively working on Star Wars games and they’re going to be doing that for the indefinite future. What they’re currently working on right now—and I have this on good authority—is a sort of remake/revival of Knights of the Old Republic. I don’t know when this is set to come out, but it has been in development for a little while now. According to Kotaku, that information just isn't accurate, or at least it is only partially correct. BioWare's Austin studio actually did prototype a revamped Knights of the Old Republic; the only problem is that the project never went any further than that. It's not in development and hasn't been greenlit by the higher ups at BioWare. Revamped KotOR isn't happening. Liam Roberston released a statement earlier today on the issue: Going to hold my hands up here - I think I just misheard some of the Austin stuff when I was talking on Skype, so I may have misspoke there. There’s also the element that I had no notes in front of me and just sort of rambled on from memory. I did not expect these few select statements to blow up (oops). I’m used to having the opportunity to just release follow-up notices on the Patreon with any updates and corrections. My bad there. Let me clarify that I don’t think KOTOR’s a current project. From the same people I learned about Dylan from, I did hear that they prototyped a KOTOR revival at Austin a while back. I believe it may have evolved into something else since then or fizzled out since then. I’m still confident Austin is doing something Star Wars related though and I’m confident in that. I actually did know that they were contributing towards Dylan since I originally found out about it when I was researching Austin’s Shadow Realms, so if I said exclusively, then that was admittedly a mistake. However, what is happening at BioWare Austin is work on a new IP for the studio. It's rumored to be a game along similar to Bungie's Destiny series. The code-name for the project has been confirmed to be Dylan, something Liam Robertson's sources also corroborated. Dylan went into development shortly after the cancellation of BioWare's last attempt at a new IP, Shadow Realms. Whatever it turns out to be, Dylan should be shown at E3 later this year.
  2. You might have noticed headlines today blaring about how BioWare was going to reboot their beloved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Going from some of the articles, you'd think that this new version was going to be completely redone in the Frostbite Engine and also spontaneously manifest unending supplies of pizza. Sadly, that rumor never had much substance to it. The rumor originated from some words uttered by Liam Robertson, who runs Unseen64. On the show, Roberston discussed revelations from his connections at BioWare Austin, saying: I’ve learned now that [BioWare Austin is] pretty much now exclusively working on Star Wars games and they’re going to be doing that for the indefinite future. What they’re currently working on right now—and I have this on good authority—is a sort of remake/revival of Knights of the Old Republic. I don’t know when this is set to come out, but it has been in development for a little while now. According to Kotaku, that information just isn't accurate, or at least it is only partially correct. BioWare's Austin studio actually did prototype a revamped Knights of the Old Republic; the only problem is that the project never went any further than that. It's not in development and hasn't been greenlit by the higher ups at BioWare. Revamped KotOR isn't happening. Liam Roberston released a statement earlier today on the issue: Going to hold my hands up here - I think I just misheard some of the Austin stuff when I was talking on Skype, so I may have misspoke there. There’s also the element that I had no notes in front of me and just sort of rambled on from memory. I did not expect these few select statements to blow up (oops). I’m used to having the opportunity to just release follow-up notices on the Patreon with any updates and corrections. My bad there. Let me clarify that I don’t think KOTOR’s a current project. From the same people I learned about Dylan from, I did hear that they prototyped a KOTOR revival at Austin a while back. I believe it may have evolved into something else since then or fizzled out since then. I’m still confident Austin is doing something Star Wars related though and I’m confident in that. I actually did know that they were contributing towards Dylan since I originally found out about it when I was researching Austin’s Shadow Realms, so if I said exclusively, then that was admittedly a mistake. However, what is happening at BioWare Austin is work on a new IP for the studio. It's rumored to be a game along similar to Bungie's Destiny series. The code-name for the project has been confirmed to be Dylan, something Liam Robertson's sources also corroborated. Dylan went into development shortly after the cancellation of BioWare's last attempt at a new IP, Shadow Realms. Whatever it turns out to be, Dylan should be shown at E3 later this year. View full article
  3. I’ll be more upfront than usual; Dragon Age: Inquisition is a fantastic game. The staggeringly large scope, excellent score, eye-popping visuals, and engaging gameplay, BioWare executed everything almost flawlessly. I’d recommend it to almost anyone, even people who aren’t typically drawn toward RPGs. Inquisition has issues, certainly, but none that would prevent me from endorsing it. If you are just looking for my recommendation, there you have it. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in a deeper dive into Inquisition, taking a look at the seemingly minor issues that keep Inquisition from rising into the stuff of video game legend, read on. I think it fitting to begin a discussion of Inquisition by addressing the glitches that plagued my opening hour of gameplay. I spent around three hours attempting to satisfactorily begin the game. Character creation proved to be particularly difficult. No joke, all of the facial hair floated a good six inches off of my protagonist’s face, dissuading me from touching any of the glorious beards on display. Perhaps more importantly, the lighting in character creation looks nothing close to the lighting elsewhere in the game. Meaning that my first character, who I intended to look Middle Eastern, ended up looking like he had a fake spray tan that would never, ever come off. Though I initially thought I’d try to live with the abysmal results, I quickly ditched him because Dragon Age decided that he was going to be regarded as a lady by all other characters in the game, a rather significant glitch for which there was no fix. My second time through the creation process went much better, though depending on camera angles and lighting my protagonist could either look really awesome or like the world’s biggest simpleton. I thought I was in the clear. However, Dragon Age kept switching him from a mage to a rogue midway through the tutorial. It took over a dozen reloads before I was able to successfully make it through the introduction and progress into the game proper. With those initial glitchy hurdles cleared, my experience was nearly error free, excepting the occasional giant falling out of the sky. I only encountered one major glitch after the opening ordeal. About halfway through Inquisition, the game introduces a new character who can be customized. If players choose to customize that particular character, there seems to be a 50% chance that their main protagonist’s voice could change to the default option if they had opted for the non-default voice during character creation. This happened to me with no way to reverse it. There are few things as grating as spending 40 hours with a character sounding one way only for them to suddenly begin sounding completely, irritatingly different. Glitches aside, people interested in the PC version should know that Inquisition’s mouse and keyboard controls handle terribly. I could only handle about two or three minutes of gameplay before I decided to plug in a wired 360 controller, which proved to be a far superior experience. A tactical RPG originally made for the PC, Dragon Age: Origins required strategic thinking and micromanaging that lent itself very well to a mouse and keyboard. To a lesser extent, that was also true of Dragon Age 2. However, I found Dragon Age: Inquisition to be more of an action game with RPG elements, which lends itself better to a controller than a keyboard. A tactical camera and customizable companion tactics allow players to fine tune strategies, but I literally never used either of those functions, never even touched them. Granted, I played through on Normal difficulty, so perhaps higher difficulty levels require a more tactical approach to combat. The fact remains that I approached combat almost like I would a button masher and had a great time. The change isn’t a bad thing for the Dragon Age franchise, but prospective players should be aware that Inquisition’s gameplay differs significantly from that of its ancestors. The strength of BioWare’s writing team remains unchanged. To summarize the initial plot: The Chantry, the leading religious power in Thedas, convenes a special council to begin peace talks between rebellious mages and their former Templar handlers, an attempt to halt a disastrous war. Something goes horribly wrong and the entire council is obliterated in a magical cataclysm that creates The Breach, a massive portal to the Fade, a realm of spirits and demons. In all the commotion, a single individual emerges from The Breach, the bearer of a strange magical mark on their right hand. As that person, players make choices that shape the world of Thedas for better or worse. It is a great set up raising numerous questions for players to explore. What is the role of faith in times of peril? Is the protagonist divine? Can the current events all be rationally explained? Is there a god looking out for the people of Thedas? Unfortunately, none of these questions are really explored to much meaningful depth. It was a bit of a disappointment, especially given where the series might be going in the future. If anything makes up for my minor grumbles with how adequately Inquisition explores its own themes it is how well BioWare succeeds in characterization. Far and away, I found the dialogue to be the strongest part of Inquisition. BioWare really isn’t afraid to explore waters that most other video games still aren’t ready to touch quite yet. One of the most compelling companion characters, Dorian, is a mage that prefers the company of other men. He’s not treated as a stereotype or a token character. He’s a fully formed individual, which is rare to see in most Western games. A more succinct way of putting it is that Dorian’s sexual orientation isn’t something that defines him as a character, rather he’s written as a person who happens to be gay. He’s also bold, brimming with clever quips, and can occasionally put aside his façade of bravado to try and be a good friend. BioWare isn’t content to rest on its laurels after crafting a character that most studios wouldn’t have bother with either. Krem, the second in command of the Bull’s Chargers mercenary company, breaks new ground as the first transgender character in the Western AAA game space. Despite not being one of the core companion characters, Krem stands out in the land of big budget games as a minority character written in a humane way. Much like Dorian, Krem’s gender identity isn’t the thing that defines him, he’s a person before anything else. I only mentioned two out of a cast of dozens. Who could forget Cassandra, the hard case Seeker with a hidden love for trashy romance novels? Or Sera, the kooky-yet-practical city elf that seems more than a little unhinged? Or what about… I could keep listing names for paragraphs, but I think you’ve probably understood my meaning. Lesser writers would stop short. Cassandra would just be a stuffy warrior, Sera would just be crazy, Dorian would just be another gay stereotype. Heck, Krem would be a one line anomaly in a typical game. But BioWare adds just enough to make each one seem fleshed out and real. Each have their own motivations, goals, and desires. They have needs and wants that are directly communicated to the player and others that are only hinted at and suggest greater depth. Despite the fantasy setting and the supernatural threats that close in on every side, Dragon Age: Inquisition manages to paint more realistic people than many games that strive to be more grounded in reality. As I played Inquisition, I slowly began to feel an absence. I tried to shake it off, but it continued to grow as I progressed. Then, somewhere in the midst of court intrigue, large scale warfare, and demons raining from the sky, it suddenly stuck me how disconnected I felt from it all. It wasn’t that the characters are written badly, several of them are easily the most brilliantly written video game characters I’ve had the pleasure to come across. It also wasn’t that Dragon Age: Inquisition is boring; there are plenty of things to do and the game aims to be visually stunning at all times. It didn’t even seem like the problem was on a narrative level, an issue usually found in even the biggest AAA games. I really struggled to pin down exactly why Inquisition felt so impersonal, and it wasn’t until after the credits rolled and I had an opportunity to reflect on the game and BioWare’s previous accomplishments that the answer hit me. One of the most positively received video games to come out of BioWare is Mass Effect 2. The wild, incredible narrative ride ratchets up over time to climax in a suicide mission made all the more satisfying by the time devoted to interacting with and learning about the team that risk their lives alongside the player. In other words, Mass Effect 2’s effectiveness stems from how the narrative and game design choices all revolve around each other, intertwined and inseparable. Practically every mission either links with a certain character, advancing the player’s relationship with them, or propels the plot forward. Almost no missions in Mass Effect 2 consist of dead air (except, of course, the planet scanning), every moment crackles with purpose to one end or another. To invest players and keep up the narrative momentum, BioWare kept every mission carefully directed and allowed for little in the way of exploration. BioWare seems to have taken a different approach that centers on the vastness of the areas they’ve created. It is easy to see why; clearly a lot of time went into the awe-inspiring environments. However, the mission structures applied to these huge spaces feel very similar to what you’d find in an MMO. For many people that might not be a problem, but it leads to a relatively inert game both in terms of player engagement and game narrative. That’s why I had trouble pinpointing the problem at first; the disconnect isn’t on a traditional narrative level. Instead it is the result of a uniquely game-related design choice. Unlike Mass Effect 2, many of the missions, even some that involve companions, require backtracking through previously explored areas to kill bad guys/collect items/destroy things A, B, and C. They aren’t engaging tasks. You’ve probably done them thousands of times in other games. None of those things are as memorable or meaningful as the time Garrus tried to assassinate his ex-squad member, Sidonis, and was either talked into or out of it through conversation. I spent almost 100 hours in Thedas, and there were still areas I hadn’t fully explored. I completed the game at level 24, even though the game recommends the final mission for character levels 15-19. The world BioWare created was so big that the side stuff overtakes the main narrative, despite it being the least interesting part of the experience. It seems telling to me that “Leave the Hinterlands” has become a piece of advice repeated again and again. Players are getting wrapped up in checking all the boxes, going into every nook and cranny, and engaging less with the characters and narrative. That’s a shame, because the main quest missions are easily the most interesting parts of Dragon Age: Inquisition. I just wish that there were more of them and less uninspired open world quest design. Herb gathering exemplifies the issue perfectly. The game begins and it is exciting to stumble across herbs and harvest them, so you tap buttons to go through the gathering animations again and again. They’re all over the place. Then you discover that it takes herbs to replenish your supply of health potions. Gathering herbs stops being a cool diversion and becomes a necessity. Later you learn that it takes herbs to upgrade your potions, too. At this point, you will be willing to commit murder to not gather any more herbs. What started as a fun diversion becomes a mind-numbingly boring task. Sure, you can send soldiers to do it, but they’ll only bring six or seven plants back at a time, but you could collect double that in the time it takes them to bring more back. Even by the end of the game, I was scrabbling for more herbs, more crafting materials. It took me out of the world and diverted my attention from narratively important tasks. With the writing talent at their disposal, BioWare’s decision to focus away from the dialogues is perplexing. I don’t mean that Inquisition lacks in the dialogue department at all, but rather there was a slight design choice that clearly emphasizes the open world gameplay over the conversations. One of the things that I loved about both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series was that practically all conversations with significant NPCs that had more than one sentence to say were done from multiple fixed camera angles that created more engaging visuals than the player controlled camera was capable of providing. It made conversations feel more immediate and exciting. While that is certainly still present in Dragon Age: Inquisition, more often than not players will be kept in the broad player controlled camera during conversations. The design choice encourages players to leave the conversation with the NPC whenever they’d like. On paper, that seems like something a lot of players would want, but in practice I think it creates a lot of distance between the player and the sidequests or extra dialogue players might want to have with their companions. I understand that it is a large game and players have a lot to do, but are we really too busy to want personal conversations with important characters? I don’t think so, and I can’t help but feel we lost something rather important. Ultimately, the estrangement from Dragon Age: Inquisition hurt my perception of its narrative. Perhaps I spent too much time pursuing side content and not enough on finishing the core missions, but by the end of the game everything felt stacked in my protagonist’s favor and the climactic finale seemed like little more than a formality. This could be an indication that the narrative itself is a bit flawed on how it approaches the overarching conflict in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but that’s probably a spoiler-filled topic for another day. Conclusion: Despite the glitches, the feeling of disconnection, and the wall of text that might indicate otherwise, I very much enjoyed my time in Thedas. The criticisms I had were small, but they’ll be the reason Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t remembered quite as fondly as Origins or the Mass Effect series. Dragon Age: Inquisition left me wanting more, curious as to where the franchise might be headed next. Color me doubly curious since many loose ends from both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 are resolved by the time the credits roll in Inquisition. I opened this review with a recommendation and I’m ending it with another. Do yourself a favor and play Dragon Age: Inquisition. Any missteps it makes pale in comparison to the enjoyable experience it can offer. Dragon Age: Inquisition was reviewed PC and is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360
  4. It is easy to forget that BioWare took a bold risk when they launched their untested, original IP as an Xbox 360 exclusive back in 2007. The RPG genre had never truly veered into uncharted territory with a mainstream release as with a third-person shooter hybrid. On top of that, it was set in an unknown universe that the marketing team could easily have over-inflated to generate hype only to fall victim to the backlash (remember the cautionary tale of Advent Rising?). However, what made Mass Effect special was that it actually managed to live up to the hype. It worked. It had choices that engaged players. It was full of unique and interesting piece of universe-building and memorable characters. It delivered the sci-fi adventure some people had been waiting their entire lives to see in a video game for the first time. Almost a decade later with a new entry in the franchise releasing this week, does the original Mass Effect stand as not merely a good game, but one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Uncharted Depths' by Hy Bound (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02157) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  5. It is easy to forget that BioWare took a bold risk when they launched their untested, original IP as an Xbox 360 exclusive back in 2007. The RPG genre had never truly veered into uncharted territory with a mainstream release as with a third-person shooter hybrid. On top of that, it was set in an unknown universe that the marketing team could easily have over-inflated to generate hype only to fall victim to the backlash (remember the cautionary tale of Advent Rising?). However, what made Mass Effect special was that it actually managed to live up to the hype. It worked. It had choices that engaged players. It was full of unique and interesting piece of universe-building and memorable characters. It delivered the sci-fi adventure some people had been waiting their entire lives to see in a video game for the first time. Almost a decade later with a new entry in the franchise releasing this week, does the original Mass Effect stand as not merely a good game, but one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Uncharted Depths' by Hy Bound (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02157) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  6. Mass Effect: Andromeda releases later this month bringing players into BioWare's sci-fi universe once again. The spacefaring adventure might hit stores on March 21, but those who subscribe to EA's Access service will have 10 hours of pre-release gameplay time beginning on March 16. A similar perk is available for PC users through Origin Access. Unfortunately for PlayStation 4 owners, EA Access is exclusive to the Xbox One and no options are available to PS4 players to get in on the early slice of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Interestingly enough, that 10 hours of gameplay won't be completely unfettered. Players will be limited to a handful of story missions on a single planet before additional progress becomes locked. At that point, players can either explore or restart Andromeda. Mass Effect producer Fernando Melo expanded a bit on the limitations of the EA Access game time on Twitter. For more Mass Effect: Andromeda goodness, check out the trailer for BioWare's new space epic.
  7. Mass Effect: Andromeda releases later this month bringing players into BioWare's sci-fi universe once again. The spacefaring adventure might hit stores on March 21, but those who subscribe to EA's Access service will have 10 hours of pre-release gameplay time beginning on March 16. A similar perk is available for PC users through Origin Access. Unfortunately for PlayStation 4 owners, EA Access is exclusive to the Xbox One and no options are available to PS4 players to get in on the early slice of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Interestingly enough, that 10 hours of gameplay won't be completely unfettered. Players will be limited to a handful of story missions on a single planet before additional progress becomes locked. At that point, players can either explore or restart Andromeda. Mass Effect producer Fernando Melo expanded a bit on the limitations of the EA Access game time on Twitter. For more Mass Effect: Andromeda goodness, check out the trailer for BioWare's new space epic. View full article
  8. BioWare's next installment in the Mass Effect universe looms on the video game release horizon only a scant few weeks away. While we've certainly seen a decent chunk of gameplay and cinematics, much of game still seems to be shrouded in mystery. Today, BioWare pulled back a bit more of the curtain on Mass Effect: Andromeda. As explorers sent to an entirely unexplored new galaxy, players need to establish and secure a new world 2.5 million light years away from Earth. If that weren't already a daunting task, the alien races that inhabit that new galaxy are unpredictable - some might greet explorers with curiosity and open arms, but others are out for blood. Players will need to explore, craft, and fight to carve a new home out of a dangerous new frontier.
  9. BioWare's next installment in the Mass Effect universe looms on the video game release horizon only a scant few weeks away. While we've certainly seen a decent chunk of gameplay and cinematics, much of game still seems to be shrouded in mystery. Today, BioWare pulled back a bit more of the curtain on Mass Effect: Andromeda. As explorers sent to an entirely unexplored new galaxy, players need to establish and secure a new world 2.5 million light years away from Earth. If that weren't already a daunting task, the alien races that inhabit that new galaxy are unpredictable - some might greet explorers with curiosity and open arms, but others are out for blood. Players will need to explore, craft, and fight to carve a new home out of a dangerous new frontier. View full article
  10. Stoic Games, the team of ex-BioWare developers who crafted 2014's The Banner Saga, have returned to Kickstarter to fund the final installment in their turn-based tactical trilogy. The original Banner Saga was initially funded via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2012 that raised a whopping $700,000 - seven times more than the original goal of $100,000. That surplus of funds allowed Stoic to push the initial game much farther than they had originally envisioned and also develop the sequel, Banner Saga 2. It might seem odd that Stoic has returned to crowdfund their third game, but the studio has an answer for those scratching their heads. "We’re still solidly indie," says the studio, "[We're] not accepting any investor funding, so Kickstarter is still a great way to rally the community to show support for the game, while letting us call the shots on the games we make. We’re paying for most of the game ourselves, but the funds we’re asking for will enable us to take the time we need and bring the band back together one more time!" Stoic seeks to raise $200,000 for The Banner Saga. Given the success of the first campaign and how praise enjoyed by the previous two Banner Saga games, it is likely that the campaign will exceed $200,000 easily. Over $100,000 had been raised less than 24 hours after launching its campaign. No stretch goals have been announced yet. The Banner Saga 3 will see a number of the contributors that helped bring the previous games alive. Austin Wintory, one of the best composers working in games today, will be lending his talent to the series once again. The animation studio responsible for the trilogy's breathtaking hand-drawn aesthetic, Powerhouse Animation, will supposedly return as well. Stoic has also tapped into Icelandic vocal recording outfit Studio Syrland to capture the essence of the Norse-Viking vibe that The Banner Saga taps into. The Banner Saga series focuses on a story about the end of the world from the perspective of those who live in it. It's a tale of survival against a hostile world full of environmental dangers and the unsavory attentions of predatory enemies. Obscure occult powers, monstrous creatures, and dead gods litter a world which trembles and cracks at their passing. Tough decisions await players as they guild a growing (or shrinking) band of survivors through the perils of a dying planet in an almost Oregon Trail-like fashion. Those choices can change the fate of who lives and dies on the long journey to what will hopefully be safety. Life or death struggles over supplies might break out among the survivors or villainous forces could attack, the player must always e ready to step up and fight. A brutal, unique take on turn-based combat makes up the meat of the Banner Saga series. Equal parts Fire Emblem and XCOM, players must use the unique abilities of their companions to fend off death for just one or two more days. Always one or two more days. Those who back The Banner Saga 3 will have the option of purchasing both The Banner Saga 1 and 2 for $20 on top of their original pledge once the campaign closes.
  11. Stoic Games, the team of ex-BioWare developers who crafted 2014's The Banner Saga, have returned to Kickstarter to fund the final installment in their turn-based tactical trilogy. The original Banner Saga was initially funded via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2012 that raised a whopping $700,000 - seven times more than the original goal of $100,000. That surplus of funds allowed Stoic to push the initial game much farther than they had originally envisioned and also develop the sequel, Banner Saga 2. It might seem odd that Stoic has returned to crowdfund their third game, but the studio has an answer for those scratching their heads. "We’re still solidly indie," says the studio, "[We're] not accepting any investor funding, so Kickstarter is still a great way to rally the community to show support for the game, while letting us call the shots on the games we make. We’re paying for most of the game ourselves, but the funds we’re asking for will enable us to take the time we need and bring the band back together one more time!" Stoic seeks to raise $200,000 for The Banner Saga. Given the success of the first campaign and how praise enjoyed by the previous two Banner Saga games, it is likely that the campaign will exceed $200,000 easily. Over $100,000 had been raised less than 24 hours after launching its campaign. No stretch goals have been announced yet. The Banner Saga 3 will see a number of the contributors that helped bring the previous games alive. Austin Wintory, one of the best composers working in games today, will be lending his talent to the series once again. The animation studio responsible for the trilogy's breathtaking hand-drawn aesthetic, Powerhouse Animation, will supposedly return as well. Stoic has also tapped into Icelandic vocal recording outfit Studio Syrland to capture the essence of the Norse-Viking vibe that The Banner Saga taps into. The Banner Saga series focuses on a story about the end of the world from the perspective of those who live in it. It's a tale of survival against a hostile world full of environmental dangers and the unsavory attentions of predatory enemies. Obscure occult powers, monstrous creatures, and dead gods litter a world which trembles and cracks at their passing. Tough decisions await players as they guild a growing (or shrinking) band of survivors through the perils of a dying planet in an almost Oregon Trail-like fashion. Those choices can change the fate of who lives and dies on the long journey to what will hopefully be safety. Life or death struggles over supplies might break out among the survivors or villainous forces could attack, the player must always e ready to step up and fight. A brutal, unique take on turn-based combat makes up the meat of the Banner Saga series. Equal parts Fire Emblem and XCOM, players must use the unique abilities of their companions to fend off death for just one or two more days. Always one or two more days. Those who back The Banner Saga 3 will have the option of purchasing both The Banner Saga 1 and 2 for $20 on top of their original pledge once the campaign closes. View full article
  12. Dragon Age: Inquisition comes out next month on November 18, but EA is already prepping by giving out the first Dragon Age RPG for less the staggering price of nothing. People looking to snag a copy of the fantastic Dragon Age: Origins will need an Origin account to download their free copy. While I know that not a ton of people are a fan of Origin, it is pretty hard to turn your nose up at a free copy of one of BioWare's best RPGs. The promotion will only be available for the next six days, so hop to it.
  13. BioWare has announced that Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch with a standalone multiplayer mode that will allow players to team up and tackle dungeons together. Multiplayer will consist of four player cooperative quests with plenty of difficult encounters, unique objectives, loot, crafting, and new characters. There will be twelve multiplayer characters available at launch, each with different roles to fill in combat. “For Dragon Age: Inquisition, a special team of veteran developers from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises created fun, fast-paced multiplayer gameplay that requires strategic teamwork on top of Inquisition’s party-based combat and extensive loot and crafting system,” said Aaryn Flynn, BioWare's general manager. BioWare wants to assuage any fears that the multiplayer might be negatively affect their single player experience, so to be absolutely clear: The story and single player will be unaffected by the presence of multiplayer. Dragon Age fans will be able to get a sneak peak at the multiplayer at PAX Prime August 29-September 1 in Seattle, Washington.
  14. Over the last couple months, BioWare has been releasing a series of trailers on their teaser site "You Have Been Chosen." The third and seemingly final teaser was released today and the included description points to gamescom as a reveal. The first trailer, Nightmare, delves into the troubled dreams of a young man and features scenes of destruction and a man with smoke for a head. The second teaser focuses on a different young man who sits scribbling a circle in a restaurant while his phone rings repeatedly before something or someone seemingly comes for him. BioWare's latest teaser ups the stakes, following a young woman as she repeats the phrase, "It's not my fault," and approaches a flaming crater in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. What could this BioWare project possibly be? Your guess is as good as mine. Luckily, we'll get our answers on August 13 at gamescom. Not able to make it to Germany? There will be a livestream of the event beginning on the 13th at 7AM-8AM PDT.
  15. Yesterday, Nick Thornborrow, a concept artist working at BioWare, announced on his tumblr that a 184 page volume titled The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition will be releasing on the same day as the game. The hardcover book will contain hundreds of never before seen pieces of artwork that went into the design of Inquisition. Expect to see early renderings of heroes, creatures, villains, and the world of Thedas."It throws back the curtain to show you the work that has gone into shaping Inquisition by many talented artists," said Thornborrow. The book will retail at $39.99, but the pre-order price is $30.39, so the best time to purchase the art book might be before October 7.
  16. BioWare today revealed the impending release date along with a new gameplay trailer to get fans excited to play as the mysterious Inquisitor. The new trailer shows off a bit of the overarching Inquisition story as well as some brief snippets of combat, enemies, and shows off the gorgeous environments. Be sure to check out the screenshots released last month that showcased the new creatures, environments, and characters. Dragon Age: Inquisition is slated for release on October 7 on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC via Origin.
  17. For the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition later this year, developer BioWare has decided to give the vocally-talented (and the not-so-talented) the opportunity to voice a minor character in the world of Thedas. From now until 12:01 a.m. on March 24, Dragon Age and BioWare fans will be able to submit a recording of themselves reading one of two scripts for bit parts in Inquisition. Prospective voice actors and actresses will have the option of reading the lines of an unnamed villager or seneschal to demonstrate your vocal talents. A panel of judges from within BioWare will then review submissions and decide the winner. Keep in mind if you decide to enter that the panel will be judging based on the following criteria: 40% voice quality, 40% performance quality, and 20% vocally fitting with the Dragon Age style. The winner of this contest will be announced on April 14 and be flown out to a recording studio to contribute their mouth-words to the Inquisition. If this sounds pretty cool or interesting, just record yourself and email it to takeyourplace@BioWare.com. Interested in throwing your hat into the ring, but feeling a bit self-conscious or nervous? If I can do it, so can you! You've got nothing to lose, so just have fun! Who knows, you might be the next Troy Baker.
  18. BioWare's flagship high fantasy RPG series has been flying a bit under the radar of late, but Dragon Age returned at EA's pre-E3 press conference yesterday. The trailer holds the haunting narration of the recurring witch Flemeth as voiced by the talented Kate Mulgrew. Old faces from both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II will be making appearances in Dragon Age III, though it is not known if they will be playable characters or if they will merely make cameos. Dragon Age III: Inquisition is an open world RPG built on the Frostbite 3 engine and choice will affect the world as well as the narrative. Inquisition will release sometime during Fall 2014.
  19. The Walt Disney Company, the owner of all things Star Wars, announced today that they had chosen to contract EA to create new Star Wars video games for the foreseeable future. EA announced this with pride over on their official blog, adding that the future of Star Wars includes tablets, mobile, and other devices as well as the traditional console and PC entries. While I am sure that many gamers out there are curious as to what this means for old Lucas Arts Star Wars games like First Assault and 1313, EA has declined to mention details on any specific titles. However, they stated that they had top studios such as Battlefield developer DICE, Visceral, which created the acclaimed Dead Space franchise, and BioWare, who previously created one of the greatest games of all time with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, working on Star Wars related projects. All games coming out of these studios will be powered by the Frostbite 3 engine. While EA promised that all of the content coming out of these and other EA affiliated studios would be original, I wouldn’t mind if they dipped into the deep and relatively untouched well of past Star Wars series to give them a new life. A DICE developed Star Wars Battlefront or Rogue Squadron would be incredible. If Visceral took up the reins of 1313 or created another Star Wars Republic Commando I would be ecstatic. And if BioWare is working on a single player Knights of the Old Republic III, I would definitely disappear for a week when that releases. Any one of those hypothetical games would win me over to this new deal between Disney and EA, but for now we have to sit tight and wait for more news. What Star Wars titles do you want to see coming out of EA?
  20. The Game Awards showcased a large selection of upcoming titles that captured the imagination of those in attendance and watching via livestream. While all the games shown were indeed hotly anticipated, few titles have as rabid a following as the Mass Effect fanbase who were treated to almost five minutes of gameplay from the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda. The 4K gameplay on display in the gameplay trailer demonstrated many scenarios of frantic, fast-paced action that maintains the series' third-person perspective adapted to the fluidity of Dragon Age Inquisition's Frostbite Engine. It doesn't quite seem to be as tactical as past entries, with less of a reliance on cover-based shooting. Most of the actions seemed to be mapped to buttons rather than a mid-action pause screen (though on one occasion the feature does reappear when the player character switches ammo types). The series' trademark dialogue wheel and action prompts remain, clearly shown in an exchange between a provincial thug and the Pathfinder. Players will also still be able to combine abilities to perform combos of some sort. Interestingly, it seems like perhaps stealth will be a more viable way of playing Andromeda than in previous entries - one segment of gameplay shows the player can have the ability to turn invisible in order to line up headshots on unsuspecting sentries. Crafting will be a bigger part of the series than it has since the first Mass Effect title. Players will begin with what they have aboard their ship, but anything else will have to be scavenged and crafted from the materials found on the worlds they find during their exploration. That exploration doesn't come without danger, either. Ravenous beasts prowl the unknown and some are willing to attack on sight. Some planets play host to pirates armed with everything from laser cannons to mechs, others might hold unencountered alien races who might view an intrusion by Council races as an act of war. Once again, Mass Effect offers the thrill of the unknown and it is hard not to get excited at the prospect of revisiting that rich universe to see what BioWare has cooked up in the years since the conclusion of Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect: Andromeda releases Spring 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
  21. The Game Awards showcased a large selection of upcoming titles that captured the imagination of those in attendance and watching via livestream. While all the games shown were indeed hotly anticipated, few titles have as rabid a following as the Mass Effect fanbase who were treated to almost five minutes of gameplay from the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda. The 4K gameplay on display in the gameplay trailer demonstrated many scenarios of frantic, fast-paced action that maintains the series' third-person perspective adapted to the fluidity of Dragon Age Inquisition's Frostbite Engine. It doesn't quite seem to be as tactical as past entries, with less of a reliance on cover-based shooting. Most of the actions seemed to be mapped to buttons rather than a mid-action pause screen (though on one occasion the feature does reappear when the player character switches ammo types). The series' trademark dialogue wheel and action prompts remain, clearly shown in an exchange between a provincial thug and the Pathfinder. Players will also still be able to combine abilities to perform combos of some sort. Interestingly, it seems like perhaps stealth will be a more viable way of playing Andromeda than in previous entries - one segment of gameplay shows the player can have the ability to turn invisible in order to line up headshots on unsuspecting sentries. Crafting will be a bigger part of the series than it has since the first Mass Effect title. Players will begin with what they have aboard their ship, but anything else will have to be scavenged and crafted from the materials found on the worlds they find during their exploration. That exploration doesn't come without danger, either. Ravenous beasts prowl the unknown and some are willing to attack on sight. Some planets play host to pirates armed with everything from laser cannons to mechs, others might hold unencountered alien races who might view an intrusion by Council races as an act of war. Once again, Mass Effect offers the thrill of the unknown and it is hard not to get excited at the prospect of revisiting that rich universe to see what BioWare has cooked up in the years since the conclusion of Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect: Andromeda releases Spring 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. View full article
  22. From now until September 28 at 6:59am GMT, Mass Effect fans can submit vocal performances to BioWare for a chance to have their voice contribute to the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda. Those who follow BioWare closely might be reminded of the time the prolific RPG developer put on a similar contest for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Those who wish to toss their hats into the voice acting ring can choose one of two scripts. The first places the voice actor in the role of a self-described "documentary vidmaker" talking through an interview while the other role represents a tough, business-like mercenary talking with their companion. The submission can be audio only or include video as well (though the most important part of the submission will necessarily be audio). When contestants have a take with which they feel happy, they can send a link to their uploaded work to explorers@bioware.com and are encouraged to share that work on social media with the hashtag #ExplorersWanted. Make sure to read the rules to ensure your submission falls within BioWare's contest guidelines. The winning entrant will be notified by November 30 and flown to a BioWare recording studio with paid hotel accommodation while their voice contributes to BioWare's next sci-fi space epic. You can read the full contest rules and download the scripts from BioWare's announcement. Mass Effect: Andromeda is expected to release March 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  23. From now until September 28 at 6:59am GMT, Mass Effect fans can submit vocal performances to BioWare for a chance to have their voice contribute to the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda. Those who follow BioWare closely might be reminded of the time the prolific RPG developer put on a similar contest for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Those who wish to toss their hats into the voice acting ring can choose one of two scripts. The first places the voice actor in the role of a self-described "documentary vidmaker" talking through an interview while the other role represents a tough, business-like mercenary talking with their companion. The submission can be audio only or include video as well (though the most important part of the submission will necessarily be audio). When contestants have a take with which they feel happy, they can send a link to their uploaded work to explorers@bioware.com and are encouraged to share that work on social media with the hashtag #ExplorersWanted. Make sure to read the rules to ensure your submission falls within BioWare's contest guidelines. The winning entrant will be notified by November 30 and flown to a BioWare recording studio with paid hotel accommodation while their voice contributes to BioWare's next sci-fi space epic. You can read the full contest rules and download the scripts from BioWare's announcement. Mass Effect: Andromeda is expected to release March 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  24. Come Friday, the BioWare forums that have been in operation for the past six years will become read-only. After two months, the read-only period will end and the forums for the Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and legacy franchises like Jade Empire and Knights of the Old Republic will be no more. In their announcement of the forum closure, BioWare stated that the decision was difficult: Our players are important to us. Your feedback, stories, and love for our games drive and inspire us. In the past, our forums were the only way we could speak to you directly. They allowed our developers to talk with fans, and gave our players the opportunity to talk with each other about our games. But with the rise of social media and geek culture, there have never been more ways for us to connect. EA and BioWare figure that since there are other online communities on sites like Reddit or Tumblr where fans of their games have joined together that makes their forums obsolete (with the exception of the Old Republic forums, which will continue to operate normally for the foreseeable future). Being able to meet fans at events like PAX also factored into their decision, according to their statement. As a result, people working at BioWare or EA have been spending less time on the forums due to having to cover all the other avenues of information. Some private boards will be spared the forum purge for future betas and special projects. It's truly the end of an era for BioWare as it moves in a new direction. That direction might not be healthy for fans, especially those who made the BioWare forums their own community. "This is our home now, and while it may seem strange and confusing I believe we're going to settle in just fine," said BioWare forum user Kolomir back in 2010 when BioWare moved to the forums currently in use. The BioWare forums will be inaccessible after October 26 of this year.
  25. Come Friday, the BioWare forums that have been in operation for the past six years will become read-only. After two months, the read-only period will end and the forums for the Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and legacy franchises like Jade Empire and Knights of the Old Republic will be no more. In their announcement of the forum closure, BioWare stated that the decision was difficult: Our players are important to us. Your feedback, stories, and love for our games drive and inspire us. In the past, our forums were the only way we could speak to you directly. They allowed our developers to talk with fans, and gave our players the opportunity to talk with each other about our games. But with the rise of social media and geek culture, there have never been more ways for us to connect. EA and BioWare figure that since there are other online communities on sites like Reddit or Tumblr where fans of their games have joined together that makes their forums obsolete (with the exception of the Old Republic forums, which will continue to operate normally for the foreseeable future). Being able to meet fans at events like PAX also factored into their decision, according to their statement. As a result, people working at BioWare or EA have been spending less time on the forums due to having to cover all the other avenues of information. Some private boards will be spared the forum purge for future betas and special projects. It's truly the end of an era for BioWare as it moves in a new direction. That direction might not be healthy for fans, especially those who made the BioWare forums their own community. "This is our home now, and while it may seem strange and confusing I believe we're going to settle in just fine," said BioWare forum user Kolomir back in 2010 when BioWare moved to the forums currently in use. The BioWare forums will be inaccessible after October 26 of this year. View full article