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Brakketology Goes Pimping for Darkest Dungeon


There are a lot of games in the pipe that I’m excited for. Like really excited for. Like, man, you guys just don’t even know. Pillars of Eternity? Wasteland 2? The Witcher 3? Dragon Age 3? The iOS edition of FTL? I’m pretty much agog for these titles. So when I tell you that, with the possible exception of Witcher 3, there is no game I’m more looking forward to seeing than Darkest Dungeon, take me seriously. Well, maybe not seriously, but perhaps with an extra grain of salt. We don’t want to go overboard here.

The point is, it’s Kickstarter has launched and I don’t just want to see this tactical dungeon crawler meets psychological horror mash-up meet it’s goal of 75k. I want it to leave that goal so far in the rear view mirror that… well that it can’t be seen anymore, I guess. (Well, that line fell apart fast. Ah well.) So, watch the trailer below, check out the plethora of details on the Kickstarter page, and if you are so moved, help this project get made. Sure, it could end up imploding into so much vaporware, but I’ve got a Good Feeling about this one and I’m almost never wrong. Except when I am. But I’m not this time. Mark it down – this is going to be great.

After the break, a link dump…

My schedule has been nutty the past couple weeks, hence the lack of these posts. I’ve been trapped in New York because of snow –in Atlanta– I’ve been sick, I’ve been juggling kids and work because their schools haven’t found a week yet this year that where they didn’t feel the need for multiple delays or outright cancellations. They’re worse than the game industry in this regard and it’s entirely possible my kids will still be in school come July. The point is, there’s been a lot of new shit, man. But I’ve been collecting a lot of links. Lots of ’em. And now I’m dumping them all out so I can start collecting anew. (And free up some bandwidth to write about the amazing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Coming soon.)

Football for one. After quite a long journey, good friend of the blog Bill Harris, released Gridiron Solitaire into the wild. You’ll find it on Steam for a mere $10. Brandon and I talked about it quite a bit on this week’s JtS and while it’s not a perfect game, it is good… and addicting… and maddening. If you take the plunge, Bill (H.) wrote up a new player guide that you’ll find here. Congrats, Bill!

The Wolf Cometh. The second chapter for A Wolf Among Us is out. I haven’t gotten into it yet, but the trailer looks delicious:

Yeah, I’m gonna have to play this:

Saga! If you missed the trademark spat between Stoic Entertainment and King it’s worth catching up. In short, Stoic are the good guys. King is full of terrible people. Done. The Story.King Responds.Stoic says, “Bite me.”

Not Quite Microleague. Well, not yet, but OOTP Developments is finally —finally– taking the franchise in that direction with 3D ballparks and modelling in-game ball flight. The plan is to take it further in the next edition. I’ve wanted this to make it into OOTP for a long time now, so fingers crossed.

Well that only took a year. Tomb Raider is in the black. Here’s a thought for Eidos. SPEND LESS MONEY MAKING GAMES.

Dammit, now I have to buy one. 5 Wii U Lies. I love it when Barnes finds something he really, really likes. Except when it’s going to end up costing me money, which this might.

Nobody tell Bill. There’s a Dark Souls 2 trailer.

I never did play Dark Souls, having lost my mind trying to tackled Demon’s Souls, but this looks like the kind of thing that ought to get a Dark Souls fan excited.

It’s not quite dead. When 2k unceremoniously announced the 2k baseball franchise was kaput it looked like there would be no new America’s Game for Xbox players this year. Not so, because MLB Advanced Media is bringing back RBI baseball! Yes, a game coming out this spring with no screens and no feature list, based on a NES-era franchise that’s been gone for 20 years. Oh yeah, and it’s developed by the MLB itself. What could possibly go wrong? (Hint: Everything.)

Gone Home. Danielle, you all might remember her, wrote something beautiful about Gone Home. Go read it. As much as we miss seeing her voice appear on this blog, I love seeing her byline pop up at Polygon.

Swanky! Stardock recently posted about the new game engine they’ve licensed from Oxide Games. It’s bananas:

Obviously, this is merely a tech demo, but it’s nifty. Anyone else want to see a Robotech game using this engine?

Pillars! Update 70 has a bunch of cool details about Pillars of Eternity.



Brakketology Faces the Inquisition


Here there be dragons. We’re jumping right in this week. There’s a 30-minute gameplay video of Dragon Age: Inquisition that has, so far, managed to survive YouTube scrutiny. It’s from Bioware presentation given to attendees at Digiexpo (whatever that is) and, for fans of the series, it’s worth taking the time to watch. Some highlights:

  • Right from the get go, they’re quick to point out that the area they’re traveling in is bigger than all of Dragon Age 2. Me thinks Bioware still feels a wee bit stung by criticism of DA2 being too small. The thing is, size and scale were never Dragon Age 2’s problem.
  • Combat does look like a meld of both of the DA games. At about 18 minutes in they show off the tactical camera, which is available in the console versions this time around. That said, it still looks a bit arcadey, though it’s impossible to say when you’re watching someone else control the action. There is also a section that shows off group tactics that feels very DA2. I’m hopeful, but this is the kind of thing you have to be hands-on to get a feel for.
  • Combat difficulty does not scale based on your character level. This is a good thing, so long as the world is designed properly.
  • Lots of emphasis on decision-making in this video. In this case, do you defend a town from vile beasties or do you stock up the nearby keep to prevent it from being lost. This element overarches the entire 30 minute demo and is very promising as your choice does appear to affect both the world at large and the members of your party. Yes, yes, appearances can be deceiving and they often are. If you skip ahead, however, to the 24-minute mark, you get a good (narrated) summary of how this particular decision can effect the world at large.
  • Speaking of the world, the 14-minute mark has a world map view that is cool for series fans as it actually shows elements of the DA-verse that we’ve only heard of so far, but not seen. I don’t think I’ve seen a map that showed more than Ferelden (and Kirkwall) and getting to see where some of the nations are in relation to each other was worth geeking out over.

I’ve embedded the video after the break, along with your usual dish of Brakketology-style musings…

Quitter! Soren Johnson, he of recently created Mohawk Games fame, wrote a terrific bit summarizing what he’s learned from 13 years of “giving up” in game development. Context:

Looking back at my post-Civ career, I compromised the games I wanted to make with what my employers were willing to fund. With Spore, that compromise meant finishing someone else’s game. With Strategy Station, that compromise meant working without a team. With Dragon Age Legends, that compromise meant turning an RPG into a social game. With Zynga, that compromise meant making my game under the shadow of indifferent management. I was giving up before I had even begun.

Go read the whole thing, but the short version is he’s done with it (the giving up) and that’s reason enough to be excited for whatever comes out of Mohawk.

The game behind the game. Speaking of having a look behind the curtain, Tyler Sigman of Darkest Dungeon, wrote up another piece for PA Report. This one is all about the gruntwork that must be done to prepare for announcing a game. This is more nuts and bolts than your usual peek back stage; doubly so because it’s for a game that’s still in development as opposed to a post-mortem. Here’s a snip discussing how they decided what to show of the game for the initial announcement:

At the time of announcement, we actually had a lot more that we could’ve shown. A working build, screen mockups and screenshots, design specs, concept art, etc. But we want a connected, involved fan base that we need to grow over the next year. We want people to bring some of their own hopes and ideas into the exchange.

We want to reserve the chance the change things. We want fans checking every week to see what’s up on FB, Twitter,, and so on. If you blast everything out on Day 1, then the next meaningful news is only when you’ve hit some other major milestone. On the flip side, if we show too little, then people think you have An Idea and there isn’t A Game yet.

Our strategy so far has been to err on the “show little” side of the spectrum. But this is largely because the “Terror and Madness” trailer was the centerpiece of our announcement. Each week since we have been posting things, and come Kickstarter campaign time (expected Jan/Feb), we will do another huge push with lots of new reveals.

This is not an interesting concept with no real development chops behind it. These guys are pros, man. I have zero reservations about Kickstarting this game when the crowdfunding component goes live. (FYI, there’s also a quick blog update at their home site.)

You’ve got some red on you. I don’t really know anything about Redshirt (now available on Steam, GOG, and the Mac Store), but I think I should play it. The $20 price point gives me pause, but it looks hella fun. Anyone had a chance to check it out yet?

Gridiron grittyness. You know, but with cards. I’ve been a fan of Bill Harris since the days of Gone Gold and it’s been fun to read weekly updates about the odyssey that has been his endeavor to build a cool football-themed solitaire card game. The light is fast approaching from the end of the tunnel and, to that end, he’s hoping to get the game into Steam via Greenlight. So, go over there and help him out, will you? This is absolutely a game fans of Fairway Solitaire should be keeping tabs on.

Make this a movie, or at least a 30-minute short.

I want to see a full X-Men kitty squad. Wolverine should be no trouble, because, like, claws and stuff. Iceman might be tricky because if he licks himself he might start to melt. What about a Nightcrawler cat that BAMF’s up on top of someone’s head? It’s gold, Jerry. GOLD!