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And then, thirty years passed in the blink of an eye...
Taking RPG tropes and subverting them, this outing was considerably lighter in tone than most other RPG’s of the era, but the trouble was that it never quite rang true to the roots of The Bard’s Tale.
Enter InXile Entertainment, a company that has – slowly – been showing their pedigree through games like Torment: Tides of Numera, a Kickstarted game that shares themes with cult classic Planescape: Torment and Wasteland 2, a new follow-up to a venerable, deep role playing experience that was arguably the seed for fan-favourites Fallout 1 and 2.
Given their success with Kickstarter, InXile are turning to the crowd funding platform again to Kickstart a fourth Bard’s Tale. And this time, they’ll be taking the series back to that mystical turn-based era.
The Kickstarter starts on the 2nd of June, 2015. So get ready to fund some turn based spell singing.Update! If you back the project on the first day with a $20 pledge, you can also get either The Witcher 1, The Witcher 2 or Wasteland 2. This offer is ONLY valid for that first twenty four hours.
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (Arc System Works, Single & Multi-player, $14.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 (Idea Factory, Single-player, $29.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (Acquire, Single-player, $29.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Badland (Frogmind, Single-player & Co-op, $9.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Bladestorm: Nightmare (Koei Tecmo, Single-player & Co-op, $59.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Magicka 2 (Paradox Interactive, Single & Multi-player, $14.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- A Bastard's Tale (No Pest Productions, Single-player, $4.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Magnetic: Cage Closed (Guru Games, Single-player, $14.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Audiosurf 2 (Dylan Fitterer, Single-player & Co-op, $14.99) (Controller Support)
- Catlateral Damage (Chris Chung, Single-player, $9.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Flame Over (Laughing Jackal, Single-player, $11.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- The Next Penelope (Aurelien Regard, Single & Multi-player, $12.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
- Horizon Shift (Flump Studios, Single-player, $4.99) (Controller Support, Steam Achievements)
Michael Paeck, also Managing Director at Cliffhanger, told Kurier.at (also german): “Shadowrun Chronicles is not affected by the insolvency and both operation and further development will continue. They will be handled by our affiliate company Cliffhanger Productions Games GmbH (a separate legal entity from the now bankrupt Cliffhanger Productions Software GmbH)”
Paeck also mentions that they are currently in talks with potential investors, but to no avail yet.
So, what could this all mean?
First off: Players of Shadowrun Chronicles will probably still be able to enjoy the game for some time. No promises can be made, but if all of this is true, then things are looking quite a bit brighter for the games future.
UGE_plex mentioned in our comments that Nordic Games, who are also based in Vienna, was heavily involved in publishing and distribution. We also know that Nordic has been securing IPs and games left and right for the last couple of months. While certainly not a AAA publisher, they do seem to care for their franchises and them acquiring as much of the assets on sale as possible, would sound like a good move for both parties.
There is also still the possibility of a composition proceeding, which would mean that the company would be able to continue operating. This would however mean, that the creditors approve the reducing of the debt that has to be paid.
I will try to keep you updated on this developing story, and if you have any new information leave us a comment.
Whats everyone playing over the weekend?
- Andrew J Amideo (@Andoro36): Freedom Planet, Fallout: New Vegas.
- Billy Colley (@Amuntoth): I'll be finishing Chroma Squad, streaming some Sega Master System Pro Wrestling, and also streaming some Flame Over
- Cody Hall (@Yoda0VGs): Get another job non simulator 2015, some dues ex and Witcher 3 to escape life inbetween interviews.
- Greywolfe (@lostwolfe, YouTube): the dig [which is nearly done], limbo and quest for glory 2 [which is also nearly done.]
- Jimmy Vegas (@JimmyPhantom17): Still working through Wolfenstein The New Order
- John Rausch (@visitzebes): Splatoon!
- Jye Cauffle:I'm playing Bloodborne when I get a chance, can't wait for the DLC
- Thomas Ortsik (@Dr_Strangethumb): No clue. So many great games, so little time. Would love to play some Splatoon, but my credit card says NOOOO!
- Trisha Baumgartner (twitch): Started playing through saints row 4, also doing a ton of instances on wow while I work this weekend.
- Trey Valeska (@Trey_Valeska): NEON STRUCT, Insurgency, and Super Win the Game. (Happy weekend!)
- Whylekat: 30 hours deep into Witcher 3. Can't stop now.
- Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM): Bloodborne and Vain Glory. Got that MOBA itch. Wish I had an iPad though.
- Sam Prell (@SamPrell): Just got two bosses before a Bloodborne platinum is mine, ALL MINE!!
- Susan Arendt (@SusanArendt): Plague, Inc. There is nothing as soothing as destroying the world.
- Mike Suszek (@mikesuszek): I'm playing the "marry my best friend" game. And maybe Destiny!
- Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello, Twitch): I got that itch to Witch, baby.
2nd UPDATE: According to Cliffhanger employee “loquee”, the fate of the company is not yet decided.
UPDATE the 3rd: Couple of new developments you can find in our follow-up story
Cliffhanger Productions, developer of Aerena and the recently launched Shadowrun Chronicles will most likely close its doors. The Austrian studio declared bankruptcy in front of the Viennese Commercial Court and already got assigned a liquidator.
However, with the closure of the studio, which would also lead to 29 people losing their job, there would probably be no more support for the game. This is especially worrying since it only just launched at the end of April and still has some very rough edges.
Creditors can file any claims until July 21st at the Viennese Commercial Court, with an examination hearing following on August 4th.
This is a strong blow to the perpetually endangered Austrian game development scene and I personally wish everyone who lost (or could lose) their job good luck.
- Splatoon (Nintendo, up to 8 players, $59.99)
- Mega Man Zero 3 (Game Boy Advance Virtual Console) (Capcom, 1 player, $7.99)
- Mega Man Battle Network 4 - Blue Moon (Game Boy Advance Virtual Console) (Capcom, 1 player, $7.99)
- Mega Man Battle Network 4 - Red Sun (Game Boy Advance Virtual Console) (Capcom, 1 player, $7.99)
- Don't Starve: Giant Edition (Klei Entertainment, 1 player, $14.99)
- Rival Turf (Super Nintendo Virtual Console) (Hamster, 2 players, simultaneous, $7.99)
- Baila Latino (O2 Games, up to 4 players, $29.99)
NEON STRUCT is a first person stealth game with shades of Eldritch, Thief, and Deus Ex. These influences are just smaller parts of a whole. It's clear to see, NEON STRUCT stands on its own two legs. But enough sneaking around, here’s David Pittman in his own words:
TV: You just released your second game under the Minor Key banner, NEON STRUCT. Can you tell us what it brings to the table?
DP: NEON STRUCT is a political thriller stealth game. Set in a neon-and-concrete Brutalist world and loosely inspired by the modern surveillance state, it casts the player as agent Jillian Cleary, an ex-spy on the run from her former agency.
TV: In what ways did real world events, such as Snowden, Manning, and Assange inform the gameplay and story?
DP: Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks were the initial spark for the concept of NEON STRUCT. I felt like there was a nice thematic and mechanical harmony in casting the player in the Edward Snowden role in a stealth game.
One of the primary characters has similar motivations to Assange, but otherwise, NEON STRUCT's fictional characters do not closely shadow any real persons.
TV: The soundtrack for the game features The Home Conversion. There could have been a lot of stereotypical soundtracks for a game like this. What lead you to do something different with music in relation to the setting?
DP: The Home Conversion's music was actually an early inspiration for the tone and feel of the game. When I heard their song "Cave Living", I envisioned a distinctive 1980s neon-lit world, which gradually developed into the style of NEON STRUCT's art.
So they were naturally my first choice for the game's soundtrack, and I was thrilled when they offered to not only provide their existing songs but write and record new material for the game.
TV: You mention the Brutalist choice of architecture in the art book. Can you tell us what lead you to that decision and how it fit the world you were building?
DP: In the months immediately after Eldritch's release, before it was clear how successful that game would eventually be, my plan was to rapidly develop something new and different but using as much of the same engine and core technology as possible. I would have to continue using that game's voxel engine, but I wanted to avoid the Minecraft visual style this time around.
The solution I found was to emulate Brutalism, a style of architecture that was already known for its imposing blocky shapes and right angles. The fact that Brutalist buildings are also strongly associated with the Cold War era and that distinct kind of political fear made the choice even more appropriate for NEON STRUCT.
DP: I cut two levels during development. The first was a network of underground tunnels running from downtown Philadelphia to the outskirts of the city. (For those who have played NEON STRUCT, this level would have followed The Old Basilica.) It had sounded like an interesting space on paper: a crumbling maze of train tunnels and sewer lines, where fugitives from the surveillance state eked out an existence in ad hoc underground towns. But in game, it was dull, didn't advance the plot, and didn't feel "NEON STRUCT-y" enough.
The second level to be cut was an underwater train ride across the Atlantic. It never existed in the game in any form, and was cut because it was superfluous to the story and I wasn't sure a train could ever be a good space for stealth gameplay.TV: Can you tell us a little about how the art style came to be?
DP: Because of the size of the game, compared to its very small team, I needed to find clever ways to reduce the amount of work. I wanted to make something as low-fidelity as Eldritch, but without that game's Minecraft-ish style.
The thin, flat, faceless character design was primarily inspired by the style of Nigel Evan Dennis's graphic tribute to Game of Thrones, "Where Have All the Wildlings Gone?" (http://www.wherehaveallthewildlingsgone.com/)
TV: Your last game, Eldritch; didn’t have much dialog or as involved a story. Was writing for these characters daunting?
DP: After Eldritch, I began to worry that without the constant presence of my former coworkers in the AAA industry, my skillset would stagnate. So on NEON STRUCT, challenged myself to tackle certain kinds of work I hadn't done before. The first was stealth level design, and the second was writing dialogue. I gave it my best effort, but I also tried very hard to keep the dialogue minimal, so every line would tell the player something important about the game, the world, or a character.
DP: Diversity in the cast was one of my goals from the start. When I was developing the plot outline and the major characters, I tried to make sure that there was a good mix of genders, nationalities, and more. I also developed a random character generator for the AIs, so guards have a broad range of skin colors and a 50/50 chance of using either the men or women body/hair meshes.
One of the challenges for me was presenting non-male or non-white characters authentically. In certain cases, I consulted with people so I could learn more about the identities of the characters I was trying to write. For better or worse, I often wasn't able to make the story about those identities, and it is possible that the characters are a little interchangeable as a result. But I have tried to avoid stereotypes and to treat each character respectfully.
TV: Has having to be your own PR department and community manager without the insulation afforded by a large publisher been a blessing or a curse?
DP: After years in AAA games, I still find it refreshing that I can be so transparent about what I'm working on and why. I think it fosters a better relationship between developers and players (or developers and press) when we can speak directly and honestly with each other.
TV: What can we look forward to next from Minor Key?
DP: Our next planned title is Kyle's Gunmetal Arcadia, an NES-styled platformer roguelike set in a war-torn fantasy world. He is documenting its progress weekly at its devlog: http://gunmetalarcadia.com/wordpress/
And coming out very soon is a big update and relaunch for Super Win the Game, with new content, enhancements, and a lower price tag.
TV: My editor is Austrian and is curious about the German subtitle. What lead to that choice?
DP: In the very early days of NEON STRUCT, I wanted a non-English title that might evoke the globetrotting nature of the game. I tried the phrase "the eyes of the world" in a number of languages, and chose German because I liked the sound and because one of the later levels is set in Hamburg.