Latest Publications

Forgotten Forces announced

Forgotten Forces
Tassilo Rau of German indie studio Bumblebee Games writes in the announce Forgotten Forces, a first-person dungeon delver they’re developing.

The premise:

Drive deep into the mysterious caverns discovered below, search for ancient artifacts, translate foreign inscriptions and solve tricky riddles to reach it’s depth and discover an ancient mystery.

Here’s a teaser trailer–as you can see, Forgotten Forces is going to be party-based, with real-time fights and cooldown timers somewhat reminiscent of Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder (though I don’t believe you’ll be maneuvering your party around the environments during a fight as you would in those games):

The developers note that you can create your own party of characters and recruit NPCs into your party. The game will feature spell-crafting and item crafting, a guild that provides quests, and NPC encounters with dialogue trees and multiple different outcomes. They state: “Expect at least 20 different creatures to battle, 30 floors to explore, 50 items to collect and ten hours to play.”

As the trailer suggests, Bumblebee are currently trying to get this one through Steam Greenlight; you can vote here if you’re inclined to give the game a push. Full release is planned for sometime in 2016.

New release: Celestian Tales: Old North

Celestian Tales Old North
Word has reached me that Ekuator Games has just released Celestian Tales: Old North. Previously covered here, Celestian Tales: Old North is a jRPG with a watercolor visual aesthetic and fraught moral quandaries against a backdrop of impending war.

The premise:

Embark on an expansive journey of discovery wrought with conflict and moral choices where players take on the role of one of the six playable characters and follow their personal point of view of the events as they unfold. At times character stories will overlap with other characters’ or converge with the main story arc, in which they experience events together.

One’s truth may not be another’s. Good deeds done by someone may be perceived by another as evil. Often we see only what we want to see and believe only in what we want to believe. Whose steps will you follow as you journey in the Old North? Through whose eyes will you experience the events that unfold?

Here’s the launch trailer, so you can get a load of the game’s lovely visual style:

As mentioned in our prior coverage, Celestian Tales is going to be released episodically–this is effectively the first episode of three. Developer Cipto Adiguno tells me that this one may conclude with a few loose ends left dangling for those latter episodes to wrap up.

Here’s the feature list:

  • Moral Confrontations – Situations are presented to the player throughout the game that tug at moral standings and beliefs.
  • Unique Story – Ditches tired rehashed RPG clichés for a story where players feel the weight of their character’s actions.
  • Multiple Story Arcs – 6 Selectable Characters allow you to play the game from 6 different perspectives. Play through the game as all 6 characters to get the entire experience.
  • Traditional RPG Gameplay – Inspired by classic JRPGs with a turn-based RPG battle system that allows players to develop a personal combat style.
  • Beautiful Art – Lush hand-painted background visuals and environments with detailed emotive hand drawn character portraits and animated pixel-art characters running around the game.
  • Epic Music – A sweeping score that truly captures the pace and emotion of the story as it unfolds.

You can pick up Celestian Tales: Old North for $12.99 on Steam, on GOG, and via the Humble Store (though there are currently launch discounts at some of those). Windows, Mac, and Linux.

(Note: Celestian Tales was funded on Kickstarter back in spring 2014; at the end of development, publisher Digital Tribes swooped in to handle marketing and distribution. I am assured that they did not fund development and had no power over the creative process, though they did offer the developers some feedback on game UI and such. I am choosing to count this as an indie edge case; you can read more about our standard for “indie” here.)


Exiled Kingdoms announced

Exiled Kingdoms
David Ballestrino writes in to announced Exiled Kingdoms, an isometric action RPG he’s developing for PC and mobile platforms.

The premise:

A hundred years ago, it is said that the Empire fell, destroyed by mysterious forces from another world. Only a small part of humanity could flee to the Imperial colony of Varannar, where they tamed the land and proclaimed the struggling and always conflicting Exiled Kingdoms. But… who really cares about a century ago? You are a hungry adventurer, with no time for fairytales about Empires or Dark Magic (that likely are just lies anyways). And for once, luck seems to be on your side, for you received a letter from New Garand, stating that you are the sole beneficiary of a big inheritance… you don’t remember having any relatives in the capital of the Kingdom of Varsilia, but certainly that won’t stop you from an opportunity like this! The road to New Garand will reveal many surprises, and may eventually teach you that fairytales and legends can become, in fact, very real.

Ballestrino describes the game as free-roaming, in that “you can travel, explore, quest, or craft, as you choose,” although there is also a proper storyline for you to follow.

You can get a sense of the directions this game is heading in from the alpha trailer:

Exiled Kingdoms is planned to include the following features:

– Isometric engine with pre-rendered 3D graphics, like some of the best classics of the RPG genre.
– Explore a large, dynamic world! the Exiled Kingdoms are tough lands, where war and chaos has become commonplace. Explore dozens of areas freely, including forests, mountains, towns, deserts, dungeons, libraries, castles, caves…
– Customize your character choosing between 4 classes, 25 skills, and hundreds of different items.
– A detailed setting: as you travel you’ll find lots of designed conversations, quests and challenges, but also randomly-generated encounters and quests. You’ll never run out of things to do!
– Companions: you play a single character, but you can have mercenaries or adventurers as followers, and later on, be joined by several specific companions, which you can equip and level up. They have their own storylines and conversations, which you can discover if you make the right choices.
– Faction system: increase your reputation with each of the Kingdoms, or even with each town. Join guilds, become a celebrated hero… or a wanted criminal!
– Crafting: build your own stuff! gather ingredients, and make unique, powerful items that can give you an edge.

Ballestrino writes that he is looking for testers; the game is currently only playable on Android, for which the game is planned for release in September 2015. He states that an iOS port will follow in October, with a Windows and Mac version planned for release sometime this winter.

Back to Back: Indie RPGS to fund

Oh dear. We seem to have hit a rough patch on the Sea of Crowdfunding, folks. Since we last peeked in, only two games have ended their campaigns successfully funded: Luckless Seven and R.O.T: Age of Arius. Unfortunately, this means that Cross Reverie: The Trial of Nightmare, The Island of Eternal Struggle, Legends of Fire & Steel, Treasures of Arcania, Undead Darlings: No Cure for Love, Vandal Swords, and Wolfsong all failed–and as we’ll see below, a few of their former compatriots are on track to join them.

Let’s look at what’s seeking funding now and see if we can find some bright spots.


Trudy’s Mechanicals announced

Trudy's MechanicalsLaura Marshall of Canadian indie studio Incubator Games writes in to announce a new sRPG in development. Called Trudy’s Mechanicals, the game takes place in a gritty steampunk setting filled with steam-powered mechanical creations and Slavic influences.

The developers have not done much to provide us with a narrative premise–this is all we’ve got for now:

The title pits a host of combat veterans, bespectacled scholars, and industrial labourers against the corrupt gentry in a full-scale guerrilla war.

Luckily, there’s also a teaser trailer with a bit more narrative information:

The developers note that characters in Trudy’s Mechanicals will not be class-based, instead possessing distinct abilities and personalities “akin to characters of fighting games or MOBAs.”

The game is also planned to feature interactive environments. To wit: “harvest fallen foes and allies to use as weaponry, destroy structures or extend bridges to create alternative paths, or hide inside armoured turrets for extra protection and firepower.”

Trudy’s Mechanicals is planned for Windows release in 2016. Checks Out Antharion

It took a bit longer than I wanted due to some technical hiccups, but I finally got a chance to sit down and play Antharion while recording the experience. You can see the first 40 minutes or so of the game riiiiight here, complete with commentary:

So! What’d I think?


New release: Siralim

Word reaches me that there’s a new creature-summoning dungeon delver out, one with the procedurally generated dungeons one might come to expect from a roguelike. That game is Siralim.

Created by the decidedly hard-to-spell-or-pronounce Thylacine Studios, Siralim reportedly includes “over 300 different creatures to summon, each with their own unique abilities that drastically change the way the game is played.”

The developers have posted no narrative premise anywhere, but they describe the game like so:

Summon hundreds of powerful creatures to fight by your side in Siralim, a turn-based RPG with roguelike elements. In Siralim, everything is randomly generated – including the dungeons, the quests, and the items.

So, not too much we didn’t already know. The trailer should prove somewhat more enlightening:

Looking at that video, it’s hard not to compare Siralim to Deity Quest, at least in regard to its overall concept and presentation. However, the combat system clearly differs pretty substantially, being more akin to something like Dragon Quest. The ability to summon creatures at will rather than capturing them is a notable point of differentiation as well.

Reportedly, Siralim allows you to craft equipment for your creatures, and gives you more than 100 spells you can cast to support your creatures in combat. The game also offers castle management–you can garrison, upgrade, and bolster your castle’s economy by finding treasure, according to the developers.

Siralim is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux for $9.99 on Steam and on itch.iO; you can also get it for Android, iOS, and Windows Phones for roughly half that amount (iOS unlocks the full game with a $4.99 in-app-purchase, Windows Phone requires the $4.99 up-front, and from what I can tell, Android appears to work the same as iOS in this regard).

A free demo for Windows, Mac, and Linux is available as well.

New release: Your Story

Your Story
Joshua Auriemma writes in to announce the release of Your Story, an RPG / interactive fiction hybrid, which he describes as “a Choose Your Own Adventure where choices are modified by randomly generated (but upgradeable) stats. It’s not quite interactive fiction (I don’t think) and not quite an RPG (no inventory, for instance). But I think it’s something squarely in-between.”

Inspired by Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken,” Your Story

literally begins at the decision point between divergent paths in the woods. Depending on random chance and the player’s decisions, just about every player will experience a different piece of the story on his or her first playthrough.

Your character’s statistics are assigned at random at the start of the game, and are presented as descriptions of your character rather than as numbers visible up-front. Auriemma states that the game contains the equivalent of 80 pages of printed text, and that “scenes change quite a bit depending on the player — not just in terms of choices available, but in terms of what the player learns about the story.”

Your Story is available for $1.99 on the Apple app store; iOS only.

New release: Antharion

Ari Rae-Silver writes in to announce the release of Antharion, a new isometric wRPG from Florida indie studio Orphic Software.

There’s no official narrative summary anywhere, but I can tell you based on the time I’ve spent with it so far that the setup is pretty familiar to anyone who’s played wRPGs: the world is at peace, suddenly an evil threatens it, and you and your ragtag team escape prison and are tasked with finding and stopping the source of the evil.

Here’s a release trailer which shows a bit of what the game plays like:

And here’s the feature list:

  • Create and fully customize your party of four, choosing from 7 races, 9 classes and 15 skills.
  • Journey through five huge provinces, each with its own environment, history and culture.
  • Experience an open-ended epic storyline where you determine what happens.
  • Turn-based tactical combat makes dungeon crawling endlessly satisfying.
  • Explore a huge living-breathing and fully interactive open world.
  • Make choices that matter and affect the world around you.
  • Enjoy total freedom to play however you want.
  • Create and customize a party of four.

As implied above, I’ve had my hands on a build of the game for a couple of weeks now, and I intend to do an Checks Out of it very soon. (I’d have had one up already, frankly, but for the fact that FRAPS decided not to record it the last time I tried.)

Until I get that up, however, you can always try the game for yourself! Antharion is now available for $17.99 on Steam, The Humble Store, and direct from the developer; Windows and Mac.

Back to Back: Indie RPGS to fund

It’s that special time again–that time when we whip out our Internet Binoculars and peer off into the horizon at the games that might yet come to be, if only they can get the monetary support they need.

Of those we examined last time, The Bard’s Tale IV, Regalia, and We Happy Few suceeded; less happily, the Auro Quest Expansion failed, as did Crisential and Reikon Dungeon.

So–what’s new?