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GDC Week 2016 - The RPG News from the Floor

Christopher Coke Posted:
Columns The RPG Files 0

GDC is, by and large, an event for game makers. As the years go by, however, the event has earns ever more attention for game lovers worldwide. Even though most gamers will never set for on a GDC floor, it has become one of the go-to sources for insights into the world of game-making and unexpected announcements and news breaks. GDC week has been good this year and we’re devoting our whole column to the biggest news, from the event and without. Here’s a taste of what this week had in store for us: Obsidian’s new project, Playstation VR pricing and release date, an ARK: Survival Evolved spinoff, a possible Final Fantasy XV release date and more!

Obsidian Announces Their New CRPG, Tyranny

Let’s start with the most exciting bit of news. Obsidian is once again partnering with Paradox Entertainment for a brand new RPG! The game is called Tyranny and takes place in a world where evil has won and you helped them do it. Your character is a Fatebinder, the “judge and executioner” in working under the Overlord’s Archon of Justice. Your words, they say, shape the lives of thousands and it’s up to you what path you take with that power.

The company has further information embargoed until next week, but a quick scour of the web reveals a few extra tidbits. The press release (via Kotaku) describes the game as having a non-linear story that will challenge players to live with the consequences of “difficult, morally unclear decisions.” PC Gamer also shared their confirmation that the game would be releasing this year (confirmed via the official mailing list). The official website features the launch trailer,  a handful of screenshots that set the tone, and an interactive map currently only showing the lore on The Contested Lands.

This is exciting for a number of reasons, but none so much as this looking like the Pillars of Eternity formula taken in a brand new direction. A close look at the screenshots makes it seem likely that the game is party-based, and the staging of what we’re seeing is also very reminiscent of Pillars’ gameplay. I’m sure it won’t be identical, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t an evolution.

I’m also a sucker for dark themes and everything revealed this week certainly gives the impression that this is a dark fantasy. Will you go further into the darkness or seek out your redemption as a Fatebinder? Those are questions I can’t wait to answer.

PlayStation VR will be $399, Release in October

There goes my prediction that it would release alongside No Man’s Sky! The headset will be sold on its own -- meaning without motion controllers or the PlayStation Eye camera -- for $399 starting in October. It will ship with 6 mini-games through PlayStation Playroom, however, Sony also confirmed that 50 games will be available later this year with more than 230 developers working on VR experiences for the unit. A Star Wars Battlefront experience is also on the way, exclusive to PSVR.

This is… interesting. The PSVR is definitely winning points by releasing a solid $200 under its closest competitor, the Oculus Rift. On the other hand, it’s a bit disingenuous to say that the unit costs $399 when a required component many PlayStation 4 owners flat out avoided is an additional $60. The Move controllers are optional, but certainly preferred, and will each set you back another $50 at MSRP. Myself, I’ll stick with a controller and save the cool hundred.

That’s right, this is the VR unit I will be getting if I purchase any at all, and I’m a dyed in the wool PC gamer. The reason why comes down to price. While $399 might seem expensive, the Rift and Vive both demand PCs that, for many gamers, would require hundreds of dollars in hardware upgrades. While all of these headsets will struggle to penetrate the mainstream, Sony’s seems the most likely.

Setting the date for October also seems wise. That’s just enough time to course correct following any gaffs from their competitors.

ARK: Survival Evolved Gets a Surprise Spin-Off

Before you get too excited, what Wildcard Studios has really done is pull the existing mod and make it its own game, available on Steam Early Access right now for free. The studio is also capitalizing on the hype around this Hunger Games style of gameplay by adding more e-sports support to the game. Each month, the top 10 players will be drafted for a Survival League tournament to compete for real cash.

This move is, frankly, questionable. I don’t disagree with a company responding to their community’s interests, but let’s be real: ARK is still in rough shape. One look at the Steam reviews and you’ll see that the game barely runs for many people. It was my one and only Steam refund because it ran unplayably poor. Rather than see Wildcard divide its efforts and get in on the Big Money E-Sports bandwagon, I’d much rather see them finish what they started and stop succumbing to feature creep.

Quick(er) Hits

Square Enix Confirms Western Release for Promising JRPG, I Am Setsuna

The game has been described as Final Fantasy Meets Chrono Trigger and has inspired much excitement. The game will release on PC and PlayStation 4 this summer. Just please let me skip those random battles, yeah?

Fallout 4’s First DLC, Automatron, Will Release on March 22nd

The first of three DLC packs planned for this year, Automatron will allow you to track down parts to craft (and battle to the death) your very own robot companions. The DLC will cost $9.99.

EverQuest Landmark is Launching this Spring

Which is great, I guess, but is also about a year too late. The game dropped off the radar and languished in Early Access. Anyone I know who cared about it  has had their fill and moved on. Landmark is a promising game but a prime example of why you shouldn’t launch to Early Access without already being mostly done. What does launch even mean at this point? Did anyone really consider the game not launched 12 months after they let people pay for it?


Will Final Fantasy XV Be Released in September?

It’s looking more and more likely that it may be the case. Our News Editor, Suzie Ford, tracked down an insider rumor at Gematsu indicating that the game may be coming out on September 30th. Thankfully, we don’t have much longer to wait as the official reveal is set for the 30th of this month.

That’s all from us, let us know what you think in the comments below!


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight