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The Week in RPGs for July 4th

Christopher Coke Posted:
Columns The RPG Files 0

The aftermath of E3 is always an interesting time of year. The biggest names in the industry seem to take a collective sigh as they step out of the spotlight to recoup after their announcements and big reveals. We in the gaming press dig all the deeper, reveling in the fresh news and searching for new stories to share with you. Good news. We have some: a new Dragon Age character reveal, a Witcher spin-off, Destiny predictions, and another case of professional gaming as a boys’ club. Read on to read about all that and more in This Week in RPGs.

Kicking things off, analysts at the Cowen Research suggest (via VentureBeat) that Destiny may be the biggest game of the year selling 10-15 million copies. Using a system they dub the Ordometer, Cowen factors in pre-order sales, six years of Amazon Bestseller data, and NPD reports when rendering their assessments. Destiny, they say, has received a higher Ordometer score than any game in the last four years, topping out Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as well as every other game currently announced for this year.

While, this is undoubtedly promising, it also strikes me as overly optimistic. Up until the release of the alpha, the buzz around the game was middling at best. While the alpha has done a lot for word of mouth, a lot of that buzz focuses on the terrible voice acting of Peter Dinklage. Bungie has since announced that it will be updated twice before launch, that isn’t nearly as fun to talk about and likely won’t be what people remember. I’m optimistic for the game but 15 million copies between September 9 and December 31? That might be wishful thinking.

Dragon Age: Inquisition has revealed its first “fully gay” character. Though I find the wording out of sorts – can you be half gay? – I have to applaud Bioware for consistently pushing inclusivity over the last few years, this time through Dorian the Mage. I hope we can get to the point where this type of thing is no longer a headline. Relationships should be the feature, not sexuality. Still, Dorian is different from characters in the past who could be romanced regardless of gender. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Writer, David Gaider, took to Twitter recently to clarify the wording of the original statement. “I meant ‘legitimately’,” he wrote. “I was trying to be clear – many people consider the bi characters we’ve done to be ‘gay’.”

Speaking of inclusiveness – guess who isn’t? The International e-Sports Federation, that’s who! This may not be a pure RPG story but it’s certainly worthy of our attention. The IeSF caught headlines this week for not allowing women to take part in the World Championship tournament for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. That isn’t to say women are shut out of all of the IeSF’s entirely, but rather, boys must play in this corner and girls must play in that corner. Oh, and boys also compete over Starcraft 2, DOTA 2, Hearthstone, and Ultra Street Fighter IV, while women only get Starcraft 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament. Here IeSF, let me help you. Circle circle, dot dot, now you have your cooties shot.

In the comments section of their original Facebook post, the IeSF stated that the gender restrictions have been placed “in accordance with international sports authorities as part of [their] effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sport”. Later they go so far as to say the division helps promote women in the pro-gaming circuit by giving them their own competition. Let’s get real. I can understand conflicting international standards and how e-Sports might fall victim to regulations designed for athletic teams. But don’t spit in my hand and tell me its gold. The male competition is obviously favored with more and better games. Treat us with respect and stick with honesty, IeSF.

The Witcher series is getting a spin-off! Available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices later this year, players can expect The Witcher Battle Arena… one more F2P MOBA in a world where a new one comes along every week. But hold your horses! In the world of mobile, there really aren’t many quality options to choose from, so this really is fertile territory. The game has been designed from the ground up with mobile in mind, so we can expect shorter matches and a control scheme suited to touch.

I’m sure it will be well and good but these games really aren’t my thing. Perhaps it’s the stream of rampant d-bags that makes playing as a newcomer almost unbearable but I could never get past the initial learning curve. I’m also a little skeptical that CD Projekt Red isn’t making this one themselves and has instead signed on Feuro Games for the job. I guess we can forgive them for being a little busy what with The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt coming next year. But, I love me some Witcher, so I’m sure I’ll give this one a shot.

The Underworld series is coming back! If you’re under 30, you’re probably thinking of vampires and werewolves but don’t change your skin quite yet. Today, we’re talking about a spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld coming to us rebooted by Otherside Entertainment. Honesty time: I thought they were making an RPG after the movies too. But hey, don’t judge. I was five when Stygian Abyss came out. Back in my day, five year olds watched Barney and then lied to their friends about it. Anyhow, there’s little to go on but it’s good to see a much loved series is making a comeback.

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And that’s your weekly dose of RPG news! Sound off in the comments with your thoughts on this week’s stories!

Christopher Coke / Chris has been an RPG fan for as long as he has played video games. This week, you can find him taking his second tour of The Witcher 2 and eyeing a long overdue play-through of Mass Effect 3. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight.

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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