Obsidian Announces New First-Person RPG Avowed

July 27, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

At Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase, RPG developer Obsidian Entertainment showcased a few upcoming titles, including a newly-announced first-person RPG called Avowed for the Xbox Series X and PC.

While Avowed is a new epic fantasy RPG, it takes place in the world of Eora, the setting of the Pillars of Eternity series. Pillars of Eternity is an isometric RPG in the style of older classics such as Baldur’s Gate. Its success led to a sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Both games featured a real-time with pause combat system (also known as “active pause” or “pausable real-time”) like the older isometric RPGs they followed, although Pillars of Eternity II featured a turn-based combat option as well.

Both games saw a relatively good reception, but that didn’t necessarily translate to sales. Design director Josh Sawyer reported that the low sales for Pillars of Eternity II meant they would need to “re-examine the entire format” if they ever made a Pillars of Eternity III. This might be why we’re seeing a new style of RPG set in the same universe.

Few details are known about Avowed at this point. It’s a first-person RPG, most likely with an action combat system. However, no combat is shown in the short teaser trailer. Its nature as a first-person fantasy RPG has drawn several comparisons to Skyrim and the rest of the Elder Scrolls series, but we don’t know yet if Avowed will be open world or not. The official website has been opened, but only shows the trailer and platforms so far.

Avowed will be available for the Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PCs, and it has already been announced for Xbox Game Pass. More details about the game are on the way.

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Release Date, New Details, Gameplay Preview

July 15, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

The Ubisoft Forward live stream over the weekend not only included a new gameplay overview trailer for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but also its release date and an extended gameplay preview after the main showcase. Many more details have been released since then, so let’s late a look at everything that was revealed.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Release Date

Asssassin’s Creed Valhalla will be out on November 17 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. Its PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X release date has not been confirmed, but if you own it on PS4 or Xbox One, you’ll be able to upgrade it to the respective next-gen console for free.

Story and Gameplay Details

The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla protagonist is a Viking warrior named Eivor, who can be either male or female. It features RPG mechanics and choices, dual wielding weapons, and an open world to explore that covers both Norway and England. You’ll be leading raids and recruiting new clan members to your settlement, and there will also be an online component that lets you create a Viking raider friends online can use in their raids.

In an extended preview from Ubisoft, we learn a bit more about what the basic gameplay loop for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be like and see some of the previously-mentioned activities. During a raid on the village of King’s Bury, Eivor finds a Book of Knowledge and learns a new ability called Dive of the Valkyries, which helps the raiders reclaim the village for the Vikings. Next they attack Burgh Castle and show off more of the game’s combat as they fight their way through enemy territory. At the end, they have a choice to make – whether to spare their enemy or not.

The next section of the gameplay preview focuses on exploration as they discover many things in the game’s world: a cat that can be recruited, a “Flyting” insult battle, tattoo drawings to collect to give Eivor new tattoos, and a grim side quest with environmental puzzles that they stumbled across in their travels. Once they return to the story, we get to see the ramifications of the choice they made earlier and another battle to wrap things up. All of this can be seen in the 30-minute Assassin’s Creed Valhalla gameplay demo walkthrough posted by Ubisoft.

It appears as though the natural way they encountered the side quest in that preview is how side quests will be handled in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. That is, you won’t gather up quests from NPCs and then head out to solve them, but instead will come across them as you play and explore. More details about the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla side quests should be revealed as we get closer to the release date.

Assassins and Templars?

While there is a lot of excitement for Valhalla, there is also some consternation from fans who see the series straying further and further away from its traditional story and themes. After all, a Viking warrior isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you hear “assassin.” In fact, the Assassin Brotherhood and Templar Order haven’t even been established yet, although the series’ timeline established as of Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey allows for their predecessors to appear instead: the Hidden Ones and the Order of the Ancients.

According to an interview with Game Informer from April, Eivor’s goals will align with the goals of the Proto-Assassins met in the game, although further details have yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, the modern-day storyline will continue as well. Another extensive demo preview, this time from the PlayStation Blog, mentions encountering Animus Anomalies. These glitches in the system will switch you to controlling Layla in the present day to continue that storyline as well.

Conclusion

We have a much better idea now of what to expect from the latest entry in the long-running Assassin’s Creed series when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla launches on November 17.

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GreedFall Developer Reveals New Action RPG Steelrising

July 9, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Nacon Connect 2020 featured the official announcement of the next game being developed by Spiders, who most recently released the fantasy action RPG GreedFall last year. Their next game is set in a new universe and is an action RPG for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC called Steelrising.

Steelrising takes place in an alternate history version of the French Revolution, where King Louis XVI commands an army of automatons. You’ll be playing as a robot named Aegis, who has been ordered by Queen Marie Antoinette to stop the king’s robotic army. Although the teaser trailer itself shows little more than concept art for the characters, the developers spoke a little more about the game afterwards.

As part of the Nacon Connect 2020 presentation, Spiders CEO Jehanne Rousseau spoke more about the gameplay and universe. Steelrising will have a “much more action-focused approach” than their previous games, although it is still an action RPG rather than a pure action game. Little has been revealed about the combat itself so far, except that you’ll find items to improve Aegis’s fighting abilities and that there are seven categories of weapons she can equip and use.

The world will include historical sites, such as the Grand Châtelet and the Tour du Temple (also known as the Square du Temple), and feature exploration that climbing, secret paths, and a fluid presentation. In addition to the main story, there will also be side quests for the player to find and complete.

In addition to GreedFall, Spiders previously developed games such as the cyberpunk RPG Mars: War Logs and its sequel The Technomancer, and the fantasy RPG Bound By Flame. GreedFall was their most successful and polished game released to date, so it will be interesting to see how Steelrising changes and improves their gameplay formula.

No release window has been given yet for Steelrising.

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Everything We Know About Resident Evil 8

June 28, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

One of the exciting surprises at Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase event was the official announcement of Resident Evil 8, or rather, Resident Evil Village, as the first few letters of “village” have been stylized to look like the Roman numeral VIII.

Few details have been revealed about the next Resident Evil game, but the announcement trailer and official descriptions still give us some tantalizing details.

Here’s everything we know so far about Resident Evil Village.

Release

Resident Evil Village has been announced for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. A Steam page is already live for it. Although there is no specific Resident Evil Village release date yet, it is planned for 2021.

Characters and Setting

Resident Evil Village is a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7: biohazard and once again stars Ethan Winters, the protagonist of that game. It is set in a mysterious village that includes many varied environments shown in the trailer.

Other confirmed returning characters include Mia, as well as longtime series protagonist Chris Redfield, who most recently appeared in Resident Evil 7’s DLC episode Not a Hero. There has been much speculation that Chris is the villain of Resident Evil Village, but his role and motivations are still unknown.

The IMDB page for Resident Evil Village lists numerous other returning characters, including Alex Wesker and Barry Burton, but since IMDB can be edited, none of this should be taken as official just yet.

The Umbrella Corporation logo appears in the trailer and screenshots, confirming Umbrella is in Resident Evil Village in some form.

Gameplay

Resident Evil Village is using Capcom’s RE Engine, which was also used not only for Resident Evil 7, but also Resident Evil 2 (remake), Devil May Cry 5, and Resident Evil 3 (remake). It will be played from a first-person perspective just like Resident Evil 7, rather than the third-person over-the-shoulder view used for the recent remakes.

The specific gameplay will most likely involve a mix of fighting the wolf-like monsters and other enemies, and solving puzzles. It’s worth noting that the Special Developer Message says they are “upping the ante on action a bit,” among other details.

That might set off alarm bells for some longtime series fans, but they might simply mean it will have more action than Resident Evil 7 did, rather than a return to the all-out action horror seen in Resident Evil 4 and especially Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.

Conclusion

Right now, we have only a handful of concrete details about the next Resident Evil game, but there’s plenty of room for theories, especially since Capcom highlighted one piece of key art as being very important.

So, when will we learn more about Resident Evil Village? According to the official website, new information about Resident Evil Village (or Resident Evil VIII or Resident Evil 8, whatever you want to call it) will be revealed in August. Stay tuned!

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Yakuza: Like a Dragon Coming to PS4, Xbox Consoles, and PC

May 9, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Yakuza: Like a Dragon, or Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness as it’s titled in Japan, is set to be released in the west sometime in 2020. In Japan, it released exclusively for the PlayStation 4, but this week’s Inside Xbox event revealed that it will be coming to additional platforms as well.

When it launches, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be on not only the PS4, but also the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC (via Steam and the Microsoft Store), with cross-gen and cross-save features for the Xbox versions.

This is not a huge surprise, as Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 have likewise been brought to the PC and Xbox One following their initial PS4 releases.

What is puzzling, however, is that this news suggest Yakuza: Like a Dragon might be released on the PC and Xbox ahead of the Yakuza Remastered Collection (which contains remastered versions of Yakuza 3, 4, and 5) and Yakuza 6.

Although the western release dropped the number from Yakuza 7 in favor of calling it Yakuza: Like a Dragon, it is still the most recent entry in a long-running series and features returning characters from the previous games despite starring a new protagonist and adopting a new combat system.

The release date for Yakuza: Like a Dragon is still unknown. It remains to be seen if the remaining Yakuza games will be brought to PC and Xbox before Like a Dragon launches later this year.

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