RPG Delays Launch To Avoid Competing With Baldur’s Gate 3

The protagonist of Stray Gods stares at the camera with glowing eyes as someone behind her expresses a look of shock.

Image: Summefall Studios

Summerfall Studios, developers of the upcoming, self-described “roleplaying musical” Stray Gods, has recently taken to Twitter to deliver some unfortunate news for those eager to sing their way out of a fantasy predicament. Stray Gods, which puts you in the role of a woman who must prove her innocence before Greek gods through the magic of song, is getting pushed back a week to an August 10 release date.

But though the news was delivered in the standard image-of-a-letter format that we all know and love, the contents weren’t your typical boilerplate about needing a bit more time to ensure the game is at its best. Nope, this one was very direct: the studio wants to avoid competition with Baldur’s Gate 3 which is slated to launch on August 3, the original release date of Stray Gods. And yes, there are also some technical goals the team is hoping to hit by pushing the release date back a bit.

“We need to make a slight adjustment to the calendar,” the opening of the statement reads before announcing the new release date of August 10. It continues:

We want everyone to have ample space to check out Stray Gods when it launches. Baldur’s Gate 3 is hotly anticipated (by us, too!) and we want to give our fans room to celebrate Stray Gods.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is expected to be a massive RPG experience, so something tells me that folks will still be very deep into it even just seven days after its August 3 launch, but it makes sense for a smaller title to maybe take a heartbeat before hitting storefronts. Or, as one person put it on Twitter, maybe Summerfall Games doesn’t want to hog all the attention for itself.

Summerfall Studios

The delay is also giving the studio some time to work on “performance parity” between consoles and PC so that it runs “as close as possible, across every platform.”

Stray Gods launches on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch on August 10.

Star Wars Open-World Game Won’t Be An Unfinishable 300-Hour RPG

You might shudder at the thought of one Star Wars: Outlaws planet being about the size of two Assassin’s Creed Odyssey zones, but you don’t have to worry about it being some bloated RPG you’ll never finish, the devs told IGN.

Read More: Star Wars: Outlaws Planets Will Be As Big As Entire Assassin’s Creed Games

In a July 25 IGN interview conducted during San Diego Comic-Con, Outlaws creative director Julian Gerighty and narrative director Navid Khavari were asked about Ubisoft’s penchant for building gigantic open-world games. The question stemmed from a July Edge Magazine interview in which developer Massive Entertainment said the upcoming third-person action-adventure game featured planets that “might be [equivalent to] two of the zones in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.” We don’t yet know just how many planets the game will include, but there’s little doubt that Outlaws’ galaxy will be vast indeed.

Of course, that kind of scale isn’t inherently good or bad, and games can use vastness for all kinds of purposes, thematic and otherwise. But plenty of players have started growing exhausted with games whose huge maps are cluttered with icons, each indicating a different activity for you to complete or yet another enemy stronghold to conquer. Our own Zack Zwiezen, upon learning that Outlaws’ planets would be as big as entire Ubisoft games, wrote:

I already feel tired when trying to visualize these massive, Assassin’s-Creed-sized worlds. I really, really hope they aren’t covered in thousands of icons and symbols. I’d prefer some empty space, areas where you just travel through them and don’t stop and spend four hours checking off items from a never-ending list. One can hope, right?

Thankfully, Ubisoft seems keen on avoiding the bloat and clutter. “Our objective is to really get people into a very dense, rich adventure, open world adventure that they can explore at their own rhythm,” Gerighty told IGN. “So it is absolutely not a 200 or 300 hour epic unfinishable RPG. This is a very focused action-adventure RPG that will take people on a ride and is very manageable.”

Khavari echoed Gerighty’s sentiment, saying the team is building bustling cities with cantinas and open plains. But despite the worlds being relatively large—though not as large as recent Assassin’s Creed games—the team is approaching design from “a place of character,” keeping things focused on protagonist Kay Vess’ journey and foregrounding the narrative elements that shape her story. And while huge, Star Wars: Outlaws’ map won’t be packed with icons.

“I think our job is to make sure that the player organizes their experience according to their desires,” Khavari said. “That’s one of the big pluses with an open world game is the agency of the player. So if we do our job right, it’ll be so dense and so rich with different distractions that we won’t have to rely on so many UI indications for them.”

Kotaku reached out to Ubisoft for comment.

Read More: Star Wars Outlaws’ Backlash Proves We Need More Women Protagonists

Billed as an open-world action-adventure game, Star Wars: Outlaws follows newly established scoundrel Kay Vess (and her weirdly hot droid companion ND-5) as they attempt to pull off the greatest heist the galaxy has ever seen. It’s slated to launch on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S sometime in 2024.


RPG Gets Delayed Hours Before It Was Supposed To Come Out

Macho Man pumps his pixelated biceps.

Image: Mega Cat Studios / Skybound Games

WrestleQuest was shaping up to be a breath of fresh air based on trailers and previews, but players will now have to wait an extra few weeks to get their hands on it. The turn-based, wrestling-themed RPG was delayed at the very last second after its developers found a bug that could destroy players’ save files.

The pixel art adventure follows newbie wrestler Randy “Muchacho Man” Santos as he climbs the underground wrestling circuit to become a world champion like his real-world idol, Macho Man Randy Savage. The ring-side theatrics are all in service of tag-team matches full of items, taunts, and special moves. It was set to release at midnight on August 8, but just a few hours before showtime, Mega Cat Studios pulled the game.

“When performing final checks on one of our launch platforms, we discovered it was possible for players to lose their save game progress when playing WrestleQuest on multiple different devices,” the development team posted on Twitter. “Because this is a game filled with hours of content and player progress is so important, we could never bodyslam our fans like that.”

That’s better than some games that get released only for players to discover save issues or other bugs for themselves and see their progress get ritually sacrificed in the process. August 22 is exactly two weeks away, and still gives WrestleQuest time to sneak out on to PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC before Starfield hits the week after (it’s also free on mobile with a paid Netflix subscription).

While the game itself was delayed, early reviews were not, and so far opinions on the game have been mixed. A few reviews have called it a decent, nostalgia-fueled RPG with a novel take on the wrestling game genre. Other assessments have been less glowing. GameSpot lauded WrestleQuest’s “vibrant atmosphere” but called it a “frustrating experience” overall. Players can find out for themselves later this month.


Darktide Is Getting A Big RPG Overhaul

Darktide's mercenaries hold their weapons.

Image: Fatshark

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide was one of my most anticipated games of 2022. I couldn’t wait to play Fatshark’s first-person shooter evolution of the rat-infested melee frenzy that was Vermintide 2. Unfortunately, it had its fair share of issues at launch, from performance frustrations on PC to a lackluster progression system and loot economy. Now, the studio is working on one of those fated live-service game turnarounds, and it apparently starts with a big revamp of its RPG skill tree.

Fatshark told PC Gamer it’s currently working on releasing a major update in October that will add more nuance and customization to character builds. Darktide is a dark fantasy loot shooter about repeating the same missions over and over again as they get remixed through procedural generation, random spawns, mutators, and your own arsenal. But with only four classes at launch and a smattering of skill upgrades, the squad-based dungeon crawler ran out of gas real quick. The October update is supposed to add a bunch more passive and active abilities with new options for how to mix and match.

“We wanted players to get a bit more agency into the classes, a bit more experimentation, support a lot more different play styles,” Darktide game director Anders De Geer told PC Gamer. “Basically what we’ve done is reimagine what a class in Darktide is. This is our huge update: we’ve expanded the talent trees, added a ton of new options and abilities, passives and actives.”

Instead of getting one perk point to experiment with every five levels, each level-up will let players progress through the new skill tree and tinker with something as they progress. Examples of new abilities include a dome shield for Psyker (the mage class) and additional taunt and grenade options for Ogryn (the tank class). From the look of the skill tree it seems like a more Borderlands approach to build crafting, with alternative paths that augment the underlying class role in more ways. Bottom line: leveling up should feel more rewarding and give you more ownership over your character.

Whether or not that ultimately ends up being the case remains to be seen, but hopefully it can help pave the way for a Darktide turnaround. The co-op shooter was supposed to come to Xbox Series X/S sometime in 2023 after being delayed. It’s currently free to try with a paid PC Game Pass subscription, though at this point it’s probably worth waiting for the October update.

Update 8/23/2023 4:09 p.m. ET: Fatshark confirmed at Gamescom 2023 that the game fill finally come to Xbox Series X/S and Game Pass on console on October 4. Here’s the announcment trailer:


Troubled Vampire RPG Gets New Devs, Aims For 2024 Release

A Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 screenshot shows a lady with red glowing eyes standing in the dark.

Screenshot: The Chinese Room

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, a game that’s had a troubled development rife with multiple delays, now has new developers and is eyeing a 2024 release date.

In a new announcement trailer, publisher Paradox Interactive revealed that The Chinese Room, the devs behind Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, will finish developing Bloodlines 2 and introduce new gameplay mechanics in the process. Speaking with PC Gamer, creative director Alex Skidmore revealed that The Chinese Room, known for atmospheric, narrative-focused first-person games, will rebuild Bloodlines 2 using “a new code base with different gameplay mechanics and RPG systems.” You can check out Bloodlines 2’s new reveal trailer below.

World of Darkness

Read More: RPG Starts Offering Refunds For People Sick Of Waiting Years For It To Come Out

Along with the introduction of new RPG systems, Paradox Interactive VP Sean Greaney told PC Gamer that The Chinese Room will be changing the age of players’ vampires. Originally, Bloodlines 2’s player-controlled vampire was meant to be a recently-turned “thin blood,” which is considerably weaker than, say, an aged vampire in the game’s universe. Now, the game stars a more seasoned and powerful vampire, according to PC Gamer.

“We don’t want it to be just a sort of poor homage or pastiche of Bloodlines 1. We want it to be its own thing. We’re not doing what Bloodlines 1 did, which is a traditional RPG game start: the very first day you’re a vampire. The actual character you are has been a vampire for quite a while. And that was to create something different from Bloodlines to give a different experience,” Skidmore told PC Gamer.

Despite playing as an older, more established vampire, Skidmore told PC Gamer players will still be able to “fill in the character a bit” as they roleplay.

The Chinese Room

Not everything is changing now that The Chinese Room is behind the helm of Bloodlines 2. According to PC Gamer, the developer will “reuse a significant amount of art and level design” from previous dev Hardsuit Labs’ version of the game and its Seattle setting. Hopefully, the next stretch of Bloodlines 2 news won’t center on yet another delay like it has in the past.

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