Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The “Big Indie” RPGs — Upgraded

Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 15, 2015

A bunch of the “big indie” RPGs, all crowdfunded, are undergoing some major revisions. This means a lot of different things. Now, one could complain that they were all released too soon, due to the pressures of promised release dates and clearly limited budgets. That’d not be entirely wrong. But in all of these cases, the updates are completely free to backers. So… I guess fortune favors the people who are a little slow. 🙂

In some cases, they are accompanying a console port, and some of the enhancements may not be very useful for dedicated PC gamers. Even though I have come to appreciate the coolness of playing Frayed Knights 2 with an XBox 360 controller, that doesn’t mean it is my preferred mode of playing RPGs. Not even close.

I think a big part of it is simply fixing problems on such a level that it generates a newsworthy event, some buzz that will probably lead to more sales. Especially when there’s a console release — it makes perfect sense to release an updated PC version as well and ride the buzz for the console launch and generate a bumper crop of PC sales at the same time.

Whatever the case – these are pretty big deals for fans who haven’t played the games yet.

Divinity_OS_SS32Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition

Just announced, this update is actually going to be a stand-alone independent title, because it so fundamentally overhauls the quests and storyline of the original game and is not saved-game compatible. Coinciding with the console release, it will also include more professional voices, new build options, controller support, split-screen support, and lots of new content. This was just recently announced and is still many months away from release.

Swen Vincke commented on his blog, “Given how much we put in there, I suspect that what we call an Enhanced Edition goes a lot further than what others call an Enhanced Edition. Chances are of course that all those changes don’t make much economic sense but then again, maybe they will. We’ll find out soon enough and for what it’s worth, I’m quite happy about having been able to make all these changes so that we could craft what’s essentially a new and more complete experience.”

deadstateDead State – Reanimated

A MAJOR enhancement of the Zombie survival RPG Dead State, the “Reanimated” update includes serious combat rebalancing, several improvements to enemy AI, new locations, new sounds, new combat animations… basically a big “refresh” on the whole experience.

The update also includes some stability improvements (something that bit me a couple of times) and a whole mess of bug fixes… and it’s available now.  Yay!


WL2_dialogWasteland 2 – Game of the Year Edition

Announced several weeks ago, this is also an update that coincides with the console release, and should be a free update for backers sometime this summer. A lot of the updates are related to the upgrade to Unity 5 and some significant cosmetic changes, but they’ll be announcing the new game features and content as the release date gets closer. In an interview at Eurogamer.net, one area of discussion was on combat – how cover and enemy AI will be significantly larger factors than they were in the original release.

p_eternityPillars of Eternity – update

This latest update to v. 1.05 is a big one, and there’s already a new one planned. While this wasn’t quite as big of a facelift as its cousins, the game has made some substantial strides since its original release. A ton of the changes (lately) have been game-balance adjustments. I’m not sure how I feel about that, because (as I’m still playing) I’ve come to rely on some of those “imbalanced” abilities… it feels like the only way anything I do makes a difference in some fights. Ah, well…

So will these changes make the games worthy of a second playthrough?

I dunno – I’m kept so busy right now even getting a single full playthrough to the end is challenging. Although at least in the case of Divinity: Original Sin, which was already kinda replayable, it sounds a little like two distinct but similar games.

Your mileage may vary on whether all this sounds like good news or bad news  to you. But I’m calling it all a good thing. I like that the devs are willing to put in the time and effort to make good things better, even if it’s not a clear marketing win.

Filed Under: Game Announcements - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • Infinitron said,

    Pillars’ real upgrades will come when it gets its expansion packs.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, but those won’t be free upgrades to the base game like the others.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Oh, good… I had to check to make sure I already pre-ordered the first expansion.

  • Infinitron said,

    I imagine the non-content-based improvements from the expansions will be ported into the base game, at least.

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    I guess I should be glad I’m playing these many months after release! Even though I backed several of these, I just haven’t got around to playing some of them until recently.

    I seem to have timed it well to be able to play Shadowrun Dragonfall Directors cut, and PoE’s latest updates. I guess I should wait a little longer for Divinity:OS and Wasteland 2 though.

  • Roguey said,

    I’m just here to say that Pillars of Eternity sucks so bad that even an enhanced edition couldn’t make it good.

  • Bedwyr said,

    [quote]I’m just here to say that Pillars of Eternity sucks so bad that even an enhanced edition couldn’t make it good.[/quote]

    Thanks for your contribution to the conversation.

    – A first observation. Another thing about the EE frenzy is that it ends up being a really good business decision. Not just for the buzz but for opening up new revenue streams with console publishing deals. Every bit puts these mid-level studios on firmer ground.

    – A second observation is their newfound control of IP. No cross-media deals (Marvel games, etc), no contracted development, no publisher ownership. The studios get to control their own destiny with some newly popular and reasonably widespread games. Even the publishing deals largely have the studios in the driver’s seat. That’s powerful.

    – Third observation is that these guys may be cottoning to the fact that it may be a more stable prospect to treat their games like a normal software release: i.e. – treating these games like they have a natural software lifecycle just as you would any other business project. So they don’t make money off of these EE changes, but the highly visible support throughout the lifecycle gives the long-tail of their sales some real strength.

    So maybe rumors about the demise of the mid-tier developer has been greatly exaggerated.