I'll be honest: I like what I've seen so far of Styx: Master of Shadows, but my expectations aren't super-high. Its predecessor, Of Orcs and Men, didn't exactly set the world on fire, and developer Cyanide is probably best known for the Pro Cycling Manager series, a far cry from the stealth-action genre. But even if I'm not particularly optimistic, I do remain hopeful. I mean, how do you not like a goblin who can spawn a gooey clone of himself and use it to turn a chest into a wicked, murderous jack-in-the-box?
I've written about Styx: Master of Shadows before now, and I find myself more interested every time Cyanide and Focus Home release a new bit of footage. It's important to keep Cyanide's previous games in the equation, but I like what they're trying to achieve with Styx's seemingly rather open and tongue-in-cheek approach to stealth. A bit of humour and a few new tricks can go a long way.
I'm all for fantasy worlds that don't demonise their gobliny or orcish races, so I remember being pretty curious about Cyanide's Of Orcs and Men back in the day, despite middling reviews eventually putting me off. I have a feeling Styx: Master of Shadows is going to be harder to resist. The third-person stealth game takes Of Orcs' sneaky goblin Styx and gives him his own game set in a massive tower. I mentioned it back in January, but now a big dollop of in-game footage has appeared, giving us a proper look at how it actually plays. I have a few concerns, but it's nice to see a stealth protagonist - shuns the sunlight, lurks in the darkness - actually looking the part for once.
The best thing about Cyanide's first Blood Bowl was the Games Workshop ruleset that supported it. Clunky UI and some wobbly networking almost spoiled the appeal of violent, high-fantasy Gridiron. The latest Blood Bowl 2 trailer shows the new match engine, which certainly looks the part, but will those important underlying systems be fixed? Ponder that as you watch some big green fellas squashing some little pink fellas in the first moving pictures of a BB2 match.
Cyanide don't have the best track record, but you can't deny that they make interesting games. Interesting, ambitious, ultimately a bit *does shaky hand thing* games. There's reason to raise an eyebrow, then, over Styx: Master of Shadows, their recently announced stealth game starring a two-centuries-old goblin named after a hellish river. And raise an eyebrow I did, before I remembered Game of Thrones: The Game of Thrones Game: The Video Game and my other eyebrow shot up as well. I now resemble Malcolm McDowell in that Clockwork Orange reprogramming scene, and it's all Cyanide (and Focus Home's) fault. Hear more about the game below.
There is only war. Except, sometimes there's sport. But when it comes to Games Workshop's single-minded Warhammer franchise, even that is basically just war. Cyanide Studios are working on a follow up to Blood Bowl, their turn-based fantasy football game. Now they've released the first screenshots Blood Bowl 2, confirming that it will take place in a rudimentary bowl and that, if the number of spikes on that ball are anything to go by, there will soon be blood.
Cyanide's take on Games Workshop's inspired tabletop fantasy sports game is set to receive a sequel, as revealed by Blood Bowl's vampire and ogre commentators in the first teaser trailer - or Jim and Bob as they're known to their friends. The follow-up to the turn-based/real-time tactical sport has been in development for a year, and puts the pair's 'Cabalvision' TV show front and centre.
Mars: War Logs. I can't pinpoint what's wrong with that name, exactly, but after rolling it over my tongue a couple of times I'm now convinced it's about a group of Warlocks sponsored by the Mars confectionary company. It's actually an RPG set on everybody's favourite red planet, starring an improbably named hero called Roy Temperance. (I'm willing to bet he's ironically not the temperate sort.) It's also out now on Steam, for the surprisingly low price of £14.99. Crafting, companions, choices and Technomancers are just a few of the things waiting should you decide to get your ass to Mars. Launch trailer below.
Like books, it’s often a bad idea to judge a game by its cover – or even by its first chapters, as tempting as just giving up can be. For the opening hour or two of this spin-off, the only real question was whether Game of Thrones RPG was merely comedy-bad or active, outright heresy against George R R Martin’s amazing, if increasingly bloated, fantasy series. Awful graphics. Tedious combat. Voice-acting that smacks of a producer leaning out of a window one Sunday and yelling at random passers-by, “Hey! Want to be in a licensed abomination?” I’ve had more enjoyable dental appointments.
The second season of HBO's sumptuous TV retelling of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series is well and truly underway. Shots of Tyrion strolling the halls of power whistling nonchalantly have been topped only by Joffrey's latest slapping at the hands of his mother, the power hungry queen Cersei, and the sight of those grand halls is only making me more eager to explore them.
Cyanide's Game of Thrones RPG should let us do just that. The great city of Kingslanding will be one of the locations we'll get to explore, but will it capture the hustle and bustle of the city's streets, or the silent scheming of the library-quiet halls of that grand palace? By The Seven, I hope so. It would be such a shame to see such a great license go to waste. Here are some new screenshots, showing the streets of Kingslanding, and some suitably ostentatious Lannister armour.
Contrary to the Stark slogan, winter isn't coming, it's going, but then winters here don't last for years on end and we don't have to worry about bands of marauding wights charging over Hadrian's wall every time it snows. Westeros is a tough place to grow old. If the wildling bandits and the wolves don't get you, there's always the chance of a treacherous lord's knife in your spine. Cyanide's Game of Thrones RPG is going to have to be pretty expansive encompass the political turmoil and casual brutality of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
The latest trailer and screenshots show a fort belonging to the Lord of Castlewood. He stood on the side of the mad king, Aerys Targaryen, during the uprising that crushed him. That makes him an unpopular man, but Castlewood will act as a safe haven for your character, Ser Alester. Take a tour of the Lord of Castlewood's abode and check out a really ugly dog with these screenshots.
Riverspring is the setting for the latest Game of Thrones trailer. It's the home town of Red Priest, Alester Sarwyck, one of the RPG's two playable characters. The other is Mors, a member of the hardened, reclusive order of the Black Watch. The threads of their separate stories are sure to tangle in a campaign that promises "a twisting plot filled with betrayal and violence." A typical day in Westeros, then
Cyanide have taken the dark fantasy label a little too literally in the eight new screenshots they've released, but if you squint, you can make out some scowling warriors and the worn stone of Riverspring's great halls. The release date is set for "early 2012." Wait, that's pretty much now! The RPG could bridge the gap until April 1, when the second series starts on HBO. You'll find the screenshots below, but you'll probably want to click on this first to set the mood.
Update: I found another trailer! It has stabbing. It's after the break.
Original story: The Old Republic could have been a Game of Thrones MMO, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. However, for those hoping to role-play their way through Westeros, there's still hope. Cyanide's putting the finishing touches on a single-player side-story that's set for release in "early 2012," and now it has a trailer (via Eurogamer) that could safely be described as existent.
True to the spirit of George R.R. Martin's merciless pen, Cyanide's Game of Thrones RTS killed something in cold blood: my ability to smile. The Blood Bowl developer isn't throwing in the towel just yet, though. Instead, it's charging forward with an RPG, and - based on the first major trickle of story info and screenshots - it's sounding, dare I say it... promising.
Based on the fascinatingly sadistic A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George RR Martin, Game of Thrones should make for a perfect strategy game. The books are purely about lethal plots, arrogant nobles fighting pointless wars, and the suffering populace of a world failing to face an undead threat coming with the long winter. And dragons. Having included all of that, how could Genesis fail?
Well, by not capturing that feel at all. The RTS element has a structure as traditional as Age of Empires II. The singleplayer campaign tracks, somewhat tediously, through the lightly-sketched history of Westeros. The missions are varied but plodding, where characters about as strong as paper bags follow arbitrary paths on 2D maps.
Remember the opening of A Game of Thrones? That spooky forest, that lone patrol from the Wall, the creeping sense of dread as they approached a camp full of mysteriously dead bandits? I loved it. All I could think was, "This would make a great Facebook game."
OK, we're not just getting a social Game of Thrones, but it is one of three upcoming licensed games for George RR Martin's fantasy series.
What's the point in commanding a grand army if you can't stand alone in your tent stroking a map? That's perhaps the moral of the new trailer for A Game of Thrones: Genesis, which is out next week. Speaking of maps, Cyanide's vision of Westeros involves one of those skewed world maps in which otherwise tiny towns are blown up to make them easier to see. This seems to have had weird consequences for The Wall, which looks a bit too narrow for a landmark that's supposed to be 300 miles long. Also, you'll notice something wrong with the music, but that's easily fixed.
When Cyanide first started showing off their upcoming Song of Ice and Fire RTS, A Game of Thrones: Genesis, our first reaction was one of surprise. A real time strategy? Surely the best way to experience the cut throat world of A Game of Thrones is to get up close and personal with the despicable, traitorous denizens of Westeros and experience the political wrangling and uncompromising violence of the world first hand.
In fact, Cyanide's French studio is working on an RPG that might do just the trick, though for now there's basically no information on what the Game of Thrones RPG will be like. Blues News have spotted two screenshots, however. They show an icy town (Winterfell?), and two very serious looking men. Grizzled old blokes: confirmed.
Winter is coming on September 29. That's the day Cyanide's RTS take on George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire novels is released to the world.
It'll be interesting to see how the political wrangling, backstabbing and sheer boob power of the books and TV series take form in a real time strategy game. We learned in our Game of Thrones preview that there's an entire aspect of the game labelled "underhand," and there will be plenty of opportunity to back stab trusting allies using Genesis' diplomacy options. In fact, Cyanide say that it's possible to use the sneakiest strategies at your disposal to win a game without fighting an open battle, or even raising an army.
Five new screenshots have been unveiled alongside the release date announcement, showing a famous landmark Game of Thrones fans will quickly recognise. Get 'em below.