"Khaleesi"... "Car-leesy"... "Kaleeeessi". Oh, sorry. You've just caught me practising my Jorah Mormont impression. I want to get it perfected before next week, when Crusader Kings 2's brilliant Game of Thrones mod will launch its Essos update. That's because the arrival of the Eastern continent will also mean the introduction of its most famous inhabitant: Dany Stormborn and her three dragons.
A fun game is to scour through the patch notes for Paradox's strategies, hunting for things that sound funny out of context. A good time can be had by all. Unfortunately, I've not yet sat down to crack open Europa Universalis IV, so lack the necessary context to even parse this massive list of fixes. "Event 'Conservative Backlash' now requires idea divine_supremacy" might sound funny, but what does it mean?
To be safe we'd better stick to the headline features: new vassal options, new map modes, and an expanded peace interface. Also some key cardinal update: "Cardinals now have a far higher likelihood to die as they grow old," and "Cardinals not yet in the curia can now die." Take that, immortal clergymen!
Welcome to the Game of Thrones diary, in which Rich plays as Ned Stark and tries to stay alive in the excellent Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. The diary may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones book one and season one of the TV show. Missed the story so far? Here's part one, part two, part threepart four and part five.
The king is dead. Long live the king. Wait, let me check that second bit: Robert Baratheon’s death has pushed his son Steffon onto the throne and thrown half the kingdom into revolt, offering me the chance to rise up against my Baratheon bosses. I cast my eye over Steffon’s stats to see if I should let the king live.
He’s an average commander, and already likes me. He’ll do. I enter the war on his side to keep him sweet – it’s the crown versus a few bitty provinces who’ve chosen their moment to wrest free of kingly control – knowing full well that I won’t commit any of my forces to the conflict.
Welcome to the Game of Thrones diary, in which Rich plays as Ned Stark and tries to stay alive in the excellent Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. The diary may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones book one and season one of the TV show. Missed the start? Here's part one, part two and part three.
My wife is dead and I am sad. Catelyn Stark died last month, and Ned Stark – still ruler of the North of Westeros, and still alive at my hands – is in some serious mourning. Crusader Kings II codifies that mourning in the form of negative character traits: my Ned is now ‘depressed’, ‘chaste’, and a ‘widower’ – traits that conspire to make him about as fertile as a socially awkward panda. That’s a problem when Crusader Kings II’s explicit aim is to create as strong a dynasty as possible, and my eldest son Robb is useless in a fight, diplomatic or otherwise.
Ned’s sad right now but I’m confident, thanks to some Wiki reading, that his malaise will lift. I’ll get over Catelyn, shake off my temporary chasteness and get back to the business of making strong little babies to continue the Stark name. But to do that, I need a new wife.
For the Old Gods’ sake Robert, can you please let someone else have some fun? No sooner have I re-rallied my northern forces (for the second time in as many months) with the express intention of crushing Mace Tyrell’s bid for kingship (also the second in as many months), than Robert beats him up in battle and puts him in his castle. The last time Robert did this, he let Mace go after a stern telling off, patting him on the Tyrell posterior and asking him nicely not to rebel again. Mace, being head of one of Westeros’s most powerful families and ‘Ambitious’ by nature – by character sheet anyway – immediately made another bid for the kingship.
Robert isn’t going to make the same mistake again. Out comes old headlopper, and Mace is no more, executed on Baratheon turf for his repeated treasons. My armies, raised from local peasantry and armed with northern steel – and some sticks and pitchforks – have to once again lay down arms and go back to their respective villages, their swords and pointy objects boringly blood-free. I feel bad. I promised these guys a war – several, really – but my remoteness in comparison to the rest of Westeros means I’m always the warmaid, never the warbastard.
Welcome to the Game of Thrones diary, in which Rich plays as Ned Stark and tries to stay alive in the excellent Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. Missed the start? Here's part one.
Ned Stark has killed hundreds of people – including, last week, one of his best mates for a minor transgression. But Ned always stared in their faces as he lopped their heads off, never breaking eye contact as their heads bounced around on the floor like bony footballs. I’m about to make him take a life by nefarious, sneaky means, and I feel bad.
Ned is boss of Westeros’s North, and looks after a vast swathe of land. But I wasn’t happy with the size of his territory. I wanted more for Ned. Last week, I decided he would do whatever it took to increase his holdings – even if that meant taking a life to get at that land.
Die More Edition? Not likely, guys. There's almost no conceivable way to create a version of top-down indie roguelike horror Teleglitch in which I could die more than I already do. Unless this upgraded re-release packs in death so densely that it warps time around it into a constant nightmare of unending, overlapping demise... Wait, hold on. It's got new levels, items and a more ruthless AI? Okay, that makes more sense.
When the title screen introduces The Showdown Effect as ‘An Arrowhead game with references’, they’re not kidding. Like its studio stablemate Magicka, it’s packed with affectionate send-ups of pop culture tropes and personalities, focusing this time on the cheesy action movies of the ’80s and ’90s with only occasional forays into internet memes and bad CSI:NY dialogue.
Appropriately, it’s a mix of shooter, 2D fighter and um, platformer (remember that film where Sylvester Stallone did all those walljumps?). It provides support for up to eight-player brawls between an ensemble cast of Hollywood archetype heroes and thinly-veiled actor pastiches. It’s not uncommon to see a good cop on his last day before retirement going katana-to-katana with Liam Neeson, for example. For a gimmick, it’s executed with enough conviction to become genuinely entertaining – at least before the constant barrage of barely-applicable one-liners starts to wear thin.
In an interview with GameSpy, Paradox's CEO Frederik Wester has revealed that the publisher cancelled four games in the past year, in an attempt to ensure that consumers weren't paying for buggy or unfinished titles.
Wester's comments were in response to questioning about the much maligned alternate history Civil War RTS Gettysburg: Armoured Warfare. Wester said, "That was terrible. We did not do our homework. It was a one-man team with some backup... we learned a lot from that release. We've had many bad releases before that, as well, and we learned something every time."
Paradox's CEO, Fredrik Wester, has just finished delivering the opening press conference of the Paradox Convention 2013. Announcements included new expansions, a new game, and something involving the thunderous thespian Brian Blessed. Read on for a complete run down of the convention's revelations.
I have an armed badger on my head. He’s a mocking crest that I added to my helmet to stand out in battle, so that the last thing opponents would see when they died was a wobbling, poleaxe-wielding melinae of doom. I call him my badger of dishonour.
War of the Roses, Fatshark’s third-person multiplayer knight lark, is a funny, well-crafted, limited little game where you fight for the right to make your knight look as imposing, or as ridiculous, as you can.
I don't want to brag, but... okay, I do want to brag. I'm good at War of the Roses. This came as a shock seeing how mediocre I usually am at shooters and deathmatch-type games in general. For those of you who might not be very proficient at simulated medieval maiming, I've compiled some tips to help you lead your chosen house to glory.
I don't know about you, but I'd like to believe wizards can do battle without giant shelled animals bred for war and just choose to do so because they are well aware of how awesome they are. This exclusive new trailer for Warlock: Master of the Arcane—an upcoming turn-based strategy game with hexes, city management and wonderful warlock spells—shows some of the large-scale battles that'll be happening in the world of Ardania when the game releases next Tuesday.
The question remains, however: what other giant animals should warlocks throw at each other?
I’m in a dank bog, talking to the ghostly wife of a Roman lunatic who thinks that he’s the Emperor Hadrian. I’m desperately trying to persuade her to make him go away. Where did my life go so wrong? I’m supposed to be the son of King Arthur, for the Old Gods’ sake.
Arthur is nearly dead, thanks to an exploding Grail, and so it has fallen to you to scour the land and unravel exactly why great big spikes have erupted out of the earth all over the place. Of course, by ‘scour the land’ I actually mean slowly turn a great big map of Britain your colour, because that’s what you do in RPGs. Wait, no, I mean RTSes. Hang on – which is this again?
Turbo Tape's Naval War: Arctic Circle is set for release next week, Paradox have revealed. The real-time naval strategy game has been on our long-range radar for a while, but we weren't expecting it to sneak up on us so quickly - which, I suppose, is the point.
It's set in a hypothetical near-future cold war, where dwindling resources force the NATO countries and Russia into conflict in the far north. You control fleets of ships, subs and aircraft across vast swathes of ocean, and clever use of radar and reconnaissance craft will be key to getting the drop on your opponent. "Naval War: Arctic Circle is a modern wargame that reflects the reality of naval combat in the near future" says the press release accompanying the announcement, "where you could be easily eliminated by a 10,000 tonne ship you never even see." I live in perpetual fear of being crushed by a 10,000 tonne ship I never even see, so this sounds like the game for me.
The Mount & Blade series has had a spotty history with guns, which is understandable when you consider that gunpowder was ultimately responsible for making both mounts and blades totally irrelevant. After the troubled Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword, Taleworlds and Flying Squirrel Entertainment are taking another pop at blackpowder in the form of this multiplayer-only expansion for Warband.
It'll feature five factions and 220 units, historically accurate weapons and artillery, and an engineer class that can erect barricades. You'll also be able to become a musician and play drums, fifes, trumpets and bagpipes - which seems like a recipe for getting shot, to me.
Gaming’s spice rack is a scary thing. Is that FPS starting to taste a little bland? Add zombies. Need a little kick to your fantasy game? Try a dollop of Elder God, perhaps with a touch of cinnamon to help wash away the funny aftertaste of madness, seaweed, and the inevitable doom of all flesh.
Unfortunately, Magicka’s Lovecraft-themed DLC goes little further than adding a little of this extra flavouring. Your group of up to four wizards has accidentally woken the Big Calamari, and only copious amounts of fire bombs, lightning walls, ARSE mines and whatever else you can mix up with your trusty palette of elements are going to send him to bed without his supper. World of Lovecraft, if you will.
The new King Arthur 2 demo offers a hefty 1.7 gigs of magi-war. Paradox reckons it'll take about an hour to complete the demo, which will let you play through the tutorial and the first campaign mission. That means you'll get to quest, build armies and take cities on the turn-based strategy map, and fight some knights in the quite beautiful real-time battles.
You can get hold of the demo now from Fileplanet ahead of the game's release tomorrow. If you were to pause the demo mid-battle, zoom your face right up to your soldiers and take a few pictures, they could well look similar to the new screenshots below. They show men being exploded by magic, fighting through a forest of ice spikes, and doing battle in a dark forest.
A Game of Dwarves (or "Dwarrrrrves!") is suddenly looking a lot like Dungeon Keeper. The trailer above presents the first moving pictures of Paradox' new management sim (the first screens landed last week). Your role as invisible floaty god-force is to lead your clan of dwarves to prosperity, instructing them to build labyrinthine mines to safely progress through each randomised section of the underworld.
Each dwarf in your crew can be specialised differently. Master craftsmen can build your leader a glorious throne room and warriors can protect them. There are monsters underground, of course, and the deeper you dig the more your risk unearthing the really nasty ones. More details are sure to arrive soon, but for now you can check out the new Game of Dwarves section of the Paradox site.
Paradox have announced a new game called A Game of Dwarves. It's a strategy/god game project that'll put you in charge of a clan of Dwarves as they tunnel through a series of randomly generated dungeons. Each dwarf can be levelled up and trained in different tasks. They can dig, build, research upgrades and fight off invading hordes.
It's looking a bit like a more user friendly version of the obtuse-but-awesome Dwarf Fortress. Graham's in Sweden absorbing more details right now. He'll be back soon to tell us all about it, meanwhile here are the first screenshots showing some cheerful miners exploring the randomised underworld.