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Tycho / 20 hours ago

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People seem to like what we’re doing with the PAX shows.  We have a lot of very unique experience bottled up here at Penny Arcade, earned over almost twenty years of planning and executing cons, and as our partner ReedPOP founds or finds cool conventions around the globe they’ve asked us to share some of that hard-won knowledge with local teams.  Wherever we can be a help to these shows, we will - and honestly, sometimes that’s going to mean standing back and trusting that team’s local approach.  Check out the launch site for more info about the first Powered By PAX event!


Thornwatch Update!

Making a tabletop game is a lot of work you guys. Thankfully I am surrounded by some ridiculously talented folks at Lone Shark and Penny Arcade. Kiko has been working on finalizing the layout for our cards and they are looking really cool. For a long time our cards have gotten the job done, but now it’s time to turn this stuff:

Into something I’m proud to put in a box. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the work Kiko has been doing:

While Kiko hammers out the graphic design I still have lots to illustrate. Specifically I am working on our Judges right now. If you’ve tested the game before you know that the Judge is our word for the game master but what is a Judge in the actual setting? They are our Gods.

The Eyrewood is “the judging wood” and so it makes sense that the deities of this world would be the Judges. They are divine entities that the people of this world recognize as the true masters of the Eyrwood. Judges are prayed to, feared, and cursed. Thornwatch will allow you to play as two different Judges. The first is the Judge of Stars and that’s the one I am working on right now. Here are a couple sketches.

There are a quite a few of these Judges in the Eyrwood. The initial Thornwatch game will give you the option of playing as one of two different Judges each with their own unique mechanics.

The plan is to reveal more of these Judges later and give you the opportunity to play as different ones. Fleshing out the Eyrewood has been so much fun. We’ve come up with a number of settings over the years but the Eyrwood is my favorite. Watching it come to life through this game has been incredible. I can’t wait for you all to get a chance to play in this world.

Speaking of Thornwatch art, I also wanted to share a rad song! Here’s Mike Selinker visiting with Amy Vorpahl as she performs her song “Tie a Knot”!

-Gabe out

Tycho / 2 days ago

I was very, very late to the game on Destiny.  As someone whose primary axis of engagement with Bungie was via their lore, please act surprised, Destiny as a launch experience was missing the nanoscale furrows that would give me entre.  Or, it sort of was.

Things definitely happen in the game, but they occur in a kind of dream logic which might have been caused by any number of things.  As the anchor for a “ten year game,” you don’t really want to paint yourself into a corner too early.  There was also significant creative turmoil at the time that caused something between a rewrite and a wholesale crop burning of the story.  Occasionally, when I would shoot an alien’s head off, the game would tell me that I had been granted a Grimoire Card.  This is where the story actually is, and it is related with profound success, but outside the game proper.  I’ve railed against this.  I think it’s possible to incorporate greater narrative exposure into the gameplay.  But I’m also wrong, which happens a lot.

Different media are capable of different outcomes.  My wife and son literally can’t be spoken to while they are reading.  This made me really mad until I began to truly understand they didn’t know I was there.  You can’t get mad at a person for not responding to stimuli they don’t perceive.  It’s like getting mad at someone for something they did in a dream you had.  It’s not fucking productive.  But that power to overwrite reality essentially comes for free with plain text.  It’s insidious, and it always has been, which is why writers get into so much trouble all the time.

The Books of Sorrow are a series of Grimoire Cards that tell a single tale with profound import for the setting and the content you experience in it.  If you animated this whole thing, I don’t even know if it would work.  I’m not sure it would be produced at all.  But it’s my favorite piece of work in the entire Destiny universe and it informs my relationship with the game.  I would be very sad to see this channel of story transmission go because I’ve seen how profoundly successful it was.  As a fraction of budget, the relative value of the Books and other shit - particularly where Rasputin is concerned - can’t be overstated.  At least for me.

There’s a lot of new Destiny 2 info churning out there now; of course, we have distilled the optimal lozenge.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

I haven’t had a chance to play The Surge yet, so I don’t 100% know what’s going on with it.  Gabriel doesn’t seem to like it, so I assume that means it’s great.

Being like Dark Souls without being Dark Souls is, to my mind, an argument for whatever it is.  Bloodborne, made by the same fucking crew, proves it better than anybody: there’s a hard, shiny marble at the center of this loop and narrative experience that is a basecamp for other expressions of it.  Nioh proves out some concepts related to ARPG loot grinds and technical gameplay that I found welcome.  I love the exploration of this space: I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had about where Dead Cells might fit into this continuum, incorporating some roguelite DNA into the organism.

Ultimately, I think Gabriel’s question is about the distinction between piece and genre.  If you’re too close, you get stamped with the Clone moniker.  Shooters were once called Doom Clones.  It’s something to consider.

Because I am the incredibly annoying person I am, it made me think about the concept of seminal works.  My son would already be giggling at this point.  King’s Field was profound, and begat Demon’s Souls, which begat Dark Souls.  At first, this series only inspired the people who made it, and now it’s worn a deep enough groove into us that we started wanting and making more.  They’re said to be seminal works in that they influence later expressions.  Founding a genre is certainly one way to do that.

    (CW)TB out.

The Surge!

I picked up The Surge not really knowing what to expect. I heard it had some cool combat mechanics and figured it was worth a try. It only took a few minutes of playing to realize it was Bloodborne but you can chop off body parts. Honestly that probably would have been enough for me if it didn’t look so stupid. Bloodborne is a game that oozes character and style and I think that’s why I was able to get so into it. On the other hand, The Surge reminds me of and 80’s cartoon.

I am serious! Here’s the main guy from The Surge. I think his name is Bob Surge.

And here are the Centurions.

Same world!

I didn’t play very much but I am pretty sure the main villain is Doc Terror:

-Gabe out

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