Pixelmage Games Cancels Hero’s Song Kickstarter

Hero's Song Kickstarter Cancelled

As of this very moment, 39 minutes ago the Kickstarter for Hero’s Song was cancelled. Hero’s Song is Smed’s new game from his new company called Pixelmage Games.

Hero’s Song – A Good Idea?

I was already planning to write something on the game today. A few of you have asked me for my comments/thoughts/etc., and I guess now is the perfect time to weigh in. In general, Hero’s Song looks fun. The “2D” isometric RPG is, in my opinion, the best was to present a sandbox. The most memorable sandbox (or psuedo-sandbox) games, for me, have always been that quasi-2D isometric view: Ultima Online, Harvest Moon, Terraria, etc. Combine that with RPGs and you have games like Baldur’s Gate, Diablo, Divinity, etc. Good things come in 2D isometrics.

The ideas behind Hero’s Song servers being hosted independently sounded appealing. Is it a MMORPG? No, not by a long shot. Does it have to be? Probably better for them that it’s not. The idea of having the world change so much based on diety choices and story also sounds good. Hero’s Song sounds good to me overall.

I think a lot is still left unsaid. The type of things I want to see in Hero’s Song are farming, owning land, deep character development, and permanence. I’m not sure if those things would have, or could have, ever made it into Hero’s Song given they seem to be drifting dangerously close to a forgettable rogue-like action RPG instead of a deeper sandbox experience.

Bottom line, there is potential. I’m their target market. This is the type of game that I like to buy and play. I want to see Hero’s Song made, and I want to play it. I like the blunt “no f2P” mantra, too.

Kickstarter Mistakes

I’m no fan of Kickstarter for games. I think Kickstarter had its moment in the spotlight and their flame is since flickered out. Running a successful Kickstarer campaign takes hype and planning, and a lot of luck. A failed Kickstarter will hurt your game way more than it could have possibly helped if it succeeded. Hero’s Song Kickstarter has failed, and was destined to fail.

Coming right out of the gate with an $800,000 goal was ridiculous, and a strategic error. They should have had a goal around $200k, especially if they would have funded the game anyway. A success builds hype, and from there they could have launched campaign #2 or other forms of crowd-sourcing — though I’ll say again I am no fan of such methods.

If Hero’s Song survives, and it still may, they better take a serious look at how to market their game properly. Slapping the names and pictures of streamers on your website, immediately launching into a huge Kickstarter for a pixel art game, and failing to communicate the proper details to excite the right people are all amateur mistakes for a supposed veteran team. Here’s hoping they learn from it, and make the game I want to play.

Codsworth is a BAMF

I know that Star Wars came out today, but I won’t have my copy until tonight when I get home from work so my thoughts and videos will have to wait a bit there. Let’s talk more Fallout 4!

I was able to push past that power plant finally. I ended up being able to molotov the heck out of that room and got a few lucky shots off with my shotgun. What really did it for me was being able to activate some robot and put it into police mode. I think it killed a few raiders! At one point it turned on me though, and I don’t know why. So I had a robot AND those raiders AND their turrets on me…

Being able to interact with consoles and activate robots or the environment has been neat. I’ve found consoles to activate turrets, lights, alarms, robots, etc. Very neat that I can sort of come up with my own way to get past scenarios.

Getting past the power plant and being able to see fresh air again was nice. I made my way back to Sanctuary where I offloaded TONS of materials and upgraded my armor and planted lots of crops — built a radio transmitter too so I hope that my population grows!

I decided to swap out Dogmeat for Codsworth, and HOLY CRAP he’s amazing. He charges in and saws people in half! Stupid Dogmeat just runs in and detonates mines or provokes raiders into nuking me. Codsworth is like, “Mr. Doug shall I $&*# them up for you?!” Yes, please. I took Codworth on a few outings and we ended up liberating another settlement and clearing out a few other areas of raiders.

What I’m still struggling with is finding a decent gun. Guns aren’t dropping. Ammo is sorta dropping more now. So I have ammo but my guns are pipe rifles, pipe pistols, and a basic short barrel shotgun. Does my luck suck or do the better rifles/guns of any kind drop somewhere else? Oh, I did find another Fat Man nuke launcher. Can I break these down somehow? I’m trying to figure out how to scrap them. I thought it was at the weapons bench, but couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I missed it.

Today I’ll be playing lots of Star Wars, but tomorrow I’ll pick up on my adventure again. Now that I have the hang of things I’ll take some videos to go along with these entries. That way you guys can see the context and help me out.

Base Building in Fallout 4 is the Coolest Thing Ever

My adventure continues in Fallout 4 as I experience all things Fallout with the wide-eyed enthusiasm and ignorance of a complete newb. I mistakenly thought I was headed to Boston when an NPC (I think it was Codsworth) said the name, but turns out Boston isn’t anywhere in my near future. I spent several hours today playing and ended up making my way through much of Concord and Lexington — both of which were nicer when I visited them in real life and not so much when they are inhabited by mutants and raiders.

Roaming the Wastelands

While not nearly as post-nuclear fallout as I think it should have been, the world itself has a much more colorful and interesting feel than what I’ve observed in screenshots of other Fallout games. They did this for people like me who can only stand looking at so many shades of brown before I get bored. I like how I have an even more open sense of ‘roam the world and do whatever you want’ than even Skyrim. This is more on the Morrowind level of openness.

I… had no idea how much this game would bring out the hoarder in me. I search everywhere and collect everything. Every file cabinet, every house, every coffee mug. It might be useful! I must have it! Regretting that one point in strength about now. But what’s so cool about this game is that all of this stuff -is- useful. I -do- need all of it.

Base Building

My absolute favorite thing in Fallout 4 so far, and perhaps will remain so forever, is the base building. I spend hours scrapping crap, planting crops, making water collectors, decorating houses, etc. This is just SO COOL that I can take parts of the world and make them my bases. This has to be in all Bethesta RPGs moving forward and every game should simply rip it off moving forward.

I was particularly proud of myself when I built a water purifier in the river and wired it to a generator to collect water for my settlement. How cool is that?!

Tough Road Ahead

I got a little bit discouraged and ended up taking a break tonight after trying to help rid a power plant of raiders. Turns out they have turrets and molotovs and nukes and power armor of their own. I died a lot…

My biggest struggle right now is having to carry 4 different guns with different ammo types and never having ammo for the one gun I have that I WANT to use. I’m going Rifleman perk, and unfortunately my rifles feel like they deal about as much damage as shooting a BB gun at a tank. Finally found a nice rifle but it uses .308 instead of .38 ammo. Grr.

If not for being in the middle of this quest I would simply leave and come back, but I think I am on the last room of this plant. Once done I’ll have helped and perhaps claimed the settlement I was asked to assist. I hear better things are in my future if I can push past this part.

Oh, I did find a Fat Boy nuke launcher or something. I’m tempted to nuke this factory and be done!

I’ll happily take any advice you have for me on how I can get better weapons. Overall though, so far so good. I made lots of progress, got side tracked a bit looking for things, spent hours on my base, and I’m looking forward to my next play session.

Fallout 4 Coverage From a Complete Fallout Newb

The entire internet is currently covering Fallout 4. From reviews to streams, memes, and videos, and more commentary than any game we’ve seen in a while, it’s hard not to trip over and grow tired of the game after only two days. That said, I do feel inclined to include myself in the mix. My angle is a bit different. I have never played a Fallout game before, unless you count 30 minutes of playing New Vegas or 30 minutes at E3 2008 playing Fallout 3. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m going into this without rose-tinted glasses, nostalgia, or any preconceived ideas. With this ignorance will come a fairly unbiased stream of thought focusing simply on Fallout 4. I will also be playing with my wife along side me, and she’s only experienced games since marrying me 8 months ago.

Note: Coverage will contain minor spoilers that you will likely have already seen in trailers, reviews, etc. If I’m going to mention a slight story spoiler I will use  (Slight spoiler) (End Slight Spoiler) tags.

Entering Vault 111

Character creation was a bit overwhelming. From what I know of Bethesda they have never been very good at faces. I think Fallout 4 character creation gets the job done. I stuck with a fairly default templated look.

Stat allocation was a HUGE point of anxiety for me. The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system (strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, luck) is way beyond my newb abilities. Graev was trying to explain over text messages how the whole thing worked regarding perks and character builds yada yada. After 30 minutes I eventually just went with something like: 1-8-2-6-6-1-5 (something like that). I know I want to use guns, and Graev told me I should have 6 charisma and 6 intel. Whatever. I don’t care anymore. I’m not going to meta game this. I just want to play! 😛

Upon entering the game for the first time I felt a need to look around and interact with everything. Much of the world could be “examined” by “activating” the item whether it be a Baby or a coffee cup; typical Bethesda style here.

What came about rather quickly was an impending sense of, “uhhh something is going to happen.”  Bri grabbed my arm and was sort of disconcerted and kept saying, “I don’t like how this feels. Something is going to happen I just know it!”

(Slight Spoiler)

Things became especially anxious when both my character and his wife went to the baby’s room and Codsworth the robot yelled for us both to return to the living room and watch the news of the impending nuclear detonation.

Rushing to the vault felt scary. Descending into the vault also felt incredibly dramatic. When I got there I felt a little confused, and I assume that’s how they wanted the player to feel. I saw the pod for decontamination they wanted me to get into and I actually thought, “oh that makes sense. Cool I’ll get in here then go to my habitation area.” Then before I could realize what happened I was frozen in cryostasis and I realized I had been tricked. Having never played a Fallout game before I had NO idea that Vault-tec was shady, and I had no idea they ran social experiments. I texted Graev like, “OMG I’m frozen halp!” and he laughed. Apparently Fallout veterans knew this would happen, but as a Fallout newb I was shocked and then mortified when they shot my wife and stole my baby. I was happy that a game was able to surprise me like this but not happy that it happened.

(End Slight Spoilers)

When exiting my pod and trying to figure out what happened to everyone I was confronted with my first bit of combat. Bri jumped and clinged to me screaming, “COCKROACH!” I began punching and, when I quickly found a gun, unloading a clip into those little buggers. She made me shoot them a few more times to make sure they were dead, and I had to assure her that the game wanted me to take their meat. She still doesn’t understand why I need the rad road meats.

Reading all of the text on the terminals was a little tedious and times, but I liked how I was being set up with a basic understanding of how something went wrong. The all-clear never came. There was a mutiny, things got out of hand, but in the end I’m still in the dark. (Slight Spoiler) Who was it that came in and stole my baby? (End Slight Spoiler) Was it an internal job? I’ll be pissed if these things are not resolved.

Exiting Vault 111

I left the vault hoping to find some answers. The world was, as expected, a wasteland. The quest wanted me to go home, but I was also anxious to get back there too! I wanted to see my robot friend Codsworth again, and I wanted to see if maybe I could find some supplies in the houses.

Having seen trailers I knew that I would see Codsworth again. What I wasn’t expecting was for him to scream, “MR. DOUG!” He said MY NAME! My name I told the game to call me, he actually said it! That poor robot was sitting around for over 200 years waiting for me to return.

There’s already WAY more story than I expected. My wife enjoys the story parts of the games she watches me play, which is why she’ll watch Assassin’s Creed but not Skylanders or something like Mario. I wasn’t expecting her to want to watch Fallout 4, but I think she’s hooked already.

So far so good on the game in general. I’m playing on the PS4 and I haven’t had any issues. Graphics look great. Gameplay runs smooth. 60 FPS this vs 30 FPS that… whatever. It runs well, it plays well, I’m having fun, etc.

Next Stop: Boston!

Blizzcon is Upon Us: WoW Legion’s Launch Date, Predictions, et al

Blizzcon’s opening ceremony kicks off in exactly 4 hours from now, and I’m going to squeeze in here and drop a few predictions as well as what I hope to see announced.

World of Warcraft: Legion

First, I have to address the gorilla in the room: Legion’s launch date. Check out the marketing collateral below and pay attention to the fine print at the bottom (click to enlarge):

wow-legion-perks

Legion will release on or before September 21, 2016. There are a few ways to interpret this information.

  1. The people convinced this is the release date and are cancelling their subscriptions because they won’t do HFC for 10 more months.
  2. The “I knew there was a reason to hide subscription numbers!” group (who likely do not play)
  3. People who look at WoD coming out a month before its drop dead date who now think August is the date.
  4. The people who think this really doesn’t mean a whole lot / will happily play WoD / don’t care.

I personally think this is their drop dead date and that they will release sooner. I’m also pretty sure they’re going to giving Overwatch a very nice window. I’m predicting April 2016. I think that’s a nice 5-6 month window for them to hold a beta and finish up. I’m on the bleeding edge of extremes here, I know. The likely release date probably IS September 2016.

Overwatch

We’ll get a release date. They’ll talk about the cost of the game, some business model plans, etc. Lots, and lots, and lots of hype. The more I think about how badly they want to hype Overwatch, the more I think we’ll see Overwatch in April, and Legion in August-September.

Starcraft

I’m not expecting any announcements for Starcraft’s current projects. I think Legacy of the Void coming out is a big enough deal that they won’t overshadow it with anything else in the SC2 universe. However, I want to see announcements regarding a modernized version of the original Starcraft and Broodwar being brought to the SC2 engine — with multiplayer — by 2017.

Diablo

I’m actually expecting nothing for Diablo except for a similar announcement about Diablo and Diablo 2 (plus expansions, minus Hellfire) being modernized to the D3 engine and coming out as full games — with multiplayer — by 2017 as well.

Classic Games

I’ll continue in the same vein and say that I hope a nice part of the opening ceremony will hype their revival of the ‘classics’ and for them to official come out and state that they are working on these revitalization projects. The job listings are there for these projects already, it’s just time to make it official. I truly hope to see Warcrafts 1-3 being a big part of this project.

Hearthstone

Cards? (And probably a huge emphasis since this game prints money)

Heroes of the Storm

More heroes and stuff. I will be shocked if HotS gets much if any time in the opening ceremony.

Warcraft 4’s Announcement

Yes, I look forward to Warcraft 4’s announcement every single year. I hold my breath, I get disappointed, and I come back next year to do it all again. I really do think they could build off the hype of Legion and a Warcraft 3 revival to announce Warcraft 4 coming in 2018 or something.

Console and Tablet Announcements

We know that Overwatch is coming to consoles. I think this is a big market for them. Now, as far as tablets go, I think we won’t hear a thing. They kept Hearthstone — their juggernaut F2P — completely nonchalant when it came to iOS releases. I doubt we see much pomp and circumstance over tablets.

A Big Year for Blizzard

Blizzard can go big this year in ways they haven’t been able or willing to in the past few years. With Overwatch, classic revivals, and a strong expansion on their list it’s entirely their game to lose right now. This Blizzcon can set the pace for the next three years without even breaking a sweat. Let’s see what happens!