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madrigan

When's the next game being released?

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Welp, I've played through QW three times and I'm not sure I want to try a fourth. I think SW used to do one game a year, alternating all-new with remakes. Is this still going to be the case? And if so, what's up for next year? Geneforge 1? Avernum IV (that would be my vote)? Or are releases on a longer cycle now? Maybe I will play A4 again. I don't really want to do the Honeycomb or the Mertis Spiral again though. I probably finished A4 a half a dozen times and I got lost in the Honeycomb every time.

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iOS release of Queen's Wish on iPad and iPhone on December 4 is next.

 

Work on the Geneforge 1 remake has started and depending upon how much of the game engine is revised we could see it late 2020. The cycle is lengthening because Queen's Wish was a new game engine and new platform was done. Besides Jeff's getting older and can't take the stairs to his basement as quickly as he could decades ago. :)

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Just as an addendum to Randomizer's comment, Spiderweb is planning to remake Avernum 4 (hooray!), but it won't be for the foreseeable future. See this comment from Spiderweb's AMA on Reddit, held just after the release of Queen's Wish:

"I plan to remaster Avernum 4-6 someday. There's a lot of stuff in those games I can improve. (Plot in 4. Balance in 5-6.)

But not until the Geneforge remasters are done, so not for a very long time."

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Huh. Jeff has never really changed the plot of a game in a remaster, has he? I mean, there have been some tweaks here and there (the ending of the Hawthorne assassination mission in Avernum 1 comes to mind), but nothing big. I'd be interested to see an Avernum 4 with semi-significant plot adjustments.

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A4 was the first Spiderweb game I played, so the plot was all new to me. There was sufficient exposition in the game for me to understand the significance of Rentar and Erica without having played A1-3 at that time. Jeff could change the emphasis in A4 to the Darkside Loyalists, but then it might be too similar to A5, which presents the same problem in reverse. I think A5 is my favorite of the dozen or so SW games I've played to the end -- or near the end, because I was never able to finish G5, even using every cheat and mod I could find.

 

I think the only thing I would like changed in a new A4 is the long-distance travel. The pylons are fine but you don't get access to them for quite a while. The QW approach is much less annoying. Well, the long-distance travel, the Honeycomb, the Spiral, and the Western Wastes which just take forever and ever to get through. 

 

What really sets the newer SW games -- meaning the Avadon trilogy and QW -- apart from the others is that you are really not the hero in Avadon or QW. You can go several ways in Geneforge, but in Av and QW you're inevitably just a brutal conqueror representing an authoritarian state. Everything good that you do leads to something bad. I happen to like this grittier approach, but I do wonder how A4 would come out if Jeff wrote the plot now. 

 

Edited by madrigan

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20 hours ago, Kelandon said:

Huh. Jeff has never really changed the plot of a game in a remaster, has he?

 

No indeed, which is why this is such an interesting comment! As you say, all of the plot changes in the remakes have been either modest additions that remain faithful to the original canon, or slight adaptations or tweaks. This would be the first really major plot change, so it would be interesting to see how it eventually panned out!

 

I can see why Jeff would do this for Avernum 4. After all, of all of the games, this seems to be the one most criticised for its plot. I have the distinct impression that Jeff goes so far as to parody this himself – namely the mission in Avernum 6 involving summoning the big bad again.

 

Even so, I’ve always held the view that there’s actually a lot of really good content in Avernum 4, even if it’s mixed in with the flaws. If Jeff can work some magic and improve the overall experience, it would be nice to see the game gain in popularity a little!

 

Still, I hope that the game doesn’t end up being too taken over by the Darkside Loyalists. For instance, I feel that Avernum 4 adds some really nice colour to the Vahnatai, painting their society in a slightly darker tone. Some of the ideas relating to the interaction of the race with their Crystal Souls are excellent, disturbing additions (based on ideas from the Za-Khazi run, of all things)! I’m probably one of the few people who loved the idea and execution of the pylon mazes, even if they were frustrating at the time. And I think there are some really novel approaches to the way the party converses and eventually deals with the big bad, ones that sadly we don’t really see again.

 

Also, for some reason, I’d love a boss fight with one of the sea monsters. Maybe that’s just me. :)

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Yes to the sea monster fight, since that would require boats. 

 

No to the indoors/outdoors maps, though I think I'm the only person in the world who likes the A4-6 maps.

 

Also in A5 there was a direct reference to the constant chitrach attacks from A4 that everyone hated. 

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The continuous maps allowed for some exploits that barely got mentioned, but never fixed. The biggest was after leaving town you could buff and go into combat mode to cover more of the map than in the indoor/outdoor map. 

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I can see Dorikas and the Darkside Loyalists given more emphasis and screen time while still leaving Rentar-Ihrno as the main or deuterantagonist. I also think Rentar-Ihrno could get more development. She goes from an interesting extremist in limits in A2-A3 to a literally damaged monster in A4. I think there's room to play more on the Loyalists' and Rentar's shared enmity for the Empire and how that spills into Avernum, too.

 

—Alorael, who does think that's a pretty big retool. But it could leave the structure of the game intact while just being more and different words in some places. Jeff is pretty good at words. As long as the GIFTS don't become the secret masterminds behind everything.

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Yeah, I agree with Alo -- there's room to "fix" the Rentar-Ihrno plot.  It's not completely crazy that she attacked Avernum directly, and at least one of the mechanisms she used was very interesting (the Shades, lifted from Ultima though they may have been).  If she (and perhaps Glantris-Bok or another associate) had received actual character development, that would help.  If her involvement wasn't presented as an incredibly insulting "mystery" with the most boring and obvious answer, that would help.  If there was actual intrigue, because, say, she herself was involved with the Darkside Loyalists, or because the Olgai tribe sent an envoy who could actually speak human and wasn't jarringly huge, that would help.  If Starrus had actual characterization, and presented a coherent personality as an opposing force, that would help too.

 

But there are some small-plot elements that would also help redeem things.  A lot of minor characters from the First Trilogy appeared in A4, and many of them just sort of... butchered, or completely ignored, their past characterizations.  (Yong-Mi, you will be avenged!)

 

Now, the continuous map and what it did to Exile's geography is a bigger problem, but A6 somehow handled that a lot better than A4 did, so perhaps that wouldn't be too terrible to fix, either.

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2 hours ago, Futura Kobold said:

Now, the continuous map and what it did to Exile's geography is a bigger problem, but A6 somehow handled that a lot better than A4 did, so perhaps that wouldn't be too terrible to fix, either.

Jeff handled it by putting up gates and shifting levels to restrict movement. Where they existed it helped, but in the Western Reaches and Eastern Gallery you had the same problems as A4.

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I don't think we're talking about the same thing.  I'm talking about the fact that Blosk and Dharmon were basically five feet away from each other in A4, and so on.

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Block and Dharmon were only slightly farther apart in A6. :)

 

You are right that we are thinking about different things, but what you point out was part of my exploit complaint. You leave a town or fort at full strength, go into combat mode and buff, then one or two rounds later you are fighting monsters until you run out of monsters or spell energy.

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I mean, some version of that exploit exists no matter what map system you use.

 

(And it doesn't really matter, but I do not understand how in the world "what it did to Exile's geography" can possibly be describing a combat/healing exploit....)

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