Bethesda Gearing Up for Next Game; Skyrim DLC Comes to an End
The saga of Skyrim — the fifth and most successful entry into The Elder Scrolls series — is at its end. After more than a year of supporting their fantasy RPG with updates and content (including a healthy dosage of story DLC), Bethesda is moving away from their “labor of love” and is ratcheting up production on a new, unannounced title.
In an open letter to fans on the Bethesda Blog, the studio revealed segments of their development team have been in pre-production on this project but now “that game is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet.”
Despite its resounding financial and critical success, this next project is unlikely to be Skyrim’s follow up, given the team’s track record. Instead, RPG fans may be plunged back into the Wasteland, if these rumors are to be taken at face value. Be it Fallout 4 or, maybe just possibly, a brand new IP, the only sure bet is that we’ll be well into the next-generation of gaming before we once again get to feverishly dedicate a hundred-plus hours into Bethesda’s next immersive world.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen Storming Shelves This April
Plus: Why the Hell Isn’t it DLC?.
Unable to exist as separate DLC, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is actually a full-on retail disc (and digital download) releasing April 23rd (26th in Europe) which will include both the entirety of the original game and its expanded content at a discounted price of $39.99. Reverse your frown — we’ll get to why in a tic.
Dark Arisen is equipped with a massive amount of new content, big and small; the biggest of which being the journey you’ll take to Bitterblack Isle and the underground realm lying beneath filled wall to wall with both insurmountable treasure and a Tolkien book’s worth of creatures bent on turning your party into a screaming lunch. The fight isn’t one-sided, though, as players can now access over 100 new items, more weapons and armors, augmentations, and a brand new tier of character skills to add some tasteful hack to your slash.
More is better, but there’s more to it than that. Several improvements to the game’s design are being implemented such as a reworked menu system and better fast travel (thankfully). Already plugged away a shitload of hours into Dragon’s Dogma? Your character(s) save file can not only be imported, but will also be updated with Dark Arisen’s tech fixes. How convenient!
A helluva lot less convenient is having to re-purchase the game, as my original copy is outmoded a la Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Dark Arisen would have made significantly more sense logically and financially as a downloadable expansion. And Capcom agrees, at least according to Senior VP and Expert Apologist Chris Svensson.
“It would have been a preferred option from our standpoint, too,” explained Svenny. “But unfortunately there were major technical limitations that couldn’t allow for a digital upgrade path.” Basically, Dragon’s Dogma — an untested IP that I’m confident outperformed the company’s expectations — just wasn’t designed with the proper coding “hooks” to allow for a huge expansion (…allegedly).
Early adopters can look forward to a gift bag of in-game treats, however. Your old DD save files will grant you 100,000 Rift Stones, the Gransys Armor Pack, and — wait for it — unlimited Ferrystones. Svensson hopes this to be a “sufficient ‘thank you’” for the game’s supporters. So, no room to bitch, right? Ha. Right.
Next Skyrim DLC, “Hearthfire,” Turns You into a Real Estate Tycoon?
The winds traveled the news to us a short while ago that Bethesda had trademarked the name “Hearthfire” pertaining to the Elder Scrolls license, leading fans to suspect a DLC follow-up to Dawnguard was on the way.
Once again thanks to the leaky well of information that is Reddit, we’re rumored to have our first synopsis detailing Heartfire. For the story driven, it’s probably not quite what you expect:
Hearthfire, the next official game-add on for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has arrived. For the first time in the Elder Scrolls universe, purchase land and build your own home from the ground up – from a simple one-room cottage to a sprawling compound complete with armory, alchemy laboratory, trophy room, and more! With Hearthfire, the possibilities of what you can build are endless.
Hmm, well there goes all that speculation pegging Hearthfire as a potential in for a zombie infested add-on similar to Red Dead’s Undead Nightmare or Borderland’s Zombie Island of Dr. Ned. Sure, I wanted to Dragon Shout waves of the undead into a massive, red pulp but, uh, this is good, too. Can’t wait to accessorize the shit out of my dungeon, I guess.
Of course, Bethesda has yet to comment or announce anything solid. This could very well be a clever misguide or outright bull. And with Dawnguard an absolute no-show on the PS3 (still), it’s going to be some time before we get around to whatever Hearthfire ends up being…fantasy-world real estate simulator or not.
UPDATE: Count this one as true. Bethesda has announced the home improvement focused Hearthfire will be available for download through Xbox Live on September 4th. It’ll set you back 400 MS for any of you would-be, virtual Bob Vila’s. No announcement has been made regarding a PC or PS3 release.
Dragon’s Dogma Wins Over the East
For those of you on the fence about Capcom’s attempt at an open world fantasy RPG — if you’re even on the fence; I know a lot of you fantasy junkies are contenting yourself on Diablo sessions in between server crashes — word has flown from the Osaka based publisher’s hometown of Japan that Dragon’s Dogma ain’t too shabby after all.
Of particular note, intensely critical yet insanely popular gaming magazine Famitsu awarded the action-RPG the coveted “Hall of Fame: Gold” award. This is a pretty damn hard award to bag when you keep in mind how the magazine scores titles. Famitsu practices a “Cross Review” system in which four editors will filter their impressions into a 10-Scale score, then those four ratings will be added up for a final sum that can only possibly go up to 40 (yet usually doesn’t). I hope that made a semblance of sense; I’m not repeating myself.
Famitsu’s reviewers rated Dragon’s Dogma with two 8’s and two 9’s, amounting to a total of 34 (just enough to earn that gold star). Now typically I wouldn’t consider anyone else’s review score hot enough news to tap key over (especially since I don’t base my reviews around a numbered system). But it’s poignant to note that Famitsu is particularly harsh on a game’s flaws and that their review format makes it so even above average games come off as savagely mediocre.
If it’s good enough for Famitsu, it must be good enough for us Westerners who are so spoiled on open world RPG’s to begin with. Though I predict we’ll see more money thrown at Dawnguard this Summer than retail copies of Dogma. Which is a shame, since bringing down screeching griffons by hacking on their wings while riding them is the kind of over-the-top testosterone injection our RPGs’ collective sacks need.
You can pick up Dragon’s Dogma on Tuesday for the PS3 or Xbox 360. In the meanwhile, download the demo from PSN or XBLA and wreck a griffon’s face now.
Dogmas and Dragons and Such in This New Story Trailer
Paired right alongside the announcement that Dragon’s Dogma is set for a May 22nd unleashing in the states, here drops a new Story Trailer.
Headed by a team of Capcom’s action all-stars, this RPG-tastic tale looks to bridge Western and Eastern sensibilities. What do you get when you mix the two? Giant Colossus style battles tethered to a bevy of classes and customization options for fantasy fans to rifle through.
RPG’s haven’t found a poster boy for 2012 just yet, and while contenders are sure to crop up throughout the year, Capcom’s submission to the genre looks strong, so long as it has the story to back it up.