Key events

1st November 2009


2nd October 2009


Risen 3 announced for PC, PS3, Xbox 360, due August

Risen 3 announced for PC, PS3, Xbox 360, due August

Near Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3.

Not everyone's jumping on the next-gen bandwagon: just announced RPG threequel Risen 3, due August, will be a PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 game.

Developer Piranha Bytes is promising freedom in exploration and a hand-crafted world.

The game's full name is Risen 3: Titan Lords, and it spins the story of a world abandoned by the gods, where a young warrior is attacked from the shadows and loses his soul. His quest to retrieve it will also be yours.

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Why Gothic dev Piranha dumped JoWooD

And what happens next for the Gothic IP.

Gothic 3 scored only 8/10 because developer JoWooD "forced" the game's release when it was "not ready", developer Piranha Bytes has revealed to Eurogamer.

You should pay attention to Risen 2. Granted, fantasy role-playing game Risen 1 was awful on console and only decent on PC. But from the outset the game was a modest attempt by Piranha Bytes to find its feet after acrimoniously splitting with JoWooD, the long-time publisher of its Gothic games.



Grinders keepers.

Not many games get a second chance to make a first impression, but enough readers felt Risen's shonky Xbox 360 port shouldn't count against the apparently superior PC version that we thought we should investigate that one as well. I was duly dispatched to the volcanic island of Faranga for a second go-around and, yes, it's true that the PC version is a marked improvement over its console cousin. It's immediately clear that Piranha Bytes is much more comfortable working on its native platform, and this familiarity certainly smooths some of the rough edges.

Most obviously, there's a definite benefit to the visuals. Even with settings at maximum it's not going to be the prettiest game around, but simply by eliminating the horribly distracting pop-up and enormous diagonal lines tearing through the distant scenery, the gameworld is easier to immerse yourself in. Draw distance is also improved, and it no longer feels like you're wandering through a half-finished virtual reality countryside.

Also benefiting from the comfort zone of the PC is the game's accessibility. Menus are still rather bland and ugly, but something as simple as the ability to drag and drop items from inventory spaces to equipment slots streamlines what had become a cumbersome obstacle on the 360. From this side of the fence it's easier to see how the 360 setup was crudely cut-and-pasted across, trying to match keyboard functions to d-pad directions, but there's no mistaking that Piranha Bytes was clearly out of its depth in the world of joypad-only game design.

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UK Chart: Goal-pie for FIFA 10

Second biggest UK launch ever.

FIFA 10 is the UK's second fastest selling game ever behind Grand Theft Auto IV, smashing FIFA 09's opening weekend by a fearsome 48 per cent.

PC demos for Machinarium, Risen

You should definitely try one of them.

PC owners get free tasters for hand-drawn point-and-click adventure Machinarium and unlovely role-playing game Risen today.



And fallen.

Playing Risen is a lot like being a Dickensian waif, frostbitten nose pressed up against the window of some well-to-do household on Christmas Eve, empty belly growling as you gaze at the lavish feast laid out within - so tempting, but forever out of reach. It's just that where Risen is concerned the feast is a deep and rewarding RPG, and the window is made of horrible graphics, opaque design and clumsy combat.

The latest effort from German developer Piranha Bytes, it finds you washed ashore on the mysterious volcanic island of Faranga, beginning your adventure with just rags on your back and a stick in your hand. The land is blighted by mysterious ruins that have erupted from the Earth, spewing monsters like cut-price Oblivion Gates. This leads to a social schism between idealistic bandits living in the swamp and the religious fervour of the Inquisition. Both are plundering the ruins for gold and artefacts, as well as warring with each other, and you can work for either faction, if you're able to win their favour. It's about as generic as RPG world-building gets, and you're stymied from the start by a game engine that feels half-finished, making these initial forays into Risen's gloomy medieval world an exercise in frustration and disappointment.

Playable only in third-person perspective, movement is jerky and imprecise while the camera's twitchy lurching responses lead to motion sickness as you whirl around trying to work out which way to go in environments that too often lack distinguishing features. Combat is basic and graceless, a simple matter of bashing the A button to attack the giant sea vultures, gnomes and wolves that populate the area. The game employs a vague lock-on system that automatically kicks in when an enemy is up close and directly in front of you, but it apparently can't be arsed keeping tabs on an enemy should they suddenly feint around to flank you, which is, of course, precisely when a lock-on is most necessary.

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Piranha Bytes offers details  on 

Piranha Bytes offers details on "RPB"

Gothic dev fills blanks on next game.

Deep Silver has offered plenty more details on "RPB", the next game from Gothic developer Piranha Bytes.

This will be set in a fictional medieval volcanic island and be based on real-life, with no orcs or elves or dwarves in sight. You arrive on the island at the start of the adventure and open up other areas in a linear fashion as you go.

Graphically we're told "RPB" - an acronym combining "role-playing game" and "Piranha Bytes" while a proper name is decided on - will appear "dirty and used". There will be humorous characters to chat to, plus lots of realistic weather effects and varying locations to see, both overland and underground.

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