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E3 2016 Part Two

E3 2016 Part Two

E3 2016 Part Two

Ray has a look at Daedalic’s Long Journey Home; State of Mind; Pillars of the Earth and The Devil’s Men, and goes on an Anti-VR Rant


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A Visit with Daedalic

German studio Daedalic has been busy as usual. The studio that developed the Deponia series and published 1954: Alcatraz has more adventure coming, as we’ll see below. But the first game they showed me was an ambitious strategy / RPG hybrid called Long Journey Home.

Long Journey Home

Long Journey Home is a procedurally-generated space exploration RPG. Whenever you start a new game, you choose four of ten possible team members – each with a specific set of skills – and the game uses a fraction of the total number of available alien races. You also have a choice of what space ship to use. These variables make each game experience different.

The plot of the game is simple: Your team is making the first “light jump” across space, and something goes terribly wrong. You’re stranded on the wrong side of the galaxy, and you’re trying to get home.

Everything about the game is procedurally generated, even the quests. This is done by breaking down quests into modular story parts that can get randomly strung together. (I’ll have to see how this works in practice, because I’ve found in RPGs that work this way, the quests can all feel a bit generic.)

The characters are handled in an interesting way for an RPG. Their stats are invisible, evidently. You learn about them by how they react to things. For instance, say you recover an artifact from a planet. You’ll learn about the skills and abilities of your characters by their specific reactions to the item. It’s an idea that has potential.

You create each new game by using a code and this code is shareable with your friends, so they can have the same “galaxy” that you have if they like.

In the game, you get to survey planets, extracting resources and artifacts. You also get to interact with a variety of alien races. These encounters can be friendly or violent, depending on your choices.

Adding to the visual allure of the game are Hubble assets, giving the game a truly cosmic look.

The game is expected at the end of this year for PC, and sometime next year for PS4 and XBox One.

State of Mind

Daedalic is also developing State of Mind, a third-person point-and-click adventure game about transhumanism.

Inspired by The Matrix and Todd Williamson’s Otherland series of novels2, State of Mind takes place in Berlin in 2048. The lead character is a troubled young family man named Richard. He lives in a world with more government surveillance and dwindling resources. In his society many people escape to a better virtual life in an online simulated world called City 5. When Richard’s family disappears, he is forced to work with his online avatar to try to save them. The twist is that something strange happens and he and his online persona – a guy named Adam – become two separate individuals and have to find a way to work together.

The demo I saw of the game was still an alpha build. The graphics have nice style but technically look a bit basic. I look forward to the exploration element of the game – evidently large portions of Berlin are open to you! We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this cyber detective story and keep you posted.

Pillars of the Earth

Yeah, you read right. I don’t have any visuals to share with you, but Daedalic has scored quite a coup: They will be making a trio of adventure games based on Ken Follett’s wildly popular 1989 novel. That’s about all I can tell you right now… because that’s about all they told me. But, wow, cool news, right?

The Devil’s Men

Two years ago Daedalic showed me a very promising, ambitious adventure game called The Devil’s Men. Then it kind of disappeared from the radar. I was very happy to learn that, while delayed due to a change in game engine, the game IS still on the way. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more!


Okay. VR has been creeping into E3 for the last several years now, but this is the first year that it’s so pervasive that I really felt that if I didn’t love VR, I was a bad person. A cranky, old, unhip, bad person.


Judge me if you must, but I am SO not enchanted with VR. To me it’s an expensive – VERY expensive – gimmick. How expensive? Well, let’s just price a few of the pieces of juicy VR hardware out there:

Oculus Rift $599-$825

HTC Vive $799

Sony Playstation VR $399

Microsoft Hololens $3,000

And let’s not forget the super cool VR peripherals: The Unlimited Hand, the 3D Rudder, the Reactive Grip Motion Controller, etc. Hope you’ve got some room on the credit card!

Are there that many gamers who can afford this stuff? Is the market really there?

Of course, there are a few cheaper options.

Samsung Gear VR (requires a Samsung Galaxy smart phone) $99

Google Cardboard $12.992


So, aside from the price, what else don’t I like about VR gaming? Well, there’s the dizziness and the vertigo and the uncomfortable headsets that don’t really play well with glasses. There’s the muddy, grainy graphics I keep seeing.

But most of all, and it feels like heresy to write this: I just do not need that level of “immersion.” Sitting on my comfy Sharper Image massage chair in front me my big-screen TV with good speakers is plenty immersive enough, for me, thanks.

But at E3 2016 the vibe seemed to be: “We assume the only way you ever want to game ever again is with VR.” I’m serious. There was a VR Final Fantasy experience, for pity’s sake.

I was eating lunch with a bunch of other folks at the show and I brought the topic up. In my defense, they were vociferous in affirming that my opinion wasn’t unusual, it wasn’t about my age, and that they weren’t pining for VR anyway.


“It’s just a fad,” said one of them.

At first you might be tempted to think so. But let’s not forget what Mark Zuckerberg paid for the Oculus Rift: two billion dollars. For that kind of investment, he’s not going to let it go until me makes us love it.

I wish it was just going to be a fad. Maybe the modern version of FMV games. Remember those?3 They were huge for a couple of years. And then they weren’t.

I recently did an Escape Room which contained a brief VR component that was very effective. But it lasted only about three minutes. It was added spice, not the entire experience.

I also think VR will be very effective in its non-gaming applications: Training bomb diffusers or surgeons or firefighters.


Or porn. I’m all for the arrival of soft-and even hard-core porn in the VR format. Why not? Porn is what built the Internet. Why shouldn’t it build the VR market?

In fact, virtual poontang was at E3 this year! Sadly, though, their market is strictly for straight men for now. They promised me that material for straight women and the LGBT audience was coming.

Coming Up

In our final E3 Report we’ll have face time with the return of one of the most beloved adventure series ever! Plus more stupid pictures of Ray.

1Which I highly recommend, by the way
2Not a joke, I promise
3I actually loved them

Ray Ivey

Ray Ivey

A gaming freakazoid, Ray enjoys games on all platforms. Also loves board games, mind games, and all puzzles. Co-wrote the Entertainment Tonight trivia game and designed puzzles for two Law & Order PC games. Also a movie freak, bookworm, and travel bug. Thinks games of all kinds are a highly underappreciated force for social good, not to mention mental and psychological health.   Ray's favorite adventures include the "Broken Sword" and "Journeyman Project" franchises, "The Dark Eye," "The Feeble Files," "Sanitarium," "Limbo," "Machinarium," "Riven," "The Neverhood," and "Azrael's Tear." His favorite non-adventures include the "Thief," "Uncharted," and "Ratchet & Clank" franchises, all of the Bioware RPGs, Skyrim, and Final Fantasy XII.   Ray writes about the movies for the Bryan/College Station Daily Eagle, which is the old-fashioned thing called a "newspaper." He's been on eight game shows. He's taught in seven countries and has visited twenty-one. His favorite classic movie star is Barbara Stanwyck and his favorite novel is "The Hotel New Hampshire" by John Irving.

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