Forgotten Fables: Wolves on the Westwind - Release Day

HiddenX

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The Dark Eye Adventure RPG Forgotten Fables: Wolves on the Westwind will be released today:

Forgotten Fables: Wolves on the Westwind



Forge your own path!
In the wake of rising tensions and dark omens manifesting across Aventuria, a powerful force long forgotten to the world is reawakening. On your way to the quiet Thorwalian town of Isleifsfell, you are swept up into a quest to destroy this evil before it can once again rain terror down on the North, binding you by trial and fate to the children of Isleifsfell's hetman, a mysterious elf and the ottajasko of the infamous Thorwalian raider, Orlvir Eiriksson; the Wolves on the Westwind. Your choices will lead you down the path to redemption or condemnation, so tread carefully.

Find your own story!
Featuring two different playable characters with their own skills and stories, you may choose your own path through this highly flexible visual novel with outstanding artwork, intuitive and easy-to-learn mechanics and a host of fascinating characters to meet along the way. Depending on your decisions, you will be accompanied by a group of different companions and face alternate endings, creating your own version of the expansive story.

Follow your own call!
Forgotten Fables - Wolves on the Westwind is a new, epic adventure taking place in the award-winning world of The Dark Eye RPG. Enriched by 40 years of continuous work on its lore and history, the world of The Dark eye is filled with adventure, mystery and intrigue. Visit the lands of Thorwal in the cold north of Aventuria and navigate your path on board one of the most feared raiders of the North and his crew of warriors. You will need to gain the crews respect and forge alliances on board in order to overcome not only your adversary, but also your own worst fears.

Discover the world of The Dark Eye!
For over 38 years, the most successful German fantasy role-playing game system has inspired thousands of players. Get to know the rules of The Dark Eye and plunge into adventure with your friends. With these RPG rules you can become a brave knight, elven ranger or learned magician and discover with your companions the Middle Kingdom weakened by many wars, the exotic lands of the Tulamides, the steaming jungles of the south or the dark shadow lands.
More information.
 

Arhu

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Interesting!

This seems to be the first game in a planned series of new Dark Eye games. The developers want to build up experience before they do a proper RPG. I found an article on Gamestar.de about the long-term plans of Jan Wagner from Ulisses Digital:
The Visual Novel: Already in May 2022, a new DSA "game", Wolves of the Westwind, will be released on Steam. Only this is a visual novel, with very little RPG content. It's about a story to read and with beautiful pictures. Things that Ulisses is already good at, without too much financial risk.

An Action Game: The next project will be a standard action game that the studio can try their hand at. However, without a DSA license. Because according to Wagner, there are only "a few shots available" for this brand, which is beloved by fans, and they should fit.

A first role-playing game: What has been learned is then to be implemented in another game, which this time will actually be a role-playing game. But again without a DSA license, instead another Pen&Paper work will be used: Hexxen 1733.

The new DSA RPG: And when all these points have been checked off, the staff has been increased and trained, and hopefully the financing and the international reputation of the studio are at a good point, then a new DSA role-playing game is to be created, with a reasonable production effort.

Source (German), automatic translation with DeepL


Edit: Ah, this was already reported on May 6th. Anyway, I guess I'll go ahead and get it, in part to support the vision.
 
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Gorath

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Edit: Ah, this was already reported on May 6th. Anyway, I guess I'll go ahead and get it, in part to support the vision.

Since all the unfortunate game projects by Mr Wagner have been listed in the other thread, of course without mentioning the memorable ones, let me show the other side of the coin here. ;)

Wagner was involved in one capacity or the other in pretty much every good game JoWooD ever released. Either directly or indirectly through his own production company Cliffhanger Productions. Gothic 2 and Spellforce 2 are the obvious games, but Gothic 3 too.
Cliffhanger produced almost every Piranha Bytes game since Gothic 2.

His Shadowrun game failed and his own studio went belly up. Both due to bad decisions, over-ambition and a later-announced competing product by the brand creator (!). According to Wagner it took a couple of years, but every single EUR his company owed was paid back.

His new companies - isolated for security reasons, I guess - operated with very small teams and skin tight budgets. They've created the Jagged Alliance board game for example. And some VR games. Small projects, limited scope.

Their latest game relevant for us was a clear critical success, and I guess it also sold better than expected, given it received 3 add-on / stand-alone / DLC things and console conversions. The word of mouth for Fantasy General 2 is very good, even from people who played the SSI original.
The game is in a brand new bundle at Fanatical for 5$ or so.
 
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Gorath

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The business side of the long term project sounds a bit like a marketing construct to me. It sure sounds good.

Ulisses as a decades old print and pen&paper publisher didn't have a digital business unit until early 2021.
Then they hired a veteran producer with marketing / product management, design and studio head experience to lead the new unit. Part time. ;)
Ulisses has been granted government funding for 3 projects. Compare to the list in Arhu's post.

  • Hexxen 1733: Morgenstern / Strategie-/Rollenspiel
    1,07 909.202 Euro
  • Die Schwarze Katze / Action-Adventure
    471.340 Euro
  • Westwind: Forgotten Fables / Rollenspiel
    238.205 Euro
I guess things are looking good for the first 3 games. ;)
Budget, size and ambition should triple with each game, Wagner told Gameswirtschaft.de. The projects wouldn't have been green-lit without the partial government funding.

His studio Owned by Gravity (co-?)developed Westwind. The most expensive project would be ideal for them because thanks to Fantasy General 2 the tech for it should be already in good shape.
The article linked in the other paragraph mentions that Owned by Gravity "coordinates [...] an intentionally young team [...]". That's a bit strange. Why build a new team, coordinated by a team with several shipped titles? The most natural thing would be to do all development at Owned by Gravity, with publishing & marketing help plus co-producing provided by Ulisses Digital.
 

Darkheart

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Thanks for the write-up, Gorath! Because of this and because it is a Dark Eye game, I will get it right now. Hope it helps us in getting a new real RPG (turn-based obviously) in the universe some day.
 

daveyd

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I don't have much interest in pure visual novels, but I'd really love to play another cRPG based on DSA. If Drakensang: River of Time had Blackguards combat system it'd be one of my favorite games.

I should probably give Realms of Arkania a shot, but I don't know how playable I'd find the originals nowadays and I heard the HD remakes were a buggy mess.
 

Gorath

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Hah. ;) Why do you know so much?

DevPlay channel on YouTube. He was quite open when topics like "Why do games fail?" or "Developer bankruptcy" were discussed.


Here's a video with Jan Wagner. 1 hour about Ulisses' digital strategy and projects in development as of Oct. 2021.



German language. Watch it on YT for a detailed table of content and pretty solid generated English captions.
 

DR490N

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The word of mouth for Fantasy General 2 is very good, even from people who played the SSI original.
The game is in a brand new bundle at Fanatical for 5$ or so.

Thanks for the tip ! (I don't know why, but isthereanydeal did not notify me)
 

Farflame

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Wagner was involved in one capacity or the other in pretty much every good game JoWooD ever released. Either directly or indirectly through his own production company Cliffhanger Productions. Gothic 2 and Spellforce 2 are the obvious games, but Gothic 3 too.
Cliffhanger produced almost every Piranha Bytes game since Gothic 2.

His Shadowrun game was also pretty faithful to the original ruleset from what I heard. So its good sign for us.

Government funding is common thing in Germany. Much bigger studios got it for much more mainstream projects that shouldnt need it.

Their plan to slowly grow makes sense. But Im not sure if this visual novel really helps because it seems it will be niche within niche. But there are already some good reviews.
Their second game is action adventure from cat world, something like Ghost of a Tale - that could be pretty solid niche or fail without proper PR.

Their third game, Hexxen RPG, will be probably crucial for success of their plan. It has some elements of Greedfall (mainly visual, weaponry etc) so I hope they will learn from successfull Spiders' RPG.
 

Gorath

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Government funding is common thing in Germany. Much bigger studios got it for much more mainstream projects that shouldnt need it.
Not really. Other countries have done it for decades while Germany only started it 5 years ago. 50M per year isn't much. I think Ubi alone got more when they've opened their last giant studio in Canada.
Before that there was a bit of state funding, but nothing on country level.
It's not about team size, it's about development money spent in Germany. More money spent creates jobs.
The bigger players like Ubi or THQ use it to reduce the risk. As you said, they wouldn't need the money.

Their plan to slowly grow makes sense. But Im not sure if this visual novel really helps because it seems it will be niche within niche. But there are already some good reviews.
Wagner explains it in the video. These authority behind the governemt funding checks whether or not you can be reasonably be expected to actually ship the product. A smaller shipped product with solid reviews helps convince them.
He also said they already built two teams as of Oct. 2021. A mixed team (Ulisses digital + Owned by Gravity) for the visual novel and a new team for the action adventure. The RPG-Strategy mix wasn't on the table then.
 

bjon045

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I had no idea this was so far long ago. It does give me a lot more confidence that we might get the full blown game now that I have read what Gorath has said as well. Here's hoping.
 

Couchpotato

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Me to but the next two or three games in the plan need to be successful. Also please don't let it be another mediocre RPG like Demonicon, or another Tactical TB RPG.
 
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