Many of you are probably wondering…what’s going on? What is episode 1? Why is this happening and where is the rest of the game?
After much, much, much…and much more deliberation we’ve decided to switch over to an episodic approach, for reasons we’ll do best to explain further:
As many of you have seen we’ve been doing our best to deliver what we hope is an awesome game. Unfortunately it’s also taken us much…much…much longer to do so. After almost x years, almost two complete re-designs, and a whole lot of bug bashing. We finally have something we’re happy enough to launch.
Before anything let’s breakdown the pricing & structure:
- All existing customers and kickstarter backers have already purchased the full game! This means you will have all 4 episodes. YOU WILL NOT NEED TO PURHCASE ANYTHING MORE! NEW EPISODES WILL BE ADDED FREE AS THEY ARE RELEASED.
- The original base content will be split into 4 episodes. Each being between 3-5 seasons (based on story)
- Episode 1 will include what has already been available for early access, with some extra bits thrown in, and as much polish & QA as we could throw at it. Therefore its as stable as we’re able to make it, and all the bits that were missing to complete the experience are now there.
- Although we have more content it’s been held back as it wasn’t QA’d properly yet, and the cliffhanger you’ll experience at the end of episode 1 well…its pretty awesome!
- Each episode will be 4.99 except the first episode which will be 16.99 (While the first episode only contains a fourth of the story, it does also contain the bulk of hte features. Each new episode will add a few new features and build on existing ones in addition to story, but the bulk of it is in episode 1)
The Episodic Approach
So let us explain what’s going on with the episodic approach. As mentioned previously, working on the game has taken considerably longer than planned. Much of it has been due to our Kickstarter backer and early access program.
While providing incredible amounts of insight and data, it has also acted as a double-edged sword. With valuable insight often comes the need to make adjustments. Especially if that feedback indicates that work needs to be redone.
In our commitment to try to create the best experience, we were unsatisfied with our inability to please our consumers and fans, and opted to continue working on the game till we did. Which we did (we think/hope).
Unfortunately this meant that everything would take longer and of course cost more, leaving us with a few issues:
- Having already completed and polished a good portion of the first part of our game we’ve seen a lot of fans trying to play thru this content and having issues due to our unfinished QA
- The extra time taking to re do & polish things is costing a lot more than we anticipated
So we decided that an episodic approach (at least for PC/Mac & Linux) would work best. This allows us to:
- Put a stamp of completion/guarantee on the already finished & polished content and make it available to fans who are itching to play, knowing their save files will be relatively safe.
- Give us the promotion and sales we need from people waiting for the game to be completed to help offset the added cost of extended development.
Being completely honest and transparent, getting to this point has left us in a financial pickle! We are exploring some further financing options, but there’s nothing like having good sales numbers to help things along! (And it’s particularly enticing for investors.)
I know for some of you it’s going to be disappointing, but we’ve been doing our best to keep the community informed, be regular with updates and so on, and we hope we’ve built up enough good will to show you all our commitment to delivering a truly fantastic experience.
But Gamedev is hard. It’s very hard, and all the more so when it’s a business. We hope you all enjoy what we have so far! And if you can afford it! Please get the full game package to get all 4 episodes (and to help us along!)
So how long will it take to get more content?
TLDR = most of the time was spent building features & tools. Most of the story was encoded in the last few months. Game is almost feature complete, except for some testing.
Only thing left is story encoding (and voice acting + localization), so unless we hit any major issues expect a couple of months between episodes. Less if we can earn enough to improve our hardware and get more encoders)
As part of the problems that arose in causing us to be so delayed was the need to build a content creation engine.
Typically in smaller games, a lot of dialogue and other interactive/story content are often hard coded into the game by the developers. Especially when small teams or individuals are working on something. We realized early on that this would not work, and we needed to have tools for our game designers to manipulate themselves. Although the engine we use has a lot of this capacity built in, it had to be tweaked, modified and extended.
Finally after almost a year of splitting the dev team between tools development & feature development it was done. From there it actually took the design team no more than 2-3 months to encode the first year of content. That includes a learning curve, re-do’s and adjustments to tools, and hardware issues.
This means that all that’s left to do, is QA features that were not included in the release due to time and the fact that they are not available in the released content and just sit and encode the script using said tools (of course we also have voice acting & localization planned but those will be free updates when available)
We hope you guys enjoy, looking forward to see what you think about the end of episode 1 – It’s a doozy!