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It’s quite common for crowdfunded games to miss their initial launch dates. After all, they tend to be announced during the early stages of development when it can be hard to properly gauge the full scope of a project, not to mention all the unexpected issues that have a tendency to pop up along the way.
And, according to this project update for SKALD: Against the Black Priory, that particular old-school RPG is no exception. Instead of launching later this year, SKALD will be going into early access sometime this fall, with the full release pushed back to “the first half of 2021.”
Here’s more on that, along with some information regarding the game’s recently overhauled combat system:
Hello there SKALD fans and friends!
After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to pivot from a September full launch to an “Early Access” launch late fall of 2020.
What does that mean?
“Early Access” (EA) is a type of distribution where customers buy access to a pre-release version of a game. For SKALD, this means that Steam-users (for starters) will be able to buy access to the SKALD Beta sometime in the fall of 2020.
Backers will of course receive these keys as part of their rewards as soon as we go live. Until then, closed Beta will continue for backers.
The plan is to finish the game’s narrative critical path before the EA release. This means that the game should be about 75% content complete in terms of content but still quite rough around the edges.
The plan is for the complete game to launch fully in the first half of 2021.
For those of you who backed the game on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, this means that reward fulfillment will be postponed until we get closer to the full release.
The plan initially was to accept a product that was a little rough around the edges upon release and then do post-release patches and content additions.
After talking to marketing-professionals and fellow game-designers I’ve realized that it is much healthier for the project to instead brand the “release” as Early Access. This clearly communicates my intentions and the state of the project.
The decision has also been expedited by the fact that the project is behind the initial schedule in terms of play-testing. The delay is partially due to current world events (enough said), partially because the demo->feedback->update cycle has been slower than expected and partially because an influx of money has allowed us to aim for a higher narrative ambition and great writing takes time.
No cause for alarm
Though the schedule now looks slightly different, the project is very healthy:
All in all, this is the best for the project and I’m counting on the continued support and understanding of the community to help make SKALD an AWESOME game.
- It is very well funded and I don’t have any reason to rush a launch for financial gain
- Early Access will bring more play-testers which, in turn, will lead to a much more polished end-product
- A less rushed launch will give us more time to create side-content and result in more fleshed-out world
Believe me: Development is proceeding as fast as it is humanly possible and I’m super excited for the finished product!
I’m releasing an updated Beta-demo for backers in the next month or so. The demo is a bit delayed, but there is a good reason for this: Each Beta-demo at this stage will potentially corrupt save data. This means that currently, each demo-launch may force a restart and this will cause tester fatigue pretty fast. Since I rely on your feedback, I’d rather you have a bit more content to explore once you sit down with the demo.
Speaking of demo, I’ve made a pretty big change to the basic design of the game:
Combat is now grid-based.
I’ve been going back and forth on this for a long time now and I don’t make changes like this lightly. However, the old system lacked a bit of the expressiveness and transparency I wanted for SKALD and working with it was too limiting. Being someone who plays the game EVERY day I can say the new combat system is a lot of fun. I can’t wait to really start fleshing out more feats and spells that interact with the physicality of the battlefield.
It’s back to work for me! I really hope you’ll stay pumped for SKALD and I can’t wait to bring you more sweet content throughout the summer and fall.
If you haven’t already, I wrote two game-design articles a while back and you might want to check them out if you’re interested in the subject:
Intrinsic Motivation in Open Worlds
Tests in Roleplaying Games
Beyond that I’d like to wish you all a great summer! As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter or join the SKALD Discord “game development” sub-channel !