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The latest Producer’s Letter for Visionary Realms’ upcoming party-focused MMORPG Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen shares a fairly detailed recap of the game’s journey so far before letting us know that the developers are ready to kick off the fifth phase of the game's Pre-Alpha that should then result in a more or less stable and complete Alpha launch.
There’s a lot of information there, so here’s just a couple of snippets and you take things from there:
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRE-ALPHA 5
And this brings us to Pre-Alpha 5, the current stage of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. PA5 is an incredibly significant stage of development in many ways. We are now working from the solid foundation of a well-architectured game client, and more comprehensive, efficient pipelines due to the work done during Project Faerthale.
Pre-Alpha 5 is the culmination of Project Faerthale. By the end of PA5, the game will encompass the actual feel of Pantheon. It includes most systems (there is still a chance that we may need to hold off on some systems for this stage, depending on timing and resources) and it will include a full progression path from 1-50. Even though we want PA5 to offer a full adventuring gameplay experience for Pantheon, it is still a pre-alpha phase. It is not content-complete and all zones outside of big sections of Faerthale are in a grayboxed state. Previously-seen zones like Thronefast and Avendyr’s Pass have been redone to graybox spec to allow for the proper pipeline and optimization.
Secondly, this experience is needed so it can be shared with potential partners. Publishers and investors need to see what Pantheon is, how it plays, what it’s all about. Several parties are interested in the concept, and now we need to show them that it’s a reality. We are, and always will be eternally grateful for the kindness and generosity of the community and our early investors in getting us this far, but we’re going to need more resources to get Pantheon done sooner than our modest team can realistically do by themselves in a reasonable timeframe. PA5 serves as a testing area for this evaluation build. Testers help in putting the best possible experience in the hands of the people who can accelerate development the most.
Lastly, PA5 lays the foundation for Alpha. Sure, it’s grayboxed and not art-complete, but the PA tester’s feedback at this stage directly affects the experience of the Alpha testers coming in. And there are lots coming, so we want to make sure they have a complete experience to test.
Now, onto Alpha. We do not have these dates yet as there are a lot of systems and content to test in PA5 and PA5 will last “as long as it takes.” We certainly are not going to spend years in PA5, but we will spend the time we need to get the game in a state where it is a playable, enjoyable game that covers a full progression path from 1-50. We are actively taking steps to improve our communication with you, so please know that when we are nearing the completion of PA5 we will make it abundantly clear. In the meantime, even if you are not a pre-alpha tester, we will be sharing the progress with you routinely.
We say it a lot, but we can’t say it enough: Thank you all once again for your support. We are a small team without the kind of funding that some other studios are able to start with. Only through your continued support have we been able to get to this point. This is as much your game as it is ours. We are all in this together, and thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
We know that there has been a great deal of confusion around Project Faerthale and Pre-Alpha 5. We did a poor job at communicating the nuances, and the amount of work that was needed to get us into the workable state we are in now which left you in a long period of wondering what was going on. We can’t undo that, but we want to do better going forward. So our deepest and sincerest thank-you to those of you who stuck through it. And to those of you whose belief in us has wavered, we hope through our actions we can earn your confidence again. We’re crazy excited about where we are now – amazing things are ahead, and we want to share this experience together. After all, taking the journey with friends, isn’t that what Pantheon is all about?
Project Producer, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen