I’m happy to announce that you will get to play Darkwood on Steam early access in June!
There have been rumours circulating that this might happen in May… Which actually was our plan (and kudos to whoever found out the previously intended launch date!), but due to the recent not-so-cool things happening around early access on Steam, we want to polish it up a bit more.
The precise date is still unknown, but we’ll let you know as soon as we’re 100% sure!
In the meantime, we’re finishing up the build for the Indie Basement competition, which will be held during Pixel Heaven in Warsaw at the end of May. If we get accepted to the finals, you will be able to play Darkwood at the event! 😀
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! We’re more than happy to announce that a year after our crowdfunding campaign, Darkwood is coming to Steam Early Access! To celebrate, we’ve prepared a teaser showing a glimpse of what’s to come in the near future.
If you have any questions, check out the FAQ section! The Steam store page also has a lot of new info!
You better prepare your old sleeping bag, tent and 12 gauge sawed off shotgun… because the trip to Darkwood is very very near !
Phew! The last month was probably the hardest part of Darkwood’s development to date.
A few days ago we completed the documentation of Darkwood’s world. It was not only a hard task, but a necessary one to continue the project. Now we know more than ever about the world, characters, religion and lore, and our world begins to live… and kill with more style than ever. Some things took longer than they normally would have – partly because we are a young team, partly because of our democratic creative process.
Darkwood is changing. Not drastically, but it is changing, and we believe we should inform you about this. After many prototypes, gazillion hours of talking, and plenty of tests, we had to change Darkwood’s direction a bit. We went back to the drawing board with features like permadeath, skills and the overall pacing of the game, did some prototyping – and voila! Darkwood is now better than ever.
The devil is in the details – and the details make or break the game. The features that we hold very dear: meaningful choices and consequences and storytelling collided with roguelike elements, so we decided to minimize them. We resigned from permadeath and our previous skills and perks system, in favour of other consequences upon your character’s death. This lets us put much more focus on the story, characters and unique encounters. Random generation is still in though, so you can expect a different world to explore each time you start a new game.
UPDATE: To clarify, permadeath will most probably be left in as an option for the most hardcore of players. The fact that your character’s death is not permanent, doesn’t mean that your choices can’t be! Every decision you make during gameplay is final, there are no savegames you can load to undo a “bad” decision (only continuing from where you left off).
UPDATE 2: Skills and perks are left untouched (although balanced differently). The way you gain them is simply different than the previous way, where you were forced to choose from a few skills which were randomized for you. Now you have full control over them.
These changes ignited very long and heated debates among us and required a ton of work to be done, but we’re positive that Darkwood is now a better game for it!
Darkwood is coming, and it’s coming fast. All shall be revealed this month.
PS Kuba, one of the Acid Wizards, has a birthday today!
Today we’re gonna talk about a question that was on our minds for a long time: how do we combine permadeath with a strong narrative in Darkwood? I mean, won’t it be boring when you die for the 312th time and have to talk with the same characters, listen to their stories again and again and do the same old fetch quests? Won’t it be frustrating to lose all your progress after dying and to have to do everything all over again?
After long discussions, brainstorms and hours of talks, we found a solution:
First, implement organic choices that have meaningful consequences.
What do I mean by “organic”, you ask? Let’s say you meet a madman, who explains to you that he is building a rocket in which he intends to travel to the moon. But he needs rare, hard to find parts to do so. You can choose to help him out and bring him the parts, sabotage his creation and give him faulty parts… or simply kill him. Not choosing is also a choice by itself – ignoring his request might also have consequences.
These choices might not present themselves as simply A B C D dialogue options, but can also manifest themselves in the gameplay itself. Some of them will be well hidden and require knowledge you did not possess in a previous playthrough. Sometimes, you might even unknowingly do something that will dramatically alter someone else’s life.
The other choices you make relate to the gameplay itself. Should you, or should not, go to that creepy old house? Will you have enough fuel to keep the lights on for the night? Should you try to survive the night outside or inside the house? Should you kill a man on sight, or take a chance and see who he is?
Almost every risk earns you a reward. Almost every reward comes with a risk. It is a natural system that many of us fell in love with while playing games like Dark Souls.
Just know one thing. Your choices will matter. Some of the consequences of these choices will be visible almost immediately, while others will be relevant throughout the entire game.
Second, add multiple layers of complexity to the narrative, puzzles and characters, who have their own, sometimes very different version of truth than you or the other inhabitants of Darkwood. Think of a movie you saw that made your jaw drop, but you didn’t fully understand it. You go online, check some forums, read reviews, maybe post some stuff yourself. You watch it again, and armed with new knowledge, you begin to discover things that you weren’t able to see before, making watching the movie a whole new experience. This is what we’re aiming for in Darkwood.
Third, divide Darkwood into chapters. When you die, you can start over from the same chapter, instead of the whole game. The choices you made in the previous chapters are saved. There is something you have to be careful of, though – you have a limited number of “lives” at your disposal. If you lose all of them… Then it’s game over for you.
However death is not the end in Darkwood. It’s an opportunity to discover something new about it’s world.
About it’s characters, tragedies, secrets.
Fear the man of one truth. Don’t let yourself become one.