With less than six months left until our planned release date we can see that we're behind schedule. We thought it best to communicate this now rather than later. We also want to reprioritise current development goals in a way that is more satisfying for you and easier to manage.
Rather than rush to release something incomplete or just keep you waiting we thought to release a prelude which only requires a subset of the game's functionality while we take our time completing features properly and fleshing out the game world. While quite different in scope from the final game this will still be a very enjoyable game in its own right. Besides building a small independent plot (which ties in with the world's lore) no work would go into this that isn't required for the main game and most of the team will be working on other aspects of the game anyway. What it will allow us to do is bring a number of core features to completion first and continue developing others and the world without trying to do everything at once.
We have a somewhat atypical development process in that rather than pile on playable content we develop large complex systems that can deliver content more efficiently and drive it more meaningfully. It's never as simple as add a new character, animation, dialogue or object; everything is part of big unified totality that must support all aspects and instances of those things. We've seen how this can be frustrating for our backers because until these systems are complete there's not much to see. This is fundamental to our design though, we want everything to be playable and interactive in many ways, not just one; we want a reactive and dynamic world that feels real, where there's depth and substance to everything, not just surface. We also believe this is a good strategy for a small team like us working on a project of this scale, our limited resources don't really allow for a more brute force approach.
Much of what we're aiming for is very ambitious and without many precedents but we've been consitently achieving the ambitious goals we set for ourselves. What we weren't prepared for when we set our release date is the difficulties we would encounter in the Kickstarter campaign and the level of quality people were demanding on every front. We assumed that as an indie team trying to do things differently some things would be forgiven. This critical response has driven us to achieve higher quality standards than we were originally aiming for and this has been very time consuming. This is obviously just a natural result of not developing a game behind closed doors but opening ourselves to frequent feedback. We weren't prepared for this and we've probably been putting too much effort into pleasing all our fans. When you want more and better we wholeheartedly agree, this for us is the game, not just a game. As we've said before, our intent has always been to deliver a game and then continue to improve it and expand it after release, providing these improvements and new content as free updates. Many of these improvements have taken a higher priority than anticipated. Sometimes it has been counterproductive to make premature improvements to unfinished things but often feedback has led us to significantly upgrade important features that would have been difficult to change later.
Our current goal is to complete a playable version of this prelude and release it to our alpha level backers. We've come up with a simple design that should give it great replayability and make it a good platform to experience and test many aspects of the game. Keeping it separated from the bulk of the main game content should also provide an unspoiled and more exciting experience when it is released. Also planned for this prelude is the ability to duel your friends on LAN with characters you build in the single player experience. The prelude will be set in the underworld and some years before the full game's plot takes place. It will be story driven but without the more dynamic event system and NPC interaction which we are still developing.
We're going to take our first and only holiday over Christmas to visit friends and family and we plan to release an alpha version of the prelude in February. As we continue work on the main game we will also be adding completed features to the prelude. More complete versions of the prelude will be released to beta and then all backers more or less in line with our original release date plan.
We hope that you can forgive us for this delay and that you know we are fully committed to making this game as good as it can possibly be.