After 5.5 years of development we are very excited to announce the Legends of Eisenwald release date! It will be available July 2 2015 (a few friends told us a year is a must here given our history).
We want to say thank you to all of you for making this possible! Without your support and without gamers who bought our game in Early Access this game might not have materialized.
We are also very happy to present you a cinematic video that we released today to celebrate the announcement.
The history of making this video dates all the way back to 2012 when we were in the middle of our Kickstarter campaign. Our technical director and main visionary Nikolay Armonik thought that making a cinematic video was bound to attract a lot of attention to our campaign. He started working a lot and created a draft of the video but the scope of it was too much for our small team to handle, especially since this is not our profession. Ressa, our composer, composed a beautiful track and recorded a song based on Nikolay’s poem. The draft remained and we kept hoping we would finish it. Last spring we found an animation studio in Spain, Digital Mind (dgmind.com) and they were really excited to help us out. All characters in this video and many of the models and animations are from in-game assets. Fortunately for us, the folks at Digital Mind were able to use our assets which significantly lowered production costs.
As we move closer to the release, we will post a few more updates about physical reward deliveries and other logistical issues.
Thank you for your patience as development took way longer than we expected but incredibly happy to bring the game to completion. Please accept our deepest apologies for this tremendous delay but we hope you will enjoy the game and you will experience the game exactly the way you envisioned it when you backed our project three years ago.
a lot of time has passed since our last update here but today we are happy to tell we released a major patch that brings in first SFX in form of floating HP numbers and effects. Other special effects are being worked on as well as we continue to work on bug fixing, polishing texts and many other small things. Here are the full details of the patch.
We locked the texts for English and Russian. We might do minor editing if we find any typos. Other languages are a little behind but both French and German will be finished soon too.
We are playtesting right now personalization of characters. Each one will get a name and some characters will also get a nickname. One thing that we are trying to see if it works is to give characters random attributes, some like HP are now varying from -3 to +6. In order not to rebalance a game, we think to make the attribute randomness an option to select at the start of a scenario or a campaign, otherwise in an unlucky case it might create quite a bit of difficulty in advancing if the randomness turns against a player. What do you think about it? Please let us know your thoughts in comments.
A few previews came out and we would like to share with you two recent ones.
Here is a recent RPG Codex Re-Preview, the old one is from 2012, so we asked them if they could write a new one and being true bros they did it. We are also no on their Steam curation list. We thank them very much! The preview is generally positive but a few difficulties the author had might have been a consequence of him relying on peasants in his army. That can make playing rather tough indeed.
PC Gamer published a preview too and while the author found issues with the game it's still a very positive development for us. A few things are a little controversial and edgy like saying Legends of Eisenwald is not even an RPG :) Or the phrase that our game is "the Euro Truck Simulator of fantasy RPGs". But he got more than dozen of hours and is "actually looking forward to more". We think and hope that when the game is more polished, it might be received better. Interestingly, two of the issues mentioned in this preview were fixed in today's patch. We take it as an indication that we are on the right track.
In the recent weeks we’ve been answering many questions about the state of the game. If we achieved our stretch goals, etc. In this update we would like to respond to some of these questions.
We are happy to tell you that both stretch goals you chose to back during our campaign via the vote has been implemented fully.
The first goal was the improved storyline. Victor did an amazing job creating a coherent, interesting and non-linear story. Even those of us who knew the details were very impressed when we played it all the way to the end for the first time (it was in December). It has really paid off to make him our full time writer. We are also lucky that Joel Martin is doing an equally amazing job adapting the story into English. We are now finishing the English version by removing typos, mistakes and adding a few missing things in our closed beta. By the way, the sign up for the closed beta is still open.
The second goal was to make a pack of story characters and unique bosses. We won’t give out details about this in order to avoid spoilers but it is done and tested. You won’t see all of them in a single playthrough because of the story’s nonlinearity.
Remember how we said we were looking for an additional budget for marketing and PR? We found it! And that allows us to go GDC and PAX East, it wouldn’t be possible without these extra funds.
Another piece of good news is that Legends of Eisenwald was selected as one of 15 games to be shown in Indie Megabooth at GDC in San Francisco! We are very happy about it and looking forward to this expo. Last year’s GDC didn’t work for us but we are hoping that being a part of the great Indie Megabooth will change a few things.
Also, we will be showing Legends of Eisenwald at PAX East in Boston. And we have a few free tickets left (PAX East is sold out). If you want to hang out with us for one of the three days at PAX you can sign up for a ticket in the comment section! There will just be two of us at the booth and we could use some help!
Yesterday we released a new patch that added 44 Steam achievements to the game. 16 of them are available in the first three chapters, and the others are in the closed beta content. A lot more was done including the changes to how gold is collected and finishing the assembly of the physical shaders.
today the English closed beta begins which one more step forward the release. We fixed a lot of things in the Russian test and now hoping to fix the rest in English including mostly logical and story errors and some typos. We plan to announce the release date when this English beta test is over.
We also added Steam Achievements and Trading Cards over a week ago. Achievements will be enhanced in the next few days, now there are only six of them. As for Trading Cards, we have nine of them and each one corresponds to the legend in the game. To avoid very minor spoilers, we will post here a background instead. Here is one you can get for your Steam profile when you craft a game badge:
This is the image from the pier in Windfeld, the capital of the Duchy of Eisenwald and a place from where the ships travel to other cities of the Holy Roman Empire.
Projects we back
We backed this project from our colleagues in Minsk called This Is the Police, this is the game that will help you to learn what is the life of a crooked cop. The voice from Duke Nukem is a good reason alone to watch a trailer of this strategy/adventure game in the making.
Old school, hardcore, space - sounds fun? If it is, take a look at this MMORPG called Nebula Online that is being developed by our friends from Ukraine. This game will use Buy Once Play Forever which is not your typical f2p or subscription model and it is something that we really like and want to support.
Remember we said a year ago: “This next year (2014) will be very important for us because that's the year when Legends of Eisenwald will be released”. Unfortunately, we were wrong once again with our estimations and we decided at about the middle of this year to not give any more exact dates or plans when we will release.
Having said all that, we have no other choice other than to release Legends of Eisenwald pretty soon. This time things look much better - the game is content ready, all eight chapters of the campaign are playable and there are currently over 20 people who finished the main story at least once in our closed beta (which is ongoing in Russian). Average playtime seems to be over 40 or even 50 hours, and everyone seemed to really like the story. The English beta will be starting in about two weeks, and the signup is here.
The beginning of 2014 was good, but the more we went towards the end of the year the harder it got. Denis had heart surgery done then crunch time to try and wrap up development but that didn’t go according to plan. One of the reasons is the brand new UI - and while the redesign didn’t take a lot of time, the reprogramming did (the UI code is now 25% of the entire game code, and more than half of it had to be programmed anew).
Closer to the end of the year the money was starting to get tight and for a moment we even considered running a 2nd Kickstarter campaign to raise some funds for marketing but decided against it. (We wouldn’t have done it without asking your opinion first anyway).
Why marketing? This needs a bit of an explanation.
This year of 2014 is a year where many things changed. While we were really happy with our launch on Early Access, Legends of Eisenwald was one of the last Early Access titles that got featuring on the main page. More and more games were released (in the first four months of 2014 more games were released than in the entirety of 2013). In order to attract more attention to our game we tried to participate in the summer sale but Steam didn’t get us any space on the front page. Then we were lucky to have a Daily Deal in August. We didn’t get a spot in Halloween or the Winter sale probably because our sales since the beginning of Summer were far from great. In a month or so I plan to write an article with a breakdown of our costs, units sold etc. In short, a few months at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 were the months we were doing alright. We didn’t raise our salaries or anything like that but we participated in two game expos - GDC Play and Igromir - and it was a mistake.
With all these changes, we are now trying to see what else can be done for the release. And that’s why we are thinking to get some funds for marketing. One might argue that if a game is good it will find its audience and there is no need for any paid marketing activities. But right now we disagree. To show Valve our game is good, it needs to sell better in order to have some visibility at the launch and while we have good hope for our PR activities, we feel some marketing would give us a bit more. The Legends of Eisenwald release will determine the future of our company. If it goes well, we can continue working on the game and add all the nice features we wanted to have and even more. And if not then it will be hard to predict what’s going to happen. We don’t want our game to be lost or go unnoticed. And we will use all necessary options to make our game survive.
And about doing sales - we want formally to ask you for forgiveness that we participated in a few. We wish we had enough funds to continue development without them but longer times require more funds. I wish we were like the Age of Decadence (a really good hardcore RPG by the way) developers, they have enough funds not to make sales during the Early Access phase of their project. That is not our situation unfortunately and we want to make up for this.
We’d like to offer all of you an extra key for the game if you feel the value of your pledge was diminished by these sales. PM us here on Kickstarter and we will send you one as soon as we can.
To conclude, we wish all Happy New Year, and we will release the game as soon as we can.