First of all, many apologies for the last month update skip.
A few crucial things have happened in the last couple of months and some very important decisions have been made as well as we'll try and explain.
1. Additional Funding Acquired
This has been lurking over the dev team for almost a year now and with the scope of the game having expanded quite a bit since the end of Kickstarter both in terms of scale and depth, we knew we had to find additional resources to finance the project at some point.
That point has come and after months of discussions, negotiations, term agreements, paperwork and so on, we've finally secured additional funding (amount we can't disclose right now) which basically means we can finally just make what we'd like to make without having to worry about whether a certain feature is "worthwhile" or limited by pipeline issues. We believe everything is worthwhile since we know some of you will enjoy it and appreciate it.
So money issues are completely gone for the time being and our mind and soul is replenished with creativity once again.
2. UE4 Pipeline Hurdles
On the dev side, there have been a few fundamental issues mostly related to creating and polishing the quality of all character movements in UE4.
We've been looking into these issues (such as use of root motion and mirroring animations) for some time and the great guys at Epic have also been very supportive in trying to resolve this with us. Although we can simply do away with this like many other games but with our minimalistic concept, fluent, seamless motion details are crucial and we needed to perfect this at whatever the cost.
Fortunately we were able to find a solution by creating our own new set of pipelines in the asset preparation process so hopefully things will be smooth sailing for a while.
3. New Recruits!
With additional funds secured and pipeline sorted out, we've managed to take on board additional team members to really start grinding.
We've taken on 6 additional talents - 2 modelers, 1 animator, 1 support artist and 2 UE4 programmers. That brings our team to a total of 12 now and we'll be keeping it that way until our main build.
We have received many applications from abroad but in the end, the distance and time barrier was hard to overcome and until we are in a position to open up office in the U.S. or perhaps somewhere in Europe, at the moment, we don't think remote working and communications will cut the cake. Although we'd like to bring talent over here, we're just not that well off yet :)
All our new members will start their 1st day during next month so we really anticipating to pick up greater momentum and energy as well as added creativity.
4. New Project Milestones
We are aware that many backers are rightly curious as to the release date and so I guess it's our duty to share with you at least our new set of milestones.
As many of you have assumed and inquired already, the original expected release date which we noted at the start of our KS campaign was um.... now :) To explain simply, like many other who have come before us, we just had to put something up based on very rough "gut" estimates on the basic game features we had in mind.
With design depth and scope being continuously evolved, new, better ideas emerging, asset management issues arising, pipeline changes being made and so forth, we are now very much more confident in announcing a more realistic schedule.
Key milestones are as follows:
- Feb 2017 - Main build (all core key features)
- Mar 2017 - GDC
- Jun 2017 - E3
- End 2017 - Full Build (World build)
- 2018 - Early access, QA, localization, release
Early access timings will need to be announced based on the level of standard achieved during the full build and in reality, release dates will need to be decided with publishers and platforms.
We're still hoping for a concurrent platform release but according to many advice from professional experience, that's going to be tough with differing QA processes and interests. At the very least, we are targeting PC (Steam, GOG etc.) + a console or minimal release time gaps among the other platforms.
This is also the actual general milestone we have obliged by and bound to our new investment company so schedule management is "also" a top priority - second to product quality of course :)
We know many have optimistically hoped for a much sooner release and we apologize for having to announce this now but we've just managed to sort everything out over the past couple of months and we are content that at least finally we are announcing something we're confident with.
A quick note also that in future updates, please understand that we are somewhat limited in our freedom in disclosing some key designs and/or visuals (not that we've shown off plenty anyway...) but we'll do our best to sneak in a few shots here and there and share some more ideas "with the purpose of receiving constructive feedback and response from the community" :)
We can only ask for your continued moral support and belief, so in due course, we can kick some serious butt!
Finally, we'd like to ask all readers to please hold off your sound/music score/translation/localization/collaboration/marketing inquiries until towards the end of the year since we cannot get around to give these issues serious thought it deserves.
Thanks once again and back to work.