Morning everyone! No jokes here, just spreading the news…
EDIT: As of 3:33pm ET April 1 2019, we are aiming for this FRIDAY to launch Update 3. Just confirmed with our producer and internal QA.
EDIT2: Wednesday April 10th is the new Update 3 estimate!
So as you all know, we’re working on Update 3 this week and trying to release it as soon as possible. A couple of roadblocks have come in, particularly as we only have 1 week to submit features for Update 4 before we give it 4 weeks of QA time. (Update 4, which I’ve hinted at in previous posts, is meant to include more NPCs, different quest types related to these NPCs, and UI improvements.) “Meant to” is the key word here, since our deadlines are getting tight, and we are trying to align Update 4’s release with the final build we turn over to console.
One of the biggest questions in the office as we work with update 3/4 issues is how to work with what we have.
For example, the issue of swimming has resurfaced again. Our level designer has designed some more puzzle and reward rooms scattered throughout the levels that are meant to be discovered and accessible after lowering the water levels with the Materia Modus. However, because swimming is currently enabled, the player can bypass the Modus usage and skip straight to the reward rooms. We’re trying to figure out what’s the right move here: disabling swimming would make the player feel as if things were taken away from them, even if matches the original design intent. On the other hand, keeping swimming means that players may feel cheated if they actually use the Modus system as intended, and discover that all they had to do was swim under a couple of roadblocks in order to discover rewards.
Currently, we’re leaning towards keeping swimming in. Turning it off would mean we may re-introduce new bugs or trap the player again, but would unfortunately mean we need to figure out how to make the puzzle rooms worth it. etc.
On top of this, we’re really trying to squeeze in some combat changes, including more opportunities for the player to learn about strategies and how to play the game IN-GAME. We’ve noticed a lot of players were unsure how to parry, or how to direct their swings in general, and there have been a lot of proposed improvements to combat that we need to test and act on fast. It’s going to be a tight week, so you may not hear from us while we work on these.
And of course the creatures we’re working on have been chugging along… I’ve shared some images in our private Discord channels, since I don’t want to confirm any work that may not make it into Update 4 at this time. It’s one of our many priorities, and I’d be elated to see these things running around in the Abyss and giving some more variety to the player experience, personally, but scope is always a factor we need to keep a sharp eye on. If we don’t make the deadline for Update 4, that would mean console and PC players would get radically different versions of the game, and we would rather launch just 1 definitive version for both.
I’ll check in on the status of Mac and Linux ports again. I know you’ve all been very patient on this front. Last I checked, we’re aiming to get these out in time with Update 4 as well, if we can, but they’re currently being ported by an external company, so I’m not as familiar with the timeline.