Hope everyone is having a great summer! Since the release of Blythe, the team has been hard at work on the remaining narrative content. With our next content release just around the corner, we thought it would be time for a “creative catch-up” with the game director, DC and the designer Billy Grande, as they lay out what’s in store in the near future.
We’re happy to say that the next major content update will be launching at the end of September. This update will contain the playable devotion quests for DEMI and Lily. For those that need a quick refresher, Devotion Quests are lengthy narrative-driven missions that conclude the romance arc for the characters. Upon reaching devotion level 30 and having gone far enough into the main storyline, you will get a message from your companion to go visit them onboard the Mary Celeste. This optional (but highly recommended) quest will then begin. In line with the tradition of CRPG’s, if you’ve been paying careful attention to the romance dialogue up to this point, then you’ll know that each of the girls has a particular problem that they’ve alluded to – and guess what, during the devotion quest you get to solve that problem for them! Each of these quests will lead you to a new location in the galaxy, and much like the recruitment missions, has some narrative content interspersed with boss fight gameplay along with some new surprises!
Once you’ve completed the devotion quest mission, the big reward will be a 4+ minute, contextual sex scene in the format of a short film, created by the talented animators of StudioFOW. Please note that for the Early Access version of this quest, we will NOT be including the full film in the update, it will only play a short teaser before fading to black. The full cinematic will be included in the game files of the 1.0 release client. We’ve done this because we really don’t want these cinematics ripped and then uploaded to sites like Xvideos and Pornhub before the release of the full game. From a dev and business standpoint, it feels really bad to have worked on something so hard, putting all the blood sweat and tears into crafting something epic and character-specific, only to have it reuploaded to some porn site after a day and spoiling the conclusion of the romance for everyone else. We’ve had to endure a trend with people ripping the Pandora stuff already and we don’t want a repeat of that for what is arguably the best sex content in the game. Therefore players wanting to see the full experience, you are better off waiting until the 1.0 release where you can play through the Devotion Quests AND watch the Devotion Cinematic the way it was meant to be intended.
Our current development pace looks to be about 40 days per quest, which means that we should be able to release 2 quests per content update. As mentioned above, DEMI and Lily are up first at the end of September, at which point (probably in the next diary) we will reveal who the next two girls to receive their quests are. Once all Devotion Quests are released, we can then go back and wrap up the main storyline and final boss fight for the 1.0 release sometime next year. It doesn’t really make sense to progress with the ending of the game just yet (final chapter) until all other content is in, because of the spoiler drama related to having the conclusion of the game out there. It’s like if another notable RPG that recently came out Early Access had their Act 3 included in the early access, it would be kind of weird. There should be some mystery left for last, right?
At some point towards the launch of 1.0 next year, save files will be wiped for technical and practical reasons. Simply put, with the amount of overhauls and revamps going into the eventual 1.0 client next year, it would make the previous saves incompatible. The game has evolved a lot during its early access (and will continue evolving) so a fresh playthrough for 1.0 is highly recommended for the best experience. We will notify you ahead of time when the save file wipes will be happening.
Once all the supplementary narrative content like Devotion Quests have been released on Steam and all of the story (bar the final chapter) is intact, we will commence on the systems overhaul piece by piece. As stated in previous diaries we do have a strong vision for the game, and currently it is not meeting our high expectations. With that in mind, we also have to be smart and realistic about the overhauls to be attempted. There are limited resources and time available, and we MUST launch 1.0 next year for the financial viability of the project, so we do have to prioritize certain systems over others.
The order of these improvements are subject to change, and not everything may make it into the 1.0 build.
Besides making progression for all waifus more streamlined and less grindy, we plan for leveling up to feel meaningful and be something to look forward to, with perks and surprise gifts. The first order of business will be a Progression Hub screen where you can track the devotion level (a streamlined, all-encompassing xp bar). Besides the existing rewards like trophies, we’re also adding several new rewards along your journey to the cap of level 40. These include:
The voice talent has recorded over 2 hours total of brand new, hot dialogue for this system which includes everything from sweet little “I miss you” notes to full-on-filthy JOI’s for you to fap to. The tapes get steamier as you level up, and may also include some surprising revelations about the characters. Each character will receive 5 tapes total which can be played in the Captain’s Quarters at your leisure once unlocked.
No Captain quarters is complete without some sexy pinups of your favorite waifus, so the girls have made sure you are covered! Expect to see some tasteful, old-timey pinups adorn your rewards screen as the girls fall more and more in love with you.
We’ve been experimenting with different hair/eye combos for the girls, and we’re pleased to offer some of this customizability as part of the progression system. For those ladies without erm…hair, don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about you! Being able to tint your very own squid-girl must be every cephalomaniac’s wet dream, surely?
Part of the Grid combat tweaks as well, but we thought it would be a nice touch for each waifu to have their own unique item to equip in grid combat, to change up their playstyle ever so slightly. These thematic items come with a bit of lore and makes wielding them a bit more meaningful!
Yes we will have outfits in the game! We’re going to be pushing hard to make sure they are all Pandora-compatible in some form, so that you can enjoy the fruits of your progression during the sex scenes. As part of the reward for completing the girls’ devotion quest, AND reaching the final tier in our revamped progression system we will be awarding a special lore-specific unique outfit to the waifu in question. We will share more details on outfits in later dev diary but rest assured it is one of our highest priorities after narrative content is iced.
And finally, we want to minimize the pains of level discrepancies, so as part of the new streamlined progression we will look into a system where we average out the mantic levels so that you don’t have to painfully level each of them one by one, and they are always relevant and ready to fight.
Our companion from the start, DEMI, will have her own unique progression, as hinted at in our earlier Dev Diary, as an intimate way to help her reach her full potential. Along that journey, her improved capabilities will come with several Quality-Of-Life improvements we really wanted to introduce.
DEMI’s progression will include Augmentations, upgrades to her systems that can be found throughout Prodigium and will act as breakthrough items for her level-ups. Our vision for this is to have an engaging and more intimate way to progress DEMI’s devotion levels, rather than just calculate them on a weighted average.
While the Augmentations themselves will not carry an immediate gameplay benefit beyond bringing DEMI closer to the Captain, they will contribute to a bigger plan; every few levels, DEMI will provide bonuses such as boosting XP gained for other waifus, increasing the navigation speed and efficiency of the Mary Celeste, reducing upgrade costs, and some nifty customization options.
Economy is a bit of a mess right now as a result of not having enough gold sinks. We want to make spending TEK/BIO/Credits worth it, so towards the end of 0.9 we will look into adding a fluff shop where you can buy some collectibles and random items.
The final part of the overhauls will be tying the new progression system into the navigation module. Gone will be the placeholder events currently populating the planets, and in their place will be meaningful, contextual content that makes exploring Prodigium an exciting prospect, instead of a chore. We will have an entire diary dedicated to this very important goal, and try to explain the philosophy behind our proposed redesigns. This will probably be the very last thing to get overhauled as it is literally the glue that will hold the game together, so stay tuned!
With General Blythe and her combat prowess as the vanguard to our vision, we’re looking forward to tuning up the skillsets of allies and enemies, in a way that makes their abilities impactful while remaining faithful to their style and character. This includes the specifics around DEVA mode, enemy tactics and target priorities in combat. Our vision is for party choices and strategies to matter and for Grid Combat to be as engaging and exciting for you to experience it as it is for us to design it!
As our first priority to Grid Combat revamp, we will be reviewing the combat tempo and how that affects both allied and enemy units. This includes a revamp in Initiative and turn order in general, as well as making targeting a more thought-out process for our enemies (making room for tanking and healing to be viable tactics).
After securing that our baddies perform up to our expectations, we’ll be revamping our biggest outliers in our mantic roster, making sure Trisha, Equicox and other less favored ones receive some love as well, and bringing all mantics to a uniform capability that you will enjoy playing through, no matter your choices.
DEVA mode is something that will be revamped after these changes, so that we will be able to accurately calculate risk vs reward. At the moment, especially in later levels, we acknowledge that combat is heavy-hitting and fast-paced, so removing two very capable allies for three turns while the enemies pile on is quite difficult. Once the overall tempo of Grid Combat is determined, it will be easier to set the rules for DEVA mode.
We’ve also made plans for generic equipable items, as well as consumable items, that can change the tide of combat to a way that suits you better. Healing, defensive and offensive upgrades and incurring special buffs and debuffs will greatly increase the variety in feel between two missions.
Specifically for Devotion Quest encounters and boss fights, we’re putting extra effort on making sure each of them is a unique experience, mechanically as well as narratively.
Studio 69, a special DLC nightclub event, for KS backers will be launching with the 1.0 version of the game.
There are still a few straggler Pandora scenes to come, both to even out some of the girls who’ve received less love (looking at you Taron) and to finish off some SpaceWhale kickstarter requests. These scenes will be sprinkled into future devotion quest updates, or the 1.0 release client.
We are going to be continuously updating the UI as we get closer to 1.0 and systems get overhauled. These include but are not limited to
- Further improvements to quest log UI
- New and improved UI for all the leveling-up and devotion related screens
- Revisions to make the access in all areas of the game faster and easier
You will see improvements to the earlier visual novel scenes, as we retroactively apply what we’ve learned over the years to the legacy content. You can see these improvements starting with our next September content update.
The plan is to release two devotion quests per content update until we finish all quests. Following that, we will release the remainder of the main story and the progression system revamp. The 1.0 client will include some minor overhauls alongside the conclusion of the main storyline, and is targeted for release in 2024. We will communicate more indepth about overhauls in the future once we wrap the devotion quests.
We understand that it’s been a long journey, and luckily the second half of this year is absolutely jam-packed with excellent games to keep you entertained. It’s a bit of a blessing in disguise to have so many excellent titles showing that they are worth the wait, and we hope to be one of those titles too when we launch our 1.0 next year. By then hopefully the skies will have cleared and we can find a good nesting spot on the shoulders of these AAA titans! In the meantime please remember to get involved with our Discord and leave your feedback there.
See you next month!