A year ago, we announced WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition, with great optimism that we’d release it by the end of that year. So where are we now? Well, here’s the story:
Interest in and support for WolfQuest 2.7 (the first paid version of the game)was much greater than we ever imagined, so by late 2016, we felt confident that this wasn’t a flash in the pan and decided to start work on an all-new map and episode, taking the story of the pack forward through summer and fall. Our science advisor Dr. Dan MacNulty recommended setting this new episode in the Tower Fall / Yellowstone River region, so we dubbed the new episode “Tower Fall” and dove into development. We already knew that a new episode would require a completely new codebase in order to develop the kinds of sophisticated animal behaviors and gameplay that players expect and deserve these days. So our Unity developer Tommi Horttana spent winter and spring on that, while we also started working on the new environments and animals that would populate the new episode.
But by summer of 2017, we couldn’t ignore the many problems with adding this all-new, vastly improved episode onto the existing game, with its decade-old code and game systems. So we decided to shift focus and remake the original game so we had a solid new foundation for the entire game and future episodes. When we hatched this plan that summer, we intended to keep the scope modest and simply remake the existing game features and systems with the new codebase. But of course, that meant devoting months of time and energy to recreating 2007-era game designs. Did we really want to do that — even if it would let us get this remake done and released fairly quickly?
As we reviewed each system in the game, we had ideas to redesign them in much bigger and better ways. More naturalistic scent systems! Animals that persist throughout each episode! Bigger herds of elk, with more realistic and exciting herding behaviors! More accurate and exciting hunting and attack mechanics! Cleverer competitors! Vastly bigger maps! More realistic vegetation! Dynamic day/night cycle! New music with an adaptive music system! Mates and pups with personalities! Better fur! Sophisticated genetics system! And what the heck, let’s add some more animals too!
Well, you don’t need to guess what happened then. Each new feature has taken longer than our everlastingly optimistic plans anticipated. Just as we learned ten years ago with the first version, in a 3D world it’s very easy to break the illusion of reality, and by cranking up the realism of our eco-simulation, we’re also cranking up how easy it is to break that illusion, and how much work it takes to maintain it.
So here we are a year after announcing the remake, chugging along with a full head of steam and all hands on deck. Earlier this year we brought three more Unity developers onboard to work solely on WolfQuest, and they’ve helped us make enormous progress. We’ve built all the main game systems and most of the secondary systems. Multiplayer should be in good shape next month. I couldn’t be more excited about what we’ve been able to produce. I don’t think there will be any game like it out there!
But alas, we still have an awful lot still to do, and we don’t see a way to complete the entire game and release it by the end of this year. Those of you who’ve been around since the early days can’t be blamed for thinking I’d have learned my lesson by now. And perhaps I should never share out loud my eternally optimistic release targets. So yes, we have revised our goal, once again.
Now we’re aiming to release Amethyst Mountain (the first level/map) before the end of the year on PC/Mac platforms (Steam and Itch.io). It should be in good shape although not completely done, so we’ll likely call it “Early Access” or something like that for awhile. We’ll then focus on Slough Creek with the goal of releasing it in early 2019, and then finish the mobile versions — it’ll take quite a lot of work to get this massively larger game to run on the widest range of mobile devices as possible. And then we’ll get back to Tower Fall, aiming to release it….well, I guess I’d better not make any predictions.
We’ll continue to make these weekly blog posts and videos. We hope they provide a bit of entertainment while you wait and a peek into to the joys and pains of indie game development.….including the challenges of release date predictions.
Note: Our beautiful new WolfQuest game icon was created by longtime player and forum moderator Juliet Manolias (Sambhur).
More questions? Read the FAQs here: http://wolfquest.org/blog
See all our development videos! We’ve organized them by category here: http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=97&t=84491
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