"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw
BREAKING THE PATH OF SILENCE
A long time has gone away again and we wanted to give you not only another sign of life but also show you what we've been working all this time. Some months after the Early Access launch of ESSENCE, nothing went as planned, and now the time has come for something to change. Something within ourselves to finally get into the state of an indie game developer, that we always strived for.
THE STATUS OF ESSENCE
Currently, ESSENCE is in a pause status, this might sound disappointing but don't worry, development will continue soon. After the launch of ESSENCE on Steam, the overall sales dropped quickly and we already suspected that when we just straight continue to work on this game we will run the risk of working on a loss and therefore finishing the game with dept or even go bankrupt before finishing. We still have the reserved resources for all the backer rewards of the campaign but we never want to use this for the development. So we had to come up with a new plan, we had to change and adapt.
WHAT WE HAVE WORKED ON
Shortly after the realization, we had decided to work on some smaller game related contracts to get a steady stream of revenue for continuing working on ESSENCE. In this way, we could also build up our small team, not with people, but knowledge, experience, and skill. This worked for a while but the problem was, we didn't get much time to work on ESSENCE. Furthermore, we had to finish our Studies and transitioned into full independent developers. After finishing our studies we have to face the new challenge to get back into ESSENCE. But the sales were still very low, most days we sold not even one copy. We had to face that ESSENCE was trapped in a typical game death spiral, any work on an update would risk to not bring any new players and momentum, and player interest cannot really be brought into without any new content to show of.
A SURPRISE TO THE RESCUE
But that should not stop us, we had an idea to solve this problem. A small surprise game we had also planned for you. A game that was destined to be reworked from our very first prototype level of ESSENCE, which was not fitting anymore for the real game. But it has now a twist to it. It's also a game reminiscent of our very beginning and filled with the soul and signature of the people who supported us from the first day and backed the first and second KS campaign. We present you DYSTOA.
DYSTOA was supposed to be the extra gift game for the 200$ Tier and was already in preparation for some time. With our new change, however, we want to adjust this Tier, because this game has also grown a little bit in scope. It's still a rather small game compared to ESSENCE and more of a side project. We will now give this game to anyone who backed 20$ or more for free as a redemption for the rocky development of ESSENCE. And we are planning to release the game in Q2 of this year to further support our development of ESSENCE and to sustain as a small studio.
THE REAL SURPRISE
But since we worked out the fundamentals of Dystoa and still could find why ESSENCE exactly sold so poorly or how we could rework ESSENCE we further tried through the iteration of DYSTOA and found the solution. ESSENCE has, of course, many other flaws we are aware of, but to keep it short: the core of ESSENCE was not well defined. The problem was that the game wanted to be so many things at once that it became a master of none. Especially the broad story and exploration parts, the huge scale and the platforming mechanics where conflicting for many players.
So we decided to use not only DYSTOA to find the solution for the problems of ESSENCE but another game to put the problem to the test. And so we decided to make another game with all the new experience we collected over the time and it really showed off. But it should also be smaller and more focused experience and have an opposite approach. Where DYSTOA should be focused on exploration, this one would be around movement and platforming. We introduce to you ASCENDANCE.
We have released it already and of course, it is free for all Kickstarter backers. The download link is in the next update/notification on Kickstarter.
NEW ROADMAP OF 2018
So ultimately, we have now these 3 projects, different in their size and scope but also mechanics. Somehow connected to each other as some kind of family. ASCENDANCE and DYSTOA designed to further examine their respective mechanics and to ultimately help us not only finishing ESSENCE but also reworking it properly to become a much better and refined game at the end. We will now work on DYSTOA to release it for Q2 of 2018 and after that, we will continue to overhaul the ACT 1 of ESSENCE. Our aim is now to not only rework the levels, mechanics, assets and how the story is presented but also updating the Unity Engine to its newest iteration which changes a lot in terms of graphics. Just if you are interested what unity is now capable but also inspired us a lot, take a look at their new demo game:
We will update you again when we are full work on DYSTOA and know better when the date of release will be and the huge update of ESSENCE can be expected. It's still unwritten how exactly we will change ESSENCE, but that's the excitement and mystery after all. We are also now looking forward to eventually finish the game completely by the end of 2018.
This will be our year, full of surprise, redemption, and fulfillment.
We hope you can now understand more where we are coming from and got a better picture of us and our motivation overall. This clear communication might have been the thing that was needed all the time. We hope that you still believe in us and are thankful for your patience.
And there is still more to tell, so you will hear from us again, sooner or maybe later.
We hope you like what we have worked on and that you have fun playing ASCENDANCE. And of course, tell us what you think of our change and what you like or not like.
Thank you for reading through all of this and as always thanks for your patience, brave travelers.