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‘Celeste’ Developers Cancel Their New Metroidvania Game ‘Skytorn’


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https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/skytorn-canceled-1203097038/

 

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The team behind the critically-acclaimed indie platformer “Celeste” are cancelling another project, a procedurally-generated Metroidvania called “Skytorn,” developer Noel Berry said in a blog post on Saturday.

 

“We’re no longer going to be finishing ‘Skytorn,” he said. “I’m really sorry for those of you who were excited about this game. We were too. We poured a lot of time, energy, and heart into the project and we’re definitely sad it’s never going to see the commercial release we were hoping for.”

 

Berry quit college to become a full-time indie developer in 2012 and said he went through a lot of ideas before settling on “Skytorn.” But, he and his team put the project aside once they began working on “Celeste” in 2016.

 

“I think it was in January 2017 the team sat down and decided we’d spend two or three months full-time on ‘Celeste’ and put ‘Skytorn’ on the back burner,” he said. “Of course, ‘Celeste’ ended up taking a whole year full time from that point, and ‘Skytorn’ development completely stopped. When ‘Celeste’ development and post release work finally slowed in May 2018, we were faced with the tough decision of reworking ‘Skytorn’ to its core, or beginning work on something brand new, taking in all these lessons.”

 

Ultimately, “‘Skytorn’ just never figured out what it was,” Berry said. Since there was no permadeath, its procedurally-generated elements clashed with the Metroidvania ones. Story and progression became more linear. It was broken at its core, he said, and fixing it all would’ve taken a lot of work. The team decided to work on something new instead.

 

“As much as we all love ‘Skytorn’ and how much it’s meant to us over the last several years, we’re excited for new things and new projects,” Berry said. “I’m okay saying it was an amazing learning experience, and we’ll take all these lessons onto our next project.”

 

Berry said the “Celeste” team is sticking together and working on something new, but it’s not ready to talk about it yet. It will share more details in 2019.

 

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I just randomly started up Dead Cells last night and beat it on my first try. (Not first ever try, just first try of the night, not that I think I've put more than maybe 3 hours into the game.)

 

I have no idea why people rave about this game. It seems fine, but it barely seems like a Metroidvania at all and the combat is... fine-ish? It made a good first impression on me back in early access, but I decided to wait until it was more complete.

 

After the endless goddamn raving I heard about it, especially on Giant Bomb ("Beating it for the first time, nothing else compared this year!" "That's what every single person I know said!" - Damn near verbatim quotes), I figured it was finally time to give it the ol' college try and... it sure was game. It was definitely game. It had jumps. It had hits. It was game. The weird head-shooty thing you get after is neat, and I'm sure there's a bunch of secrets and a true ending and all that... but I barely cared the first time around, so why continue putting effort in?

 

This is one of those cases where people HAVE to be seeing something I didn't. Did I miss something big?? Is the first playthrough supposed to be a joke and then it gets real? Dan talked up beating the clock tower for the first time and how he couldn't handle a single enemy there sometimes but I literally remember almost nothing from there?!

 

Why does this keep happening with games that sound amazing???

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13 hours ago, legend said:

 

Counter example: Dead Cells is awesome. But it is also rogue-like with perma death which they said this was not. 

My problem with most procedural generated games is that they feel really hollow. Its always coined that you never get the same experience, which sounds great on paper, but rarely ever translates well. Like I've never had an area pop up in a PG game where it was like "wow this map was amazing, really well crafted". Like think about Ori and the Blind Forest and some of the slingshot sections, you'd never have those experiences in a PG game, its like you limit yourself to what you can create. You have so many variables, but they hardly ever branch out on them.

 

I've been playing Heroes of Hammerwatch. Its alright and its fine to load up with a buddy and have some fun, but it showcases exactly what I have problems with.

Each run through is different and I guess it helps with the monotony, but the only thing that ever really changes is where the enemies/traps spawn. All of the maps range from okay to bad, sometimes you just get dealt a crap hand and have a trap that locks you into this huge area with a fight that is more than likely going to cost you either your life or at least a swig of your potion. When its a "good" run through there is nothing ever special about it. 

 

The other issue I have is that they always expect the gameplay to completely hold up the game. The story is always some afterthought that either isn't even explained or its just a really basic story and its easy to see that they really didn't want you to spend much time on it. Then you have the grind, oh lord the grind, if you get into a rogue lite like HoH they expect you to just keep running through the same okayish to bad maps over and over and over and over and over to slowly upgrade your character to make it to the next level. Then once you make it to the next level you just do the same thing again until you make it to the next level. Its just this huge grind, little to no story, no elaborate maps that really get you on toes without feeling cheap or just really good layouts.

 

I'm oversimplifying the genre in some of these complaints because not all of them have these problems. Some are just one or the other, some have good stories, some literally can get held up by gameplay like Minecraft, some don't have as bad of a grind. I usually never find one that doesn't have one of these problems though and it immediately turns me off of wanting to play. Another problem is that we really don't have a lot of AAA jumping into the genre, its a bunch of indie developers, not that its indicative of quality, but still.

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5 minutes ago, Nokt said:

My problem with most procedural generated games is that they feel really hollow. Its always coined that you never get the same experience, which sounds great on paper, but rarely ever translates well. Like I've never had an area pop up in a PG game where it was like "wow this map was amazing, really well crafted". Like think about Ori and the Blind Forest and some of the slingshot sections, you'd never have those experiences in a PG game, its like you limit yourself to what you can create. You have so many variables, but they hardly ever branch out on them.

 

I've been playing Heroes of Hammerwatch. Its alright and its fine to load up with a buddy and have some fun, but it showcases exactly what I have problems with.

Each run through is different and I guess it helps with the monotony, but the only thing that ever really changes is where the enemies/traps spawn. All of the maps range from okay to bad, sometimes you just get dealt a crap hand and have a trap that locks you into this huge area with a fight that is more than likely going to cost you either your life or at least a swig of your potion. When its a "good" run through there is nothing ever special about it. 

 

The other issue I have is that they always expect the gameplay to completely hold up the game. The story is always some afterthought that either isn't even explained or its just a really basic story and its easy to see that they really didn't want you to spend much time on it. Then you have the grind, oh lord the grind, if you get into a rogue lite like HoH they expect you to just keep running through the same okayish to bad maps over and over and over and over and over to slowly upgrade your character to make it to the next level. Then once you make it to the next level you just do the same thing again until you make it to the next level. Its just this huge grind, little to no story, no elaborate maps that really get you on toes without feeling cheap or just really good layouts.

 

I'm oversimplifying the genre in some of these complaints because not all of them have these problems. Some are just one or the other, some have good stories, some literally can get held up by gameplay like Minecraft, some don't have as bad of a grind. I usually never find one that doesn't have one of these problems though and it immediately turns me off of wanting to play. Another problem is that we really don't have a lot of AAA jumping into the genre, its a bunch of indie developers, not that its indicative of quality, but still.

 

I completely agree that the game has to be held up by the core gameplay, because the map design just won't be as good (at least I've never seen procedurally generator levels as good as hand crafted ones). I also agree that this often results in subpar games.

 

I do, however, think it works sometimes though, and Dead Cells is one of them. In DC, there is a risk to explore areas that may or may not bear fruit (upgrades, etc.) vs. heading for the exit. Because maps are random, you can't pre-optimize how to run the map and so you always have to be a bit cautious when you go looking for upgrades and make a decisions about whether you can survive it or not. Because the core gameplay is good, that results is a good experience. Not the same as one you'll get in Ori or Hollow Knight, but still good and different.

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