Opinion – The Frustrations of Early Production

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece, if you are looking for facts and details this is not the article for you.

You might have noticed that this site has been rather quiet as of late. I wanted to talk about why. It is not because I have lost interest in the game, far from it, it is simply that the information we are getting at the moment in the game updates is pretty straight forward. Here is a new image, here is an update to the store, they are not topics that I feel need much discussion. That means that Chronicles of Elyria is in that tricky middle phase of development. The ideas have been shared but the details are not ready yet. That can cause frustration in the community, and it is that frustration and my thoughts on it that I want to talk about today.

Screenshot showing the town of New Haven in the snow in Chronicles of Elyria.When I started following Chronicles of Elyria over a year ago everything was new. Everything they said was exciting because it was things we had not heard before, not just about this game but often about any game. There was so much to discuss, to reflect on, to wonder how it would fit together. There was a lot to write, a lot to discuss, a lot to learn. However, now after many months of information, developer journals, question and answer sessions, discussions on the forums and in the various social media outlets we know the basics of this game. We can see their vision, we can understand the game they want to make, and importantly we are excited about the concepts.

It is that excitement and the engagement they have developed in the community that is now causing frustration. Yes, we can see the vision and the concepts but we want more. We want to know exactly how that vision will be implemented, how those concepts will be put into practice. People are frustrated that the detailed questions they have about how they personally will play the game are not yet answered. Why are the developers avoiding their questions? Why are they ignoring them? In all honesty, I do not think they are. They are not being any less transparent or forthcoming with information than they have been it is just the information they have that is ready to share is not always exactly what we want as individuals; it does not answer our particular questions.

When the game moves from pre-production into full production a lot of the early work is boring. It is making sure that things that need to be in place are in place. It is not always about the flowery systems we are interested in. This is especially true when looking at the rope bridge philosophy for design that Soulbound Studios uses. They are not working on every system at once. They are working on the ones they need now, the ones that allow them to make the most development towards the immediate goals they have. The next goal is the Prologue, so the features that will appear in this are going to be a priority. However, the Prologue is not the full game nor does it have the full features and that means often features you would like to hear discussed are unlikely to be developed at this stage past the concepts we have already heard.

Unfortunately, often features people want to hear more about now are features with a price tag associated with them. Titles, land, how will that all work. It is obvious that people want to know what they are spending their money on, or what they will get for money already pledged. However, these are not features that are going to appear in the Prologue. Because of that, we get into this strange situation where people, very justifiably, want more and more detailed and specific information but it is not necessarily information related to systems that are being moved into production. That means that any information Soulbound Studios do release is subject to change, and when money is involved change can be bad. It is far better to leave these things open then to nail them down to something they are not sure will work the way the envisage it doing so. Yes, that can be frustrating for those who want answers, but far less frustrating compared to getting the answers you want and finding out that those answers have to change nearer to launch.

For now, I feel we as a community have to accept that while we crave detail it is not something that comes quickly. They are not going to develop new detailed and implemented systems every two weeks to coincide with the updates. At this point, we have to play a waiting game. We have to give them time to make the game, to produce the system, to get those details nailed down before they share it with us. Is it justified to be frustrated? Yes. Is it justified to take that out on the Developers? No.

Let us all let the Developers develop and then we will get all the details we all so desperately want.

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