You may have heard that we’re closing out 2016 here at Bossa with a bang: a two-week long Alpha 5.1 running through the holidays, in which all Alpha testers have been released from the NDA! If you’re in the Alpha, you’re now free to talk about the game, share images, even stream your gameplay on Twitch. We’ve already seen some amazing screenshots, videos, and stories posted, and we’re looking forward to seeing more!
Now, as the year draws to a close, I wanted to take a minute to appreciate where we are and look towards where we’re going. When we conceived of this unreasonably ambitious game more than two years ago, we decided, as a studio, to take a shot at upending the prevailing wisdom of how massively multiplayer games worked. We decided maybe some of those rules about how they had to be structured, how they had to be developed, how players had to be treated, and perhaps most importantly, how much control to relinquish to the community, needed challenging. It wasn’t easy at all – it’s a scary thing placing that much trust in gamers you’ve never met, for a game concept nobody’s ever played before.
But since our initial reveal video, through multiple rounds of Alpha testing this year, we’ve constantly been invigorated by the response from you, our fans and Alpha testers. You told us you believed in this concept, this vision, this way we want to make games. You told us you want to be empowered and to be given freedom in this fantastical setting. At the end of the day, all we can really do as game developers is make a game that we want to play. Well, you told us you want to play it, too – and that makes all the difference.
This year we released the Island Creator and its updates, and saw thousands of beautiful, cleverly-designed islands submitted – islands that now populate the horizon in Alpha 5.1. We rehauled resource gathering completely (twice) based on your Alpha feedback. We added player-designed ship frames; schematics and schematic progression; creatures (hard to believe earlier this year we didn’t have any creatures on islands!); knowledge and loot rewards; story pieces and the Codex; crews and a way to play together with friends; windrifts and storm walls – the list goes on and on, but really, what we want to focus on is the future.
Early in 2017, we’re going to be adding biomes to the game, and place different islands, resources, schematics, and loot in different zones, giving more character to the different parts of the world. Alongside this, we’ll be adding creature variants that belong in different biomes and behave differently. You’ll also see objects start to have a lifecycle – player-crafted objects left on an island for a long time will start to deteriorate and sink slowly into the ground, perhaps rust or rot or even become covered in moss, and become ruins themselves. Coupled with a visual refresh on mechanical craftables, and a much-expanded repertoire of cosmetic customizations for players and their craftables, the world will look like it really has been inherited by you, the hardy scavengers of the skies.
There will also be lots of under-the-hood improvements and optimizations to the game, and a cleanup pass through the issues Alpha testers have been feeding back to us. Then, when we feel the game is something we’d feel comfortable charging money for, something we’d buy ourselves, we’ll release it into Steam Early Access in Q1.
And that’s when a new chapter in the story will begin: during Early Access we’ll be kicking off a bunch of awesome features we’ve been hinting at for a while. Regular content and feature updates will flesh the game out, expand the world, and make Worlds Adrift the full experience we have in our heads.
We’re all incredibly excited for what’s ahead, and incredibly humbled by all the support from you all. Have a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and we’ll see you in-game!