since we're now in the testing phase, i feel like i'm perhaps a little overdue to actually talk about the early game.
cass already posted a couple teasers from it here
but why don't i actually go ahead and take a brief moment to expound on some of our specific goals?
right now in e18, the early game is... it's very dated. it's not that i haven't edited the dialogue in years, but that the foundation of the dialogue is years old.
well, and also i haven't edited it for years by merit of how long it's been since an episode came out, i guess...
when i first started making the game, i thought i'd get bored and drop it quickly. so i didn't really put much forethought into the story (or for that matter, literally any forethought until heather first appears)-- i was just kind of winging it.
even then i can't say it was exactly well-constructed. due to the nature of the online league and trying to justify mashing all of these existing characters together... things just kind of happened. and thus, things just kind of happen in the early part of the plot with no real warning sometimes.
this isn't meant to self-deprecate or anything; i'm proud of what we've been able to make of it as the project went on, and let's be real: canon pokemon games set the bar pretty damn low in the first place. i am very grateful for everyone's support through the years so that we could make it to a place where i can just Do Something Better!
story aside, many of the early maps are... uninspired. hell, check out this version of mosswater factory from episode 1:
it didn't even have the name 'mosswater' at this point, it was just "mysterious factory".
like there is nothing interesting here visually. and we changed that later, it at least looks like a factory, a bit more interesting, not quite so transparently the same narrow corridors..........
but even then you can probably tell, despite the re-skin, the map layout is still the same now in e18 as it was then.
it's ultimately just a long corridor with a couple switches where you generally have to fight all of the exact same trainers in the exact same order at the start of every play through where you have exactly the same set of mons to work with.............
and the same is true of the slums..........
and the same was true of the old park map.........
and the same is true of malchous forest........................
....we get a bit better about things after that, fortunately, but the early game is very uninteresting and constraining in terms of area design.
now i don't know about you all, but i kinda suck at actually finishing runs of this game. i must have beaten julia's gym dozens of time, right, but i can count the number of times i've played through, say, ametrine, on one hand just because i always end up getting distracted and then focusing on development and then i come back and am like oh i messed up my old save in testing but that's okay starting a new run will be fun!!!
>let's fight the same set of forty trainers in the same order again wooo..........
and then on top of all that we have things like the frustrating bit with corey and kiki not giving badges, apophyll being framed as a fetch quest, lots of running around in between shade and apophyll and it's just kind of a mess.
but again, i'm very grateful to have had the chance to fix these problems. now that i've discussed some of the issues in depth, let me clearly list out the goals of our early game changes:
- Introduce some characters sooner on average (at least optionally) so that they get more screen time before having dramatic moments or pivots. Corey is a key example; you can go find him right after getting your starter if you want.
- Reduce new player frustration of not getting b⋆adges from two gym leaders. Marcello hinted at this before-- Corey and Kiki are now retired leaders at the start of the plot rather than active ones.
- Reframe a couple pain point segments to stay more on track-- Apophyll is now much less about getting an HM now, for instance.
- Reduce some unnecessary running around between segments, and decrease railroading for plot. In general, we added more content but made fewer things mandatory; the other stuff is just optional, often for relationship points.
- Rework some areas so that they are less linear and have more freedom in how the player can approach them.... or at least be a little more interesting along the way.
As an example of the last point, allow me to give you a sneak peak of the new and improved Mosswater Factory!⋆｡
I will include in a spoiler for those who wish to be surprised.
I hope that everyone will enjoy the changes once they're available! While I'm very happy with them myself and looking forward to seeing people play the early game again. Of course not everyone is going to want to do that immediately, I hope they will help freshen up the experience for you whenever you d˚o eventually play.
That said, as always, I am very shy about managing＊expectations. So, let me take a moment to clarify a few things that we are not doing:⋆
- The m＊id game is not changing much, and the late game is not changing at all. The beginning is a little more elaborate but we're coming to the same end points so don't be too disappointed when it shapes up in a familiar way.┈♛
- W･:*e are not adding new areas or changing the order in which you go to existing ones; that'･ﾟs out of scope for our overhauls.☆
- ☆A handful of fights have been changed, a coupl⁺‧͙e more have been added, one or two got snapped entirely but t⁺‧͙he battles and area progression are all pretty much the same☽༓
⁺‧͙Obvious☆✼ly it's still al★l the same cha★racters, we're not about to go ★and do★ somethi★ng craz★y like.★.. add ★in an en★tirely new★ member of t★he cast..... in ★final★ upd★ate┈┈⛧┈......• ༶• ༶ • ༶
or something....•༶ • ༶ • ༶• ༶ ˚ ｡ ⋆ ˚ ˚ ｡ ⋆ ˚ ˚ ｡ ⋆ ˚
. . .. . . . ˚ • ┈ ┈ ⛧ ┈ ♛ ♛ ┈ ⛧ ┈┈ • ༶
- .༓ ･ * ˚ ⁺ ‧͙
- .˙ ᵕ ꒳ ᵕ ˙ ˚
・・・ ★・ﾟ ☆ !
・, ｡･: * :
★ , ｡ ･ : * : ･ﾟ would we? ˙˚˙ᵕ꒳ᵕ˙˚˙
✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ:* Introducing Meteor Agent Ace! *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
Though there's surely no shortage of sanctimonious things we could sing in their praises-- ✧
Things that would fascinate, advocate, celebrate, elucidate or otherwise ingratiate you all to their sudden appearance in the game... ✧
‧̍̊˙˚˙ᵕ꒳ᵕ˙˚˙Are the best secrets not left unsaid? ‧̍̊˙˚˙ᵕ꒳ᵕ˙˚˙
ₒₓ⋆:°✧ A Technological Trickster ✧°:⋆ₓₒ
Skilled in both the art of illusions and the eternal dark witchcraft of computer wizardry, Ace is now a key front line asset to Team Meteor's ambitions! ✧
I hope you look forward to facing them even when they've stacked the deck against you! ✧
⋆ ˚｡⋆˚ A new Meteor crashes onto the horizon! ˚⋆｡˚ ⋆
To which side of the team will they be loyal-- the old or the new? ✧
Or perhaps neither at all? ✧
There's always hope, isn't there, little heroes? ✧
⋆ ˚｡⋆˚ A Magician in the Midst ˚⋆｡˚ ⋆
༶•┈┈⛧┈♛ Ace is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns! ♛┈⛧┈┈•༶
I hope that their presence will bring a much needed magic into the early-midgame~ ✧
Maybe this is a pretty good reason to replay some of the new changes...? ✧
It's not like I'd selfishly make this post to try and convince more people to replay or anything! ✧
✧*＊✿❀ Or would I? ❀✿＊*
But if you're not up for that, never-fear! ✧
We've taken old files into consideration, so if you are starting e19 from a completed e18 file, rest assured you will not be confused by missing their prior context! ✧
(save files in the middle of the game are on their own though, good luck!!!!) ✧
【☆】 ★ 【☆】 ★ 【☆】 ★ 【☆】 ★ 【☆】
★★★ Art, design and sprites are by the amazing and illustrious ｡･:*:･ﾟ★,｡･:*:･ﾟ☆crimson｡･:*:･ﾟ★,｡･:*:･ﾟ☆ ★★★ !
✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ Please look forward to the most magical version of Reborn yet! ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧