it's been a bit over a year since i wrote the post announcing postgame. it's been about two years since e18 came out. people have been wondering things like "is the game dead?" and "where's e19?". while these sorts of questions tend to be a little annoying when asked reasonably near an episode's release date, we've reached a time when they become appropriate, legitimate questions. so let's talk about what's going on.
the biggest thing is starlight.
for those of you who do not know, ame is currently also working on Starlight Divide, a tRPG that will be her next game after reborn is done. she is developing it entirely from scratch. development for it began basically right after the story for e19 was finished/functional and it has been continuing pretty much since then.
developing from scratch is hard.
fangame development has a few advantages in that the mechanics have been laid out by gamefreak (for better or for worse) and essentials offers a base set of tools to build games from (for better or for worse). in no way does this imply that developing quality content is easy, but it is still fairly simple to pick up some tools and get going.
starlight does not have that. after being worked on for a year, it has almost approached the point of being playable. and then there's an entire game that needs to be made on top of it.
the reason starlight is an issue for e19 is because of timing.
the original plan for development was something like: e19m -> starlight -> starlight demo release -> e19p -> e19 release.
(i use e19m as shorthand for the main story and e19p as shorthand for postgame.)
this order was decided for a lot of reasons. there's general reborn burnout, ame wanted to start a new project, hiding from the big N (hi reggy thx 4 ur mercy), it provides some amount of project continuity, among other things.
this order was decided a year ago. i'll just straight-up say that, in hindsight, this was a mistake. i don't think we were expecting the demo to take so long, nor did we account for the development pressure of working on two games concurrently. not releasing new content for two years is a bit anxiety-provoking.
at this point, the starlight demo is probably going to be finished first, so realizing that the development plan was a mistake isn't going to result in it changing. this is basically just an explanation for why things have taken so long.
i also want to talk about progress bars.
i've noticed that a lot of discussions about development (and this would also apply to rejuv and deso a bit as well) will occasionally include a mention of "the game is at X% and that means [something]!" in reborn's case, the thing that it "means" is that the game has hovered around 52% completion for a while and thus there has been no development on the game.
that is not even remotely true.
to be fair, i suspect that the people who assume there has been no development are also not reading anything i say here (including this! fuck.), but it also says something about what people think when they see the numbers on the little sidebar over there. --->
the progress bar numbers are made up.
(by me, i should add.)
the point of the progress bars is to offer a condensed look at what we've done and what we plan to do. the X% of the bottom is there to give some kind of impression of what the overall progress looks like.
I sure don't fuckin know what the overall progress looks like.
the progress bars are basically calculated by me looking at various aspects of the game and going "eh, sure, this can be 3% of the total!" and then adding up all those shitty guesses i'm making.
the problem then is that the bars are structured around what we expect to be working on- which usually involves game content.
none of those guesses involved MKXP, or the massive, ridiculous amounts of code cleanup we've been doing. that number probably isn't even going to move until the starlight demo come out since ame tends to work on the game content. there's more stuff that we're planning to do in the future that i also already know won't be represented in the progress bars. the X% at the bottom is practically lying to you.
because of this, it's tempting to pull the bars down until reborn development picks up. in their current state, they're kind of a pain in the ass for everyone: i have to keep them up to date, they put pressure on the development team to overwork since there's a lot of stuff to do, and it makes everyone watching them impatient for the next release. (in fact, i think i just convinced myself that taking them down is a good idea and should probably be done.)
we know that there's a lot of people hyped up for e19, and so I really want to make it clear that we will be playing everything regarding its development completely straight. when development picks up again I will tell you. when we're going to start testing soon I will tell you. when we're planning to do a community release I will tell you.
(or, well, someone will. i've taken point on a lot of this lately but it won't necessarily be me.)
so, in the interests of transparency...
i hope i don't regret this
marcello wants to do it and i don't. that's the short version. the real version is a lot more complicated.
will it be in e19? it is highly likely no. it'd involved redoing a lot of work that's been done on the game since e18 (much of which was done by me, hence my bias) and i think it'd be really putting way too much pressure on development/testing to implement it across the whole game. it'd also add on a lot of extra dev time to a release that is already massive. i say it's "highly likely no" because there are circumstances under which this may change, such as the current development slowdown stretching into next year and, thus, allowing some time for us to get everything implemented. the DLC may also influence this.
will it come out after e19? maybe! it's still way too soon to talk about what happens after e19 since a lot can change between now and then, but I don't think there'd be any reason to avoid a DLC-esque update after the game is done. there's some other stuff we may want to do then, too (hard mode, maybe).
i feel like there's more that I need to say... but i'm basically out of things to say.
in short, don't panic. we're working on it.