May 2024 Developer Diary


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  • Hinterland
Posted (edited)

May 2024 Developer Diary

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Hello fans,

Here’s some news about what to expect in Part Five of TALES FROM THE FAR TERRITORY, which we are targeting for the second half of June (depending on how long it takes to test and clear console certification), as well as an update on progress around bringing TALES to Switch.

Cougar

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I recently confirmed that the Cougar will be included in Part Five. We’ve been wanting to add a dangerous “alpha predator” to the game for a while, beyond the Wolves and other dangerous wildlife you can encounter in the game. With every new type of wildlife, we try to introduce a new element of gameplay to give it a distinct role in the overall ecosystem, and also ensure it freshens up the game for all our players.

The Cougar will work a bit differently than the other predators in the game. Cougars are very territorial, and will get interested in you when you start to spend a lot of time in one region. If you hang around in one region for too long, they will take an interest in the region and occupy it. You’ll then start to encroach on their territory, which is very dangerous! You’ll have plenty of warning before they move in, and plenty of warning once they have occupied a region. What you won’t get is plenty of warning before they attack you, once they are encroaching on your territory (or you on theirs)! So pay attention to the warning signs, move around the world and be prepared with a second Safehouse location in a different region, and you’ll be ok. Eventually, if you stay out of the occupied region for a while, the Cougar will lose interest and leave you alone. There will be a variety of feedback systems to keep you informed of Cougar activities, if you’re paying attention.

The Cougar’s attack is vicious (with its own new Affliction) and can end the game for you, but if you’re fast and lucky you’ll get a chance to counter-attack, and if you’re very lucky, you’ll kill it. Otherwise, it will escape to continue to hunt you down in a region it occupies. If you want to buy yourself more breathing room, you can seek out the Cougar’s den which exists somewhere in the world (a different place each game), and if you destroy the den with Noisemakers, Cougars will leave you alone for a long time. Eventually, though, they will return.

We think the Cougar will keep players on edge, and keep things interesting for those who are looking for a good long-term challenge, while also giving players the info they need to avoid Cougars altogether if that’s what they prefer.

Since we know having Cougars stalking you in the game might be a bit too stressful for some of our players, you’ll have the choice to include them in your game (or not) when you start a new one, and when we introduce them in the next update you’ll have the option to keep them out of your current save. We’re hoping that for most players, however, the Cougar becomes a force of nature that keeps them on their toes, keeps them moving and planning ahead, and adds an element of danger to long-term survival.

Mountain Pass Region (Name TBA)

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In Part Five, we’ll release the third and final new region for TALES. The Mountain Pass is our most vertical region so far, with plenty of steep and craggy terrain to pass through. You can follow the narrow road up higher and higher into the region, or take the lower path and rely on rope-climbs to find your way around. Keep an eye on key landmarks, including some human-made locations, like the Weather Station. In general, the weather in this region is bad, and the higher you go, the colder it gets. We’ll announce the region’s final name at launch.

The Third Tale (Name TBA)

We’re also releasing the third and final Tale with Part Five. Taking place in the Mountain Pass region, this third Tale wraps up the Rüdiger storyline first started in “Signal Void” and continued in “Buried Echoes”. Note that if you’ve already finished Tales One and Two, you’ll be able to just continue straight into Tale Three. Completing the third Tale will provide you with some profile-level benefits (in the form of new Feats) so it’ll be worth your while to complete all three Tales. And doing so will give you a glimpse into some worldbuilding and mysteries that will be paid off in Episode Five.

Misery Mode

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We’ve been working on a new Experience Mode, specifically made for Interloper players who have maxed out that mode and are looking for a new level of challenge. Misery takes Interloper and ratchets up the difficulty by adding six new Afflictions that are applied over time. The purpose is to survive in the mode for as long as possible after all six Afflictions have come in, and while we’re not 100% sure yet as the mode is still being playtested (with some help from some of our Interloper players from the community), we suspect the Days Survived counts will be in the dozens and not the hundreds like some existing Interloper players are able to achieve. Just trying to keep the game fresh and challenging for a group of players in our community who really like punishment! Of course, this mode isn’t for everyone.

NOTE: Included for free in Survival Mode. You don't need to own TALES to get this.

Cheat Death System

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We’re adding an optional system that will allow you to cheat death.

Yes, our permadeath survival game is finally offering you a “way out” from Death that doesn’t involve backing up your save file!

How this will work is that upon dying in the game, players will have two options: Die (as they do currently), or Cheat Death. If they Die, their save is wiped as it is currently, and they can carry on as usual. If they Cheat Death, they’ll be offered a series of choices they need to make if they want to continue playing. These choices will offer a series of trade-offs, because while you can cheat death, you can’t cheat death for free. You’ll also have the opportunity to retrieve your pack with some of what you were carrying at the time of your death, but other aspects of the world will remain the same as they were when you died -- including resources and gear items you have stored in your favourite locations, places you have explored and looted, surveying progress, Tales completion progress, etc. Each time you cheat death, the game will become progressively more difficult for you, and you can cheat death up to three times (4 total “lives”). Your final life will be very difficult.

You can Cheat Death once, twice, three times, or not at all. At each death you’ll have to make the decision about how you want to continue, if you do.

This is the first change to our permadeath system that we’ve ever made in the game, and we hope it brings a new dimension to gameplay for those of our players who just aren’t ready to lose their favourite survivor, or those who just want something fresh. We’d love to see players get into the spirit of this and give it a try instead of backing up their saves and continuing without consequences.

NOTE: Included for free in Survival Mode. You don't need to own TALES to get this.

WINTERMUTE, Episode Five

We’re still busy working on it and we’ll have more to say about it later this year, as mentioned in the December dev diary, where we revealed the episode title.

TALES on Switch

We were originally hoping to release TALES on Switch last week, but unfortunately we ran into several issues with memory and optimization with a few of the bigger regions in the game, which also resulted in some crashes we’ve been working on. We believe we are close to having the crashes resolved, and once those are fixed, the build will be submitted first to our internal Test team for final verification, and then when they give it the greenlight, it’ll go to Nintendo. Once the build is with Nintendo, it can take up to 20 days to pass their Certification, at which point we can release it to you.

So based on our current timelines, we think we’ll have TALES available on Switch by the second half of June. Please note that this will mean Parts One to Four of TALES, along with all the free updates to the “base” Survival mode, will all be released and the game will be updated to the current version available on the other platforms. The free updates will also be available to anyone who owns the game on Switch, not just people who own TALES, just as on the other platforms. 

Afterwards, once Part Five is released on Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation, we will also submit it to Nintendo for the same approval process, which means we hope Part Five is available about a month after Parts One to Four are released. Part Six will follow the same process, with the Switch lagging the other platforms by about a month.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to sharing the update video for TALES, Part Five, when it releases in the second half of June. We’ll share a more precise date once we have it.

Stay safe out there.

- Raphael

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Edited by Raphael van Lierop
Added clarification that Cheat Death and Misery will be included in Survival for free.
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It all sounds extremely interesting,and as for the cougar...worrying for a pilgrim player😁.   Looking forward to seeing how it all comes into play..

Thank you for all the hard work you've all been putting in.

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Posted (edited)

I hope there'll be visual cues about Cougar's whereabouts / warnings.

It's already hard figuring out where a nearby wolf is because of my hearing disability (thankfully, there's a mod that tracks A.I's positions but still).

Edited by thekillergreece
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  • Hinterland
3 minutes ago, thekillergreece said:

I hope there'll be visual cues about Cougar's whereabouts / warnings.

It's already hard figuring out where a nearby wolf is because of my hearing disability (thankfully, there's a mod that tracks A.I's positions but still).

There will be multiple methods of feedback, not just auditory. But of course if you feel this is insufficient based on accessibility needs, please share that feedback when you've had a chance to play with it.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, odium said:

if you kill the cougar is he gone forever? 

This question is answered, it will be gone for a while but not forever !
Edit : I'm sorry, this is not exactly true, I guess we'll have to see what actually killing it does
--
I feel that this cougar is targetting slow players like me, I don't know if it's good or bad yet, but it will definitely shakes the game for me.

Edited by Quinine
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I love the idea of cheat death (but not for free). I've made some stinker mistakes in the past that have left me cursing at the screen. If cheat death is available I'd be happy to continue with some kind of penalty, knowing that penalty was my own dumb fault. Instead of "we go again".

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1 minute ago, Quinine said:

This question is answered, it will be gone for a while but not forever !
--
I feel that this cougar is targetting slow players like me, I don't know if it's good or bad yet, but it will definitely shakes the game for me.

i dont believe it was.  he said if you destroy its den it will come back.  i want to know if i seek the cougar out itself and put an arrow in its head, does it come back? 

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Very excited to try the new features and get sucked back into the game again, thank you guys for your continued ability to turn out great content with the resources you have.

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I like most of what I'm seeing here. However I'm not much of a fan of the cheat death system. I understand that it's optional but I feel like players knowing that death isn't the end wiil affect their decision making process and drastically alter the way they play and the overall feel of the game. But I am curious to see how it's implemented and what choices we'll have to make. I hope there's a custom mode option to not include it at all in our survival saves. 

But everything else I love the sound of. The cougar sounds terrifying and difficult and I love difficulty in this game. I hope it feels natural and the mechanics behind it aren't too noticable. 

Mountain Pass looking sweet, probably gonna take the spot as my favorite region. 

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Ohh the cougar is interesting! That’s going to apply to all the survival games not just the tales stuff, right? I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it. When I played the Bear challenge, I was very anxious 😂 I think I hang out in the same regions too long for something like this 😭

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8 minutes ago, odium said:

i dont believe it was.  he said if you destroy its den it will come back.  i want to know if i seek the cougar out itself and put an arrow in its head, does it come back? 

Yes you are right, I edited my post in between !
By the look of it, I have a feeling that you won't be able to shoot it from afar and that it will be a struggle of some sort. But it's just a vague feeling...

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Posted (edited)

I do admit, this gives me a bunch of mixed signals regarding the game design, but overall I think it's a solid update. Still a bit disappointed that there is nothing about the Trader or Safehouse Customization, but oh well. My thoughts on this update:

 

1. Cougar: Personally, I love the idea. It sounds gimmicky, but it's a great idea in my eyes to force people to actually move. As someone who practically lives on Jackrabbit Island this will be interesting to see. I am not gonna leave my precious island behind so I guess I will replace my moose carpet with cougar carpet. Or die, but that only ever happened once when I was new.


2. Cheat Death: Personally, I think that was wasted resources that could and should have been spent elsewhere. People who want to cheat death could and have done for years already so adding it partially into the game is wasted time in my eyes. Either you already cheated or you didn't. But I guess this may be interesting for some custom challenges people do or for some weird individuals out there who think cheating is morally ok if the devs allow it. Up to you. It's singleplayer after all.


3. Mountain Pass: Not much to say about it, but I like the idea that temperature gets worse the higher you go. Also the concept art makes me curious. I know that Forsaken Airfield wasn't received that well, but I like the fact it was easy to navigate. I don't have issues navigating around maps like Hushed River Valley or similar, but I prefer maps with big streets. Easy to chill on.


4. Third Tale: Not gonna say anything besides the fact that I am excited to play it.


5. Misery Mode: As I have spent practically 90% of my playtime on Interloper and having no interest in starting over yet again in a higher difficulty, I'll pass on this one. I love the idea of a new, even harder mode, but personally I think I'll take this as an opportunity to do what I have been planning on doing for a while now: Going back to Voyageur, or more precisely: A Voyageur-ish Custom Mode. Farewell Interloper (I will watch some peeps play Misery Mode tho because I enjoy seeing people suffer. Speaking of suffering tho: Whoever had the idea of making the Cougar a "Get off this damn map, idiot", I applaud you. It's sadistic in the greatest way).

Edited by Laika Ivanova
Formatted it for better reading.
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53 minutes ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

Cougars are very territorial, and will get interested in you when you start to spend a lot of time in one region. If you hang around in one region for too long, they will take an interest in the region and occupy it.

Genius

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