Last month, I made the decision to release a demo of Unearthed. Although Unearthed may seem like a innocuous little game project, it did pose some moral and legal concerns. Should I worry about receiving a cease and desist from Nintendo? Is it okay to post an IPS patch or ROM online? Would it be better to release nothing until the entire project is complete?
Obviously, I decided to go forward with the release… and the response was quite lovely. While I doubt more than a couple of hundred people actually played the game, it was nice to see so much support for the project on social media. The release also allowed me to do my first large scale beta-testing, which revealed some glaring balance issues and glitches within the game.
I also have decided to make some changes to the structure of the game, based on audience feedback. Here are some core concepts that I will be working towards in future iterations of the game:
- Less dialogue. I’m going to be making an effort to keep things a bit more concise and directed. I think the extra ROM space made me a little text-greedy.
- Less NPCs. I ended up removing a fair number of NPCs from the demo, and it worked rather well. Worlds that are full of two-dimensional characters are less intriguing to me than ones with fewer, more memorable ones.
- More intrigue. Teasing out some of the mysteries in the game will be a priority going forward. Chase’s location and ISAAC’s origin will take center-stage, but there are definitely a few other plot threads that deserve their place in the spotlight.
It may be a while before I release another formal Unearthed update, but I will be working on the project a bit over the summer. If you have any feedback on the game, feel free to get in touch.