This is a quick announcement to let you know that the influence period for Chapter 1 will be wrapping up in just under two weeks, on September 10.
That gives you two more weekends to complete Chapter 1 in order to make your mark on Iskendrun’s Balance of Power and the city’s leaders!
Once the Chapter 1 influence period ends on September 10, the Balance of Power and other under-the-hood influences will be locked in and will no longer change (you can still play the game as much as you want!). This will let us begin parsing your decisions and writing Chapter 2!
As a reminder, this is how the system works:
A chapter is released, with a several-week period where player decisions influence the state of the game world via the Balance of Power and other under-the-hood methods
After the influence period is up, we lock in the Balance of Power and other decision vectors as they stand
We then use this information to write the next chapter
You can play up to the most recently released chapter after the influence period is over, including alternate branches of the story; it just won’t affect the next chapter’s story
We release the new chapter, and the cycle repeats!
If you have any questions, please let us know in the forums (this announcement is cross-posted on our Steam forums)! Now get out there and make your presence felt!
It has been a little over a week since City of the Shroud launched on Steam, and players are already having a dramatic impact on the state of the game world. As we work our way through each chapter, we will be posting semi-regular updates on developments within the game world to keep you up to date. Welcome to the State of Iskendrun: Volume 1!
A brief explanation for those who are new to the workings of the city: as players work their way through the branching story of Chapter 1, every decision they make impacts the the Balance of Power between the five factions vying for control. This Balance of Power is shared by everyone - every player’s every decision permanently alters the future course of the story as written by us, the developers.
On top of this, you as players will make decisions at critical junctures in the story that impact how the faction leaders view and relate to each other. At the start of the tale, each leader has two allies and two enemies, but based on your choices, allegiances are already beginning to shift...
As of the morning of August 20 when I took this screenshot, the current Balance of Power is:
The Merchant Queen, Azura nin Fateh, is the current leader of the pack, followed by the Syndicate Leader, Zem. Trailing them are the Rebel Commander, Omar; the Head Priest, Navid; and Sohrab, Captain of the City Guard. But their lead isn't set in stone yet - since the end of last week, Navid & Sohrab have risen from only 2% to 12% -- at the expense of Zem and Omar.
What will Azura's allies and enemies think of her jump to prominence, if indeed it remains by the close of this chapter?
The faction leader's alliances will be playing a major role in how the story unfolds in future chapters, so your choices will have massive repercussions for the city of Iskendrun and its citizens - and the choices you’re making are very, very exciting. We can't say more or we'll leak spoilers, but we're excited to see where you're taking the city!
This is one of the most fun aspects about working on a game like this - it’s thrilling to see how you all are impacting the world and the decisions you make take form. It’s truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to see where this all leads.
P.S.: In general, we intend to provide details on future updates to the game, patch notes, and other information in separate posts. For now, the State of Iskendrun will focus keeping players up-to-date on developments within the game world. Suggestions are still welcome, of course!
We’re launching the game on August 9 on Steam! Chapter 1 will be available for Windows and Mac for you to experience, and influence, the story of Iskendrun and its inhabitants.
Chapter 1 is big! It’s got five narrative branches, multiple boss fights, tons of quests, rebindable controls (you can play with one hand on a controller!), multiple difficulties, adjustable game speed, adjustable text speed, our Balance of Power story-influencing system - and that’s not even everything. There’s a lot going on!
We’ve been working extra hard to get the game to this point, and there’s still plenty of bug fixing and polish to do between now and release, but we’re really happy with how the game has come together.
In fact, last month we added a frequently requested feature we call “Wait Mode.”
What is Wait Mode?
When we took the game to shows, we’d often get asked if there was a way to pause the game so that it’d be possible to survey what was going on or to issue commands. After a lot of hard work and planning, we found a way!
You can now press the (rebindable!) Wait Mode button and the action will freeze - except you can still navigate the map and issue commands to your characters.
That means it’s possible to pull off simultaneous combos across characters, like this:
Staggering Shot + Combobreaker!
Now, if you want the game to play slower and give you unlimited time to deliberate your next move, the option is there!
Want the game to be faster but to let you pause to issue commands? Done!
Or, you can disable Wait Mode altogether and play the game in its “classic” setup. The choice is yours!
Visible Status Effects
We also made another quality-of-life improvement: the status effects on a given character are now visible in the UI, along with how much time is left on them and how many stacks there are.
Say one of your Brutes is Corrupted - you’ll see a Corruption icon next to their entry in the side UI along with how many stacks (if applicable!) of that status effect they have. The grey countdown circle shows you how much time is left on the effect, too!
That’s a lot of Corruption all at once!
Getting Ready for Launch
Before the rush and excitement of launching the game consumes me entirely, I want to take a moment to cover the Kickstarter rewards we'll be preparing ahead of the August 9 launch.
First, we’ll be preparing the wallpaper(s!) and soundtracks to send out ahead of release. These should arrive digitally before the game releases.
One thing to note about the soundtrack: we still have something up our sleeve, so the soundtracks will be “updated” at a later date… ;)
Once Chapter 1 is out (and I’m able to reclaim some semblance of sanity), we’ll start in on the remaining rewards that don't need to wait on anything anymore, like physical goods. The production journal is an ongoing process (we have to finish the story, after all!), so that's still a ways out, and the remaining design-related rewards will benefit from being able to play the game to inspire ideas
Thank you all for your support and patience over the years. It took longer than we thought it would, and we encountered all sorts of unexpected obstacles in the course of this journey, but we’re now ready to release Chapter 1 to you and get the story of City of the Shroud into your hands - both literally and figuratively!
We are so grateful for your support in getting here; we couldn’t have done it without you. We’ll be back with more announcements before the August 9 launch, so until then, thank you x 1,000,000!
I hope you’re excited for City of the Shroud’s impending release this summer! It’s been quite the journey, and there’ll be even more once the story gets underway, but in the meantime, I wanted to let you know what we’re up to!
You can probably guess, but we’re working hard to polish up the game to get it ready for launch! We’re currently hooking up the final bits of conversational logic, testing out all of the battles to find any remaining bugs, and making some final adjustments to improve the user experience (UI adjustments, etc.).
This means playing the heck out of the game, trying to break it as much as possible. To give you an idea of the kinds of things we’re working on, yesterday I found that one of our portal effects, which uses wind physics to swirl little glowy bits around and into itself, would suck other particles - like attack effects - into it if the characters using them were too close. Watching the smoke from Disintegrate a well as my healing spell get sucked into a portal was pretty cool, but not exactly what we’re going for in terms of gameplay (the moves worked fine!).
Also, to tide you over while you wait for Chapter 1, the PAX demo is now available on Steam for backers and folks who have pre-ordered. To access it, just follow the instructions in the image below:
Note that you have to enter the password and click Check Code BEFORE selecting “gameshow” from the drop-down list.
The new demo has the tutorial from the beginning of the game as well as a preview of one of our boss fights. It’s similar to the Rezzed demo’s boss fight, but we switched up the team to include the Machinist. Try to unleash his Ultimate ability, Skyfall - it’s a blast!
PAX itself was a blast - tons of people played the game (tons), and the response was great. The dialogue was a hit, players really enjoyed the combat, and we even got interviewed several times. A couple of those interviews went for over an hour! (My throat did not survive, but thanks to the memory foam in my shoes, my feet and back did.)
Indie MEGABOOTH was also a wonderful and humbling experience - it was an honor to be among so many great games and meet so many extraordinarily talented developers. I’d like to give special shout-outs to Hidden Achievement, developers of the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game on Steam, ysbyrd games, LUNARSIGNALS and their game The Moon Fields, Tangled Mess Games, who are making Volantia, and Craig Barnes, composer on Streets of Rogue. From helping me lug all of the PCs and literal bags of sand to my car, to being amazing friends and booth-mates - thank you!
And to the backer who stopped by the booth while I was occupied - thank you!! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to talk with you more, and I hope you didn’t catch the con plague (I did…)!!
Overall, PAX was great - there were tons of interesting people, a stream of fun, fantastic players, homemade (life-saving) cough-drops, and plenty of adventures along the way. Even my car refusing to start for several hours in just-above-freezing weather in a parking garage only to turn on instantly once the tow truck arrived couldn’t dampen the experience (also, I got to eat good ramen).
With that, I hope you’re excited to enter the world of Iskendrun and fight to determine its fate - we’re almost there!