First, on Dates

This month we wanted to address a topic that comes up during game development—the topic of dates. When is alpha? When is beta? When is launch? I made a smaller post on facebook explaining why we cannot provide a date for alpha and beyond right now, and later I deleted that post in favor of giving a more in-depth response in this month’s newsletter. Pantheon fans are quick, though. The post was seen and reposted on reddit, so I’ll recap some of it here.

“TBA” is certainly not the answer anyone wants to hear, and it's not the answer we like to give. This fan concern is on the forefront of the entire team's mind.

Internally, we do have our goals set. Those goalposts, as with any project of this scope and breadth, are subject to change, and we have no desire to take you on the roller-coaster of shifting dates with us. We will share production dates with you when we are sure they are rock solid for delivery.

Reasons dates shift are varied and numerous. Sometimes new technology or a better way to do things comes into play. Other times something breaks that requires a great deal of attention. Other times we simply underestimate the time something will take. Sometimes more funding comes in, which accelerates development time. Sometimes bringing on new hires can slow things down temporarily as they are brought up to speed, with the goal of overall long-term acceleration. We’re also watching feedback and trying things as they are built, so sometimes an idea works well on paper but needs further refinement after we try a prototype. This can also sometimes change the scope of future sprints (short development periods to reach specific goals) leading up to a milestone. These kinds of things happen in all projects across all industries, but it is particularly noticeable in smaller independent projects that don’t start with a large budget, as these teams have to be a bit more agile and adaptable.

As a small, independent studio, from the get-go we needed to crowdfund Pantheon, which meant that we announced Pantheon far earlier than most other companies would. For early followers that means a long road. These types of MMOs take many years to make, particularly with a smaller, indie team like ours (even major studios with deep pockets take several years to create and launch an MMO).

We are thankful that so many have embarked on this epic journey with us. We are very keenly aware that the long wait can be wearing, so we are also committed to keeping all fans up to date on our development with a newsletter every month, without fail. You deserve it.

Please keep providing feedback, both positive and critical. It is extremely important to us, and we follow it closely. As an example, thanks to the community, we quickly realized we were missing the mark with the initial announcement for last month’s livestream with CohhCarnage. You reminded us it was important to see some of the progress we’ve been up to over the past couple of months, so we immediately took steps to adapt to a format that more closely matched what fans wanted to see.

You have our sincere commitment to continue to evolve and change how we create and present the game based on community feedback, whenever the changes are in line with the spirit and vision of the game.

And Now, the Updates

Project Faerthale has continued with some exciting advancements. Several animations have now gone into the client, the climbing system is now functional in-game, and the encounter we’ve talked about is nearing completion. Lots of VFX are helping make the encounter unlike anything you’ve seen in Pantheon before. Earlier this week, the VFX team shared some work that was done on the storm atmosphere. It is quite exciting when you start seeing the visualizations come together. As the camera pans away from the subject, details become obscured until it disappears into the massive storm. It’s pretty impressive.

The Art team has also been working a little on the areas leading up to the encounter. There is a definite change in environment, so the transition between the two has become a fun point of focus as it gets fleshed out and decorated.

And much more to come. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again in the next newsletter!

Ben Dean
Producer, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen