Early Preview update + DreamHack Art Gallery + Q&A

Greetings everyone,

How are you doing? We’ve got a bit of catching up to do regarding the updates, so let’s start.

The early preview finalization got a bit more complicated than we had anticipated. Together with adding the RPG mechanics to all the choices, we also decided to properly set up the visual composition of all scenes (although using placeholder art for now – so all screenshots in this update use placeholder art). This has taken up some extra time as there is 7,000 of them. It wouldn’t make sense to serve you a half-baked experience and waste your time giving us feedback to something we would already know how to improve.

As we progressed we’ve been learning how to do it faster and there’s a straightforward solution for the future: once we’re done with the Early Preview and know the ins and outs of successfully finalizing a chapter, Andrej will hand over some of the activities to me so that we can speed things up.

We understand that many of you are very eager to get their hands on the Early Preview. We’re sorry for the delay and we really appreciate your encouraging comments over the last few weeks. I can’t stress enough how wonderful and supporting our community is.

So when is the Early Preview coming? We’re working hard to finish as soon as possible but want to be careful after learning that it’s hard to estimate. You’re definitely getting it before Christmas (note to Kamen42: Christmas 2018 ;-) ).

Good news is that we’re also reopening the chance for you to sign up for the Early Preview. All backers in the Firestarter tier and above are eligible and if you’re one of them, you can sign up.

Just look up my October email with the “Before the Early Preview comes” subject and fill in the form by December 6, 2018 (you don’t have to do it again, if you’ve already done so). If you can’t find the email and you’re eligible, just shoot me a message (martin@poeticstudio.com), I’d prefer not to spam everyone with the same email again.

DreamHack Art Gallery

Even though our sole focus now is the Early Preview, we’re happy that Sacred Fire is being noticed by new people. Andrej’s art has been selected for the Art Gallery at DreamHack Atlanta and DreamHack Winter in Sweden. The Atlanta event took place in mid November and DreamHack Winter is taking place now in Jönköping, Sweden so there’s still a chance to check it out. We won’t be present personally, but Sacred Fire’s art will be there. DreamHack is a huge event with tens of thousands of participants. Check out the Art Gallery at https://dreamhack.com/winter/participate/art-gallery/.

We’ve also answered a bunch of questions about the game in the Kickstarter comments and I thought it might be a good idea to share the answers with you all. So here’s some background info on the replayability and character relationships in Sacred Fire. The answers are provided by Andrej.

Q: How does Sacred Fire encourage multiple playthroughs?

A: I wouldn’t say Sacred Fire’s design focus is to encourage multiple playthroughs to get through every possible story branch. However, you can certainly play it that way if experiencing all branches is your goal. As you will see in the Early Preview there are distinct paths and endings even in the first chapter already.

Our focus when writing is to encourage a playthrough that feels like your own. So we want to give you the options to act, think and express yourself in a way that puts you in control of the story.

The goal is to create the best possible role-playing experience, not necessarily the best possible replay value. This means that ideally replayability shouldn’t come from “collecting” different branches but by assuming different roles and making decisions faithful to those roles.

What we’re really happy about is that there is an intrinsic replay value in the micro sense. With the success/failure outcomes of most checks in the gameplay, you can have a different experience, reading different lines, unlocking different choices, going through the same scenes differently, even if role-playing the same role.

Q: Will NPCs follow you even if you behave in an extreme manner? Will choosing one faction lock you out of interacting with other NPCs?

A: The dilemma between the patriot and warlord factions and the characters who represent them is not as clear-cut as it may seem at first glance. It’s a nuanced and rather volatile dynamic and you can lean one way or the other many times and each time the relationships and characters adapt. Not everyone will be friendly, but that doesn’t mean you can not work with hostile characters to survive.

That’s one of the key things in Sacred Fire design: relationships are not simply friendly or hostile. In every relationship there is friendship (goodwill like sympathy, respect, trust, favors) and hostility (things like mistrust, aversion, revenge, shame) at the same time, all the time.

It’s just a question of your choices that determine how likely it is a sentiment will manifest itself and how it plays out. Also every one of the key characters may die, every one may survive – so the consequences are not cosmetic. There is a life and death situation in the first chapter too.

Thank you for your patience and support!

Martin & Andrej

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