It’s been a little while since Chapter 6 came out and we haven’t pushed any content updates beyond cosmetics, so we thought we would fill everyone in with what is going on behind the scenes.
Chapter 6 Retrospect
First up, we’re going to talk about Chapter 6 with a retrospective look. Overall, Chapter 6 has been really well received and we’re really happy with that.
It’s always difficult when creating new chapters as there is both an expectation for it to be “new and exciting” while also adhering to the earlier parts of the game. A good example of this is Chapter 5. We took the open feeling of Chapter 3 and applied it on a larger scale. As discussed in previous posts, Chapter 5 had it’s own set of problems but a lot of people didn’t like that “out of the maze” experience. When creating chapter 6, we knew we wanted to bring back that feeling of being lost in the dark, similar to chapter 4 while also introducing some new environments.
Some Common Complaints addressed
There’s a few points that seem to come up fairly regularly;
- The Miner is too difficult.
This seems to be the biggest issue players have and we are going to be placing some things to help people handle him. The miner has a mechanic that we had assumed most people would guess or at least try. If you’re not wanting spoilers, feel free to skip to the next section before we continue on. His mechanic is focused around turning off your lightsources and hiding. While a lightsource is visible, his detection range is greatly increased but when there is no light, he can only spot you by shining his lantern on you or hearing you. This makes him fairly trivial and we think that most players won’t have a hard time with him once we make it more obvious what to do in game. Another factor that may make people feel he is too hard is that we keep him close to players at all time to put the pressure on, but again, once you know the mechanic, most people we have watched have no issues handling him.
- The Mine is too big/complex
So this one was surprising. While it is fairly large overall (just under twice the size of chapter 2), the actual layout is much simpler than the maze layouts for both Chapter 2 and Chapter 4. A community member, Viktor, has done a great map here Viktor’s Chapter 6 Maps that shows just how simple the map is. We think the issue with the map is that, like Chapter 4, much of it looks very similar and with the collapsing walls, it’s easy to become lost and wandering in loops, especially in near-total darkness. We are looking to add some more props to help break up the areas that players are commonly looping.
- The Story makes no sense?
For the casual player, we can understand it. Unless you are paying attention to notes, names and dates, it can seem a little random at times. We’ve had a lore rework planned for a while now and this will be coming post-case file update; it should help tie things together easier for most people. The lore as it stands is cohesive and we have an internal document that outlays everything including how the monsters came to be, but it does require the player to put things together and “work out” some details. If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to lose track of who is who.
These seem to be the most common complaints we see and hopefully this helps address them.
But wait, the ending, it's anti-climatic!
One final complaint we often get is that the ending is too vague/anti-climatic. This is actually by design. We discussed how we wanted to end the game and there were several options, but ultimately we wanted it to be loose and maliable, so that we could revisit it in some way down the line. As it stands now, the fate of the workers is unknown, the mine has collapsed and what lies beyond is a complete mystery.
As we mentioned in our previous blog post, a second horror project is already underway and we have design documents done for many more potential projects down the line. We cannot deny though, Labyrinthine has grown way beyond it’s original concept and has been a labour of love that has attracted a lot of die-hard fans. We would love to revisit the story at some point, whether that is through a story DLC or in the form of a sequel. There are a ton of things we would do differently if we were to start again, including workshop support, more mechanics to deal with monsters and the ability to create larger lobbies.
A sequel would be the perfect opportunity to bring these ideas to life. The limiting factor is that we’re a small team and we really want to release some of our other planned projects first. Budgeting resources to make a sequel at this time isn’t realistic. A DLC on the other hand could be completed fairly quickly as the existing core mechanics are all in place, so really it will be a decision to make once we get our next project or two out.
Just quickly, we also wanted to mention that we have a “supporter edition” of Labyrinthine in the works. The supporter edition will include unique cosmetics, music and a couple new glowstick colours.
The Case File Update
For those who aren’t part of discord (you really should be! https://discord.gg/valkogamestudios), you may not be aware of the “case file update”. Originally we had planned for it to just be a rebalance of the existing case files with a new map, the Carnival. We decided however to delay the update and instead bring out a bunch of content all at once. Here’s what you can expect.
The M.P.A.S and the high power flashlight
Two new pieces of equipment are coming to case files:
- The Magnetic Polarity Adjustment Spike or M.P.A.S is a powerful magnetic device that can be planted anywhere on the map. Once placed, your compass will instead be drawn to it, allowing you to mark out exits and things like cosmetics.
- The High Power Flashlight is a much stronger flashlight that can reach further than the standard flashlights, making it much easier to see what’s ahead in the dark.
More findable equipment
Forget to put a revival bracer into your backpack? Need an extra flaregun? Maybe you’re thirsty and want some energy?
This update will have more spawns for items in the maze. Alongside tickets and rerolls, we will also be including equipment spawns too!
We know people are eager for more cosmetics to hunt and we also know the pain of finding that same cap over and over. This next update will be bringing in a lot more “common” cosmetics to help diversify the cosmetic pool as well as a “mercy” system to increase your chance of finding new cosmetics.
This will work by reducing your chance of finding a cosmetic that you’ve encountered recently, increasing the chance that you will find something new. You will still encounter the same cosmetics but it will be much less likely to be the same one over and over.
We also want to bulk out the hardcore cosmetics as the current selection is rather small.
Expect a lot of new cosmetics in the case file update, spanning all of the available cosmetic slots!
Originally, the case file update would ship with the carnival map. Since then however, we have decided to instead release several maps together to bring more variety when hunting cosmetics.
Please be aware, at the time of writing, none of the lighting is final. The fog city in particular may look drastically different.
First up, the carnival. This map is based around a carnival “fun house” and has environmental scares.
The final lighting hasn’t been set up yet in the images below. This map will be city alleyways under heavy fog.
The mines case file is based on Chapter 6 with some new additions to fit the case files.
The Dead Forest
The lighting is not finalised and may look very different. The fog forest is actually a bit of an experiment in an “open map”. There will be mazes but they will be contained within a wide, open map.
The Brick Maze
The Brick Maze was an early joke from when case files were first been worked on. It will be simple, quick to complete and have some themed cosmetics. It’s based on the old windows 95 screensaver
This map may not make the case file update, but it is in development. It will consist of an exterior jungle and an internal temple area. Here’s some screenshots of a couple assets.
New Monsters and Variants
Of course with so many new maps, new monsters are coming too! We don’t want to spoil them so we will just say that there are currently at least 4 brand new monsters coming in the next update.
We will also be bringing some more monsters from the story into the cases files. Expect to see the Miner, Feeler and some of the Chapter 5 monsters make an appearance.
And finally, we have a bunch of variant monsters. For those not aware what variants are, they are variations on existing monsters which have a different look and different behaviours. There’s currently (at the time of writing) 3 variants in game so far, so we are hoping to expand them out.
We’ve done several reworks to the difficulty system over the past year or so already, however, we still aren’t 100% happy with it. We know a lot of players are hitting the point where nearly every map is a large extreme and we’re looking at reducing the rate of extreme maps and bringing in a change so that you will always have some relatively easy cases to play.
We have also discussed bringing back the “Giant” maps for higher levels (most likely post lv100) and that may make an appearance in the case file update. For those not aware, we reduced map sizes substantially a while back, but the Giant maps are still able to generate to the old larger sizes. To put it in perspective, a very large map is 35-40 square units (our units are roughly 3M) whereas a giant can be anywhere from 41 units up all the way to 150 square units, or potentially 3.75x the largest map currently available in the random cases.
Something else to hunt for will be lobby music discs. These will change the music in the lobby so that you can play your favourite save-room music or even some unreleased music that was originally intended for loading screens.
Feel free to check out the OST so far on youtube: Labyrinthine Official OST
We know audio has been an issue for a lot of people. While we have done audio rebalancing in the past, we will be doing a much larger overhaul of the audio for this next update.
Particularly, we will be adjusting the volume of bars, screams and also reducing any clipping that occurs.
We’ve mentioned this a couple times in blogs but if you haven’t reviewed us, please consider it, it only takes 30 seconds and really helps us out.
As with any kind of reviews, negative ones are given a lot easier than positive ones. We’ve had some groups that have been unhappy with Chapter 6 and rather than one person leave a review, all 4 have which takes around 16 positive reviews to counter. Of course we don’t mind genuine negative reviews but it can give the wrong impressions when 4 reviews in a row are all slating the game based on one group not liking the content.