What’s this? A developer update? We haven’t put one out since March believe it or not. Time flies!
We’ve got a few things to talk about in this update, as well as what the future holds for Valko. Let’s get started!
While we would usually save talking about the new chapter until the end, we thought it would make sense to bring it up first as people often don’t read to the end (shame on you!).
How close is chapter 6?
Chapter 6 is really close. It’s actually nearly 100% playable, most of the new monsters are in and hunting, the puzzles are working, the environments are set up. Basically, we’re almost there.
So what’s taking time, you may ask? Well. For those not “in the know”, chapter 6 will be the final story chapter of Labyrinthine. This is where the story will end, at least for now, and that means we need to make sure to tie up loose ends and bring everything together. For those eagle-eyed players who check the pipeline, you may notice that we have had a planned “story revamp” for a while now. There’s a few events and systems we wanted to do for that revamp that we are implementing into chapter 6. Basically, we have a bunch of lore work to go into Chapter 6 that is taking a little bit of time. We have also contacted a few dedicated players to have them do some voice work, including the voicing of a certain character who can be found down in the mines.
Where is chapter 6 set?
Chapter 6 will continue on from the end of Chapter 5. After leaving on the boat, you will cross the lake and arrive at the New Fir Silver Mine, the source of the Fir family’s wealth.
With Chapter 5 being open like Chapter 3, we wanted to bring Chapter 6 back to being an enclosed maze, much like Chapter 2 and Chapter 4. Expect to get lost!
How come you guys arent sharing more sneak peeks like you did with chapter 5?
We learned our lesson with Chapter 5, we shared too much and it definitely built a lot of hype, speculation and expectations that resulted in disappointment for a lot of people. We are purposefully trying to avoid any giving away too much, we’re taking the approach of “Release it with very little info and let players discover the chapter for themselves” with this one. We will say there will be some stuff players will not be expecting at all….
When can we expect it?
While we don’t give out any dates, we are aiming to have it in private testing at the very least by the end of the year.
What is the monster?
Everyone keeps asking what the monster will be. Simply put, it’s going to be a █████████ (click to reveal)
Last year’s Christmas cosmetics are spawning and will continue to do so until the end of the month. We also have several new ones coming very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the update!
Sick of purple beanies? Sick of camo caps? Then we have good news! We have a bunch of new cosmetics coming in a future update which should help reduce getting the same one repeatedly. There’s quite a lot of variation as some of them were done for an anniversary event that sadly didn’t get out in time. There’s no ETA on these but we plan to get them out sooner rather than later!
Yes, you read that correctly! We’re at a point now where adding some extra characters makes sense. For those who haven’t been around since the kickstarter, the original “male teen” character was used purely as a placeholder. We had the support of Zeke (Ezekiel_III) since he voiced clubfoot in the game, and as a thank you, we created him as a playable character.
When we hit kickstarter, our top reward was to have yourself created in game as a character. A close friend of Zeke (Swiftor) bought this package as a gift to Zeke and had Zeke’s partner, Kate (ClassyKatie) created as a surprise for him.
Since then, we’ve not felt that new characters held enough value to be a priority so we’ve just kept the same 3, however, with the game coming closer to full release, we’ve gone ahead and started working on some new characters for people to play with.
Virtual Reality (VR)
A large portion of our time the past few months has been spent trying to get VR working nicely with the game. This has included a lot of smaller optimisations, hours of internal testing and various discussions on how we want to implement things. So far, the reception from the private testers who have played in VR is overwhelmingly positive. We put out a VR feedback survey which gives us some insight into what people think. We will be showing you snippets of that survey below. Let’s look at some of the key points we wanted out of VR.
The biggest issue when tackling VR is motion sickness. To put simply, motion sickness is caused by your brain receiving mixed signals from various parts of your body, trying to figure out whether you are moving or stationary and essentially confusing itself, creating nausea and dizzyness. For those who don’t suffer from it, I envy you. Motion sickness is one of the worst feelings you can have.
We’ve been working to get things feeling as natural as possible and we’re happy to say we feel it’s at a point where most players will feel relatively okay while playing.
Immersion is so important in VR. We’ve looked at a lot of VR games and noticed so many have stiff, rigid characters that move or bend in really bizarre ways. While it’s hilarious to watch, it does break immersion when your friend is limbo dancing all over the screen.
With Labyrinthine, we wanted the characters to look as smooth and natural as possible. We have spent some time ensuring players sync up as close as possible and that movement is tracked as accurate as we could. Obviously we will still have amusing moments at high ping or when players are in weird positions but overall, we’re really happy with how natural and immersive it looks.
Easy to use
Another thing we wanted to tackle with VR was making it as easy to use as possible. Players should be able to pick up the controls within a few minutes of play and they should not feel clunky or confusing. We’ve toyed with a few different ideas, for example with item selection, we’ve looked at belts, glove icons and even hand symbols, but ultimately settled with a selection wheel for each hand.
Overall, we’re very happy with the controls. They might not be perfect and things may change but they feel intuative and easy to use.
New Maze Types
Alongside the new story chapter and VR implementation, we’ve also started work on the next maze type; The Carnival. This maze type will feature a new monster plus some more “ghostie style” jump scares.
Once Chapter 6 is completed, we will also be working through the other maze types we have planned. The goal is to have 3 maze types unlocked every 5 levels, capping out at lv25. There is another planned “easter egg” level which will make an appearance but these are the mazes we have planned before moving from early access to full release.
In the next few months, the merchandise side of things will be changed up a little. It’s going to be moving to it’s own store where we can introduce more non-Labyrinthine products. We will also be expanding out the designs and creating a bunch of new products as well as creating limited-edition items and expanding what is available. Who knows, we might even do the plushies people keep begging for!
The Future of Labyrinthine
Wait, with all the story chapters completed, what happens once the maze types are done?
You might be wondering what our long-term plans are for Labyrinthine. When we set out developing Labyrinthine, the plan was very different from what you see today. We have expanded it massively from it’s original concept, adding in various features that just weren’t in the initial draft such as cosmetics, random generation, daily objectives, new monsters, new mazes etc.
Our plan right now is to complete Chapter 6, Get the new maze types that are planned out, add some more lore/rework parts of the early game and also look at increasing the amount of “variant” monsters in the case files.
When we complete everything mentioned above, Labyrinthine will technically be “completed”. At this point, Labyrinthine will be in “maintenance mode” for the most part. This is quite a subjective term but to us, it means we will continue to fix bugs and we aim to add smaller bits of content (new cosmetics, maybe maze types or even monsters etc). We don’t have any intention to “abandon” it or neglect Labyrinthine players, so maintenance mode simply means it won’t be the team’s main focus.
What about DLC?
DLC has been talked about multiple times and is a very real possibility. While it wouldn’t be worked on immediately after release, a DLC in the not so distant future isn’t unreasonable. What we do with DLC depends mainly on player feedback.
We could do a couple extra story chapters; This could be something as simple as experiencing the “Jonny Honk’s Happisburg Hedge Maze” as it was intended or as elaborate as following the footsteps of another group visiting one of the other regions of the maze.
We may also look at doing “Maze Packs” which would add new case files, monsters and cosmetics.
Either way, in keeping with our values, we would price the DLC to be as user friendly as possible and we may only require the host to have the DLC.
And a sequel?
We don’t have any plans for a sequel at this time and things we may want to implement will likely be done to the original game through DLC. That said, who knows what the future holds; we will be leaving the game’s story at a point where we can continue it, if we choose to do a sequel in the future.
So, what's next for Valko Game Studios?
With Labyrinthine “completed”, we will be shifting focus onto one of our other upcoming projects (we have a lot planned!). While we originally wanted to stray from horror and both enjoy creating more colourful and vibrant environments as well as showing that we plan to be genre-diverse, we think it only makes sense given the audience that our next project is one of our planned cooperative horror games.
We’re not giving out too much detail just yet, as we’d like to formally announce it once we have more to show. What we are willing to reveal though, is that it will be a four player co-op horror with a focus on smart AI. It won’t be maze based and it will have replayability. We’re excited for it!