Hi guys, Mike from Eleventh Hour Games back again to talk about our development cycle and what each phase means for you as a player and a backer as we head into our Kickstarter campaign. The specific timelines for the alpha, closed beta and open beta are very loose right now and we will release more detailed info about when we will hit these milestones later. We plan to be very communicative with our community throughout the entire process.
Currently, Last Epoch is in Pre-Alpha. This means that we are still conceptualizing systems, defining the world and building how we want things to work. The game is in a very fluid state and large-scale changes happen weekly. We are attempting to release a public demo version every 2-3 weeks. In this phase we are looking to the community for feedback to help shape development when we get funded. We are using this demo to show what we can make even in a short period of time with no funding to prove to you the community that we are ready to tackle the task of a full-scale game.
On April 17th, 2018 we will be launching our Kickstarter campaign. One month later, on May 17th, 2018 we will have completed our Kickstarter campaign. This will mark the end of the Pre-Alpha phase and the start of our alpha phase. At this point new versions of the game will no longer be freely available to the public. Backers who contributed enough to be included in the alpha phase will be given access to the alpha in a reasonably quick time frame. I’m not sure how long that will be but I can assure you that it will not be a massive wait to get your hands on our progress. We will have backer tiers that grant access to the game in the alpha and beta development phases. We will also have lower backer tiers that grant access to the closed beta. When we are closer to launch, we will open the game to a public beta for everyone to try out. When we are almost ready to launch, the game will enter the final stage of development, the Release Candidate phase.
When Last Epoch is in the alpha phase of development we will be finishing up the core systems and mechanics. We will be completing all the core features of the game and making it fully functional. Backers who have access to the alpha stage will get to see the game evolve from a demo to a video game with a story and full gameplay features. We will be relying on your feedback in this stage to find functionality bugs and make sure that the game will stand up to people trying to break it. Which let’s be honest, that’s one of the first things many of us try to do.
Once the game is fully feature complete, we will be starting our closed beta phase. In this closed beta phase, the primary focus will be finding bugs, balancing power levels and ensuring the game is fun and engaging to play. Backers who have access to the closed beta stage will get to see the game go from technically feature complete to fun and exciting. We will be relying on your feedback to find bugs and improve balance. We will continue to develop the story and bring the game forward into being a full experience.
Once we are happy with the experience being afforded to players in our game. We will open the game up to a public beta. This will most likely be free to access but we haven’t finalized that decision yet. If the game has a sticker price, access to the open beta might require a pre-purchase of the game. The primary focus in the open beta phase will be scaling and load testing the servers. We really want to get as many people into the open beta as possible to test at a larger scale so this will most likely be free. We will continue to find and fix bugs as well as improve balance and gameplay experience based on your feedback.
When the game is feeling solid, fun and engaging we will create a release candidate. This is a last chance for us to make changes to the game before a formal release. We will continue to make changes and issue new release candidates until we are happy with our product.
When the game is ready, we will be releasing it for you to enjoy. Our work won’t be done however. In the time after release we will monitor the game closely and continue to apply balance patches and bug fixes. Major changes will coincide with the start of a new league season. Minor or urgent changes will happen on a regular schedule or as we see fit. We will also begin creating new experiences for players almost immediately after launch. We will learn from what works well and what doesn’t work so well to be creating new content for players that will keep the game fun an fresh for years to come.
A more specific timeline for when these phase transitions are going to occur will be made available during our Kickstarter campaign.
If you have any questions, suggestions or just want to say hi, let me know with a reply.