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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Underrail Expedition

Infinitron

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Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

With the Underrail: Expedition expansion coming out next week, it's a fine time to publish Diggfinger's interview with Underrail creator Dejan Radisic AKA Styg. The original plan was for Diggfinger to actually visit the Stygian Software office in Belgrade, but that didn't work out. That may have been for the best however, because it gave him time to gather additional questions from the community. It's a brief piece and Styg isn't ready to talk about his plans for after the expansion yet, but there are a few welcome bits of information in here. Here's an excerpt:

Underrail: Expedition is releasing on July 22nd. Which of the expansion's features are you most excited about?

Not any feature in particular, but I'm very excited to see how people experience the new content as a whole. New mechanics and goodies aside, we put a lot of work in improving the quality of the content itself - the overall world design, dungeon design, dialogs, etc, so I hope that it bears fruit and that the players recognize it. Also, due to how the campaign is structured, players will have a lot of freedom on how and in what order they approach it. Will they side with this or that faction or no faction, will they rush into dungeons, wage war on the natives or maybe just explore the waters on their jet ski? It will be a lot of fun to watch people play the game on the internet.

The original development schedule for Expedition was around six months long, with the expansion slated for a 2017 release. What made you decide to extend development? Was it an ongoing process of adding new elements, or did you underestimate the time it would take to realize your original ideas?

A bit of everything. The project was overly ambitious to begin with and as we started fleshing out all the things we wanted to implement it turned out it'd take a lot more time to implement them properly. At this time we began raising the standards of the content that was being produced so zones started coming with more custom visual pieces, mechanics, lore, etc so it took a lot more time to make them than we originally anticipated.

Also we did a lot of work on the base game, some of which we considered prerequisite to the expansion itself - such as the water areas that connect Underrail and Black Sea. And now that we had those areas, we had to fill them with some content and quests and have this or that faction have its presence there and add narrative elements to support/recognize this… and so forth. We also added new creatures to the base game, fleshed out the difficulty levels, added the global map, which in turn required us to make the game (more) geographically consistent, which required adding more areas… you get the picture by now.

And also, sometimes we just get a cool idea how we can spice up some part of the game and we can't help but work it in, even though we are fully aware that we're being subject to feature creep. In the end I think that, despite waiting, you guys will be the end beneficiaries of our questionable project management.

Are there any major changes in terms of quest design in Expedition? Can we expect more choice and consequence than the base game, or is it more combat-focused?

Those are not mutually exclusive. The game will be as combat-focused as ever and this is never going to change. However, we did improve on C&C aspect of the content as well and also gave the player a lot of freedom on how they will approach the content. They can take an active part in the workings of one of the factions of the Black Sea (expedition or pirates, but not natives) and their conflicts, resolve certain events in favour of one or the other or just keep to themselves and let the factions go at it themselves.

Why did you choose to develop a mid-game instead of post-game expansion? Was it hard to balance it with the content of the base game (ie, ensuring players don't end up with overpowered characters in the endgame)?

It was probably a mistake. If we just made Expedition as a separate stand-alone campaign, I think we could have made it even bigger and saved up a year of development or so. We'd also be free from a lot of lacklustre design and mechanical constraints that are a result of having to keep the entire game world consistent. Aside from improving the difficulty spectrum during the development of the expansion itself, we didn't really do any balancing in that regard, so it wasn't hard at all. We might, at some point, go back to DC and up the challenge there for the playthroughs that went through the DLC. It will be development time well spent, since it's everyone's favourite part of the game.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: Underrail Expedition
 

luj1

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Why did you choose to develop a mid-game instead of post-game expansion?

It was probably a mistake. If we just made Expedition as a separate stand-alone campaign, I think we could have made it even bigger and saved up a year of development or so...

Interesting piece of insight
 

Shadenuat

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It's quite obvious I think. I also think players would be much more interested in picking up game for new campaign than to restart whole game anew just to see new content.
 

Drowed

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The problem with post-game expansion is the fact that most players nowadays don't usually finish the game. Then you'd be creating something for a fraction of your audience, which is already a niche audience. I think the idea is really to create a standalone expansion/game where you can import your save from the previous game, but can also create a new character at the appropriate level (or perhaps choose between some premade characters).
 

lukaszek

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deterministic system > RNG
 
Last edited:

Q

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I really want to play this, but don't want to search for a correct save or start anew. A shame.
 

Heretic

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A great interview, thanks to both sides.

A D1P for sure.

I don't mind starting a new playthrough, I wanted to try out a new build anyway.
 

HoboForEternity

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
what would be different making it a mid game vs post game that it would take alot more time doing the mid game expac? assuming the content is almost the same, it just take place during vs after main story. is the development process different? all i can think is you only have to adjust the dialouge and events so it don't break/contradict any of main story lore/events
 

thesheeep

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It's quite obvious I think. I also think players would be much more interested in picking up game for new campaign than to restart whole game anew just to see new content.
Normally, yes.
But by now the game has been out for so long that old playthroughs have been done years ago. So at this point a mid-campaign addition is actually quite nice and the "old content" isn't quite as fresh in the memory.
 

Drowed

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Sometimes I forget that Underrail was released in December/2015. It's 3 and a half years now! When I think that since I heard about the expansion release I've been waiting to get back into the game... Time flew by in the blink of an eye. You really realize that you're getting older when years go by and everything seems like it was yesterday.
 

Stavrophore

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Cool work picture, i like that you are just the ordinary guys that are down-to-earth. No fake bullshit. I mean i wish you success and funding like big studios -bethesda or obsidian but attaining such status means there won't be game like underrail anymore:negative:

I just wish i had a time off from work after 22.07 :(
 

MurkyShadow

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We might, at some point, go back to DC and up the challenge there for the playthroughs that went through the DLC. It will be development time well spent, since it's everyone's favourite part of the game.

:hmmm:

Brace yourselves for Stygian Software's coming revelation of their next project:

Deep Caverns - The Dungeon Crawler

Experience the depth, combined with the length, of the original Underrail and its two expansions!
Experience the Deep Caverns like you have never experienced them before!
Experience a form of existential dread that has been lost in modern games!

:cool:
 

Stavrophore

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We might, at some point, go back to DC and up the challenge there for the playthroughs that went through the DLC. It will be development time well spent, since it's everyone's favourite part of the game.

:hmmm:

Brace yourselves for Stygian Software's coming revelation of their next project:

Deep Caverns - The Dungeon Crawler

Experience the depth, combined with the length, of the original Underrail and its two expansions!
Experience the Deep Caverns like you have never experienced them before!
Experience a form of existential dread that has been lost in modern games!

:cool:

Just show me on the doll where the deep caverns touched you!
 

MurkyShadow

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They touched me in my shrivelled heart and withered soul.
They made this old glittering gem of hatred feel love again.
I went into the caverns like in any other place, and I
emerged forever changed.
:love:
 

Kev Inkline

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A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Why did you choose to develop a mid-game instead of post-game expansion?

It was probably a mistake. If we just made Expedition as a separate stand-alone campaign, I think we could have made it even bigger and saved up a year of development or so...

Interesting piece of insight
Also refreshing, I'm sure most devs admit their mistakes, but this close to release? I'm hard pressed to remember such cases. :salute:

Will add to backlog D1.
 

Jezal_k23

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Probably a sunk cost fallacy thing. They started doing the work they wanted to do, and then it started increasing exponentially until they knew they were in deep shit and this would genuinely take forever. But they started it so they can't stop now, might as well go on. But at the end of the day what matters is that they succeeded in doing what they set out to do and did it well and released a great product.
 

Trashos

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My main issue is that the expansion is released just as I am taking my annual vacation away from civilization. I know what I will be playing in September though, I freaking love this game.

Can't wait to try the new builds and the new psi school. I am also hoping that some of the loose ends of the storyline are tied in the expansion, and Styg promises that in the interview, but somehow I am not too optimistic on this.
 

HoboForEternity

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
I am also hoping that some of the loose ends of the storyline are tied in the expansion, and Styg promises that in the interview, but somehow I am not too optimistic on this.
No, I don't.
if the next project isn't underrail 2, i will fly to serbia and swap all your vodkas with sparkling water
 

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