TJD2 has sort of reached alpha!
“Cool!!!!!! But what does that mean????” I hear you ask, in excited confusion.
That’s a highly warranted question, I’m glad you asked, you clever reader, you! “Alpha” can mean anything from “proof of concept” to “almost beta” in the games industry, so it’s a pretty useless term to measure progress with unless you define it more specifically. This is how we have chosen to define alpha (written in italics to emphasize how scientific we are!):
The game should be fully playable from start to finish, with all puzzles and story-related material implemented to the extent that the player can play through the entire game, deduce all solutions to the puzzles without external hints, and follow the motivations and grand plot of the game without any extra-game explanation.
So, why do I say we’ve sort-of reached alpha? Well, we did our first real live user test yesterday and watched two guys battle the plots and puzzles of TJD2 pretty much entirely unassisted by us. At some key points we had to intervene and drop clues, but I’d argue that these are things that we will easily have implemented into the game before the week is through.
The total play-time totaled on a beautiful five and a half hours, which is pretty much exactly what we had been wishing for. Some things took a little longer than I expect they will in the finished version, due to lack of clues, and some things went a little faster, due to several characters and locations being underdeveloped. We hope to greatly increase the amount of dialogue and lore-exploration in the game, which I suspect will add another hour or so to the game, unless you’re a rusher. But TJD is no game for rushers, frankly. But again, some things will likely go a little faster to solve in the final build, so five and a half hours might be a good rough estimate of where the final game might land.
So, a giant thank you to our first brave test pilots Erik and Jörgen. You guys are awesome for lending your free time for this!
Oh and the pic, which you likely envy as hell, is of Mathias, sporting our brand new TJD tshirt. We had them done for casual connect, which I personally won’t be attending, but my colleagues Henrik and Mathias will. If you’re going, be sure to hook up with them to see their awesome tshirts in all of their real life glory!