Development has been smooth and efficient for the month of April, landing us from 20% completed to 50% completed. Jason and I have been incredibly hard at work polishing up and adding new areas to the game, and both composers and voice actors have been putting in 100%. Additonally, we realize a text-only update is boring. Media has been added and a video, a teaser of Part 2 game play, will follow later in the day.
A followup beta trial was launched and provided tremendous amounts of feedback, reassuring the team to rush to the finish line and also showing us many bugs and quirks we had overlooked, mainly audio/volume passing, pacing problems, and performance hitches.
Feedback from the beta was resoundingly positive, ranging from story applauds to two testers commenting our team was creating results to be expected from a Frictional Games release. I will leave the final judgment up to you, however, when we release both Part 1 Director's Cut and Part 2 on June 1st, 2011.
Now that is out of the way, I can really sit down and tell you what's been up. For starters, many technical improvements have been made. We have integrated puzzles into Part 2, and also underground sections of the game with vivid detail--like Catacombs
Part 2 is going to still be an expansive narrative, primarily on exploring varied environments and listening to the narrator, reading diary entries, and surviving the various horrors and puzzles throughout. For those of you who think this is boring, rejoice, because game play variation is a rather large goal for the crew. Puzzles, combat, stealth and even melee are all on the table. We also promise a coherent experience from beginning to end, the open endedness and weirdness from Part 1 is all but abolished completely.
The entire experience from Part 1 to Part 2 will be 4 hours long, nearing the length of the entire Penumbra series, a leap (Overture to Black Plague quality) we're trying to mimic for best result. And yes, that means an additional hour of content has been added to Part 2 due to the puzzles and underground areas.
Part 1 Director's Cut
Its no surprise Part 1 has problems, even with its existing 8.4 rating on Moddb at the time of this posting. Its open ended, confusing, not very much to look at and has a confusing book reading system. All of this is being ironed out and fixed for what we're calling a Director's Cut. Jason and I are the only ones working on it, but basically, expect the same exact experience with polish added and maybe a puzzle here or there. Not knowing where to go will be gone, book reading has been simplified, Hamlet has been integrated for everyone who plays and two distinct Cutscenes have been added.
Part 1 DC will also fix every single "sequence" in the game. The dockhouse attack, the pier attack, the garage stealth sequence, the ending and Hamlet all will remain but are massively polished to present a more playable and consistent experience.
Finally, both parts will be in a single download on June 1st. Completing Part 1 will auto load Part 2, or you can manually launch Part 2 first via console commands. Two separate downloads are not planned.