The first thing we did when designing our new release was decide what to focus on and what to get rid of. We wanted to build a game that we could do well and that was unique from what other games and mods offered. Here are the most important things we decided on.
Focus: Deep, meaningful character customization
This is the core of the new UETF experience. We loved how differently the classes played in UETF, but we wanted to take it further. We wanted the Fade you created to be different than the other Fades on your team. We wanted the laser rifle you use to be different than the laser rifle you customized in your last character. We wanted to give you a thousand ways to play instead of just 9. This goal has driven the design of the game - creating mechanics that open up unique play styles. We've implemented a weapon customization system, a class perk system in addition to adding more complex enemies that will require different strategies to defeat.
To give an example, in the next release the Fade can choose between 6 unique class perks, 6 upgrades for the Sniper Rifle and 6 upgrades for the Rocket Launcher. These combinations are almost all unique; for example, I could choose to create a Fade with bonus headshot damage, equip my sniper rifle with a reflex scope and SLAP rounds, or choose extra rocket ammunition and equip my Rocket Launcher with a laser sight and HEAT rockets. It adds up to a potential 216 unique combinations just for the Fade class.
There is a lot for us to consider, but in the end, we want to allow you to create the character you want to play. That's the goal of UETF -The player defined shooter.
Focus: Quick, valuable content updates
We really wanted to build a system that would allow us to deliver new content quickly. The idea of episodic gaming is something that we've always supported and we feel that nobody has really done right yet. This is our goal for UETF: 2 week updates with real content. When we say 'real content' we mean content that can change the way you play the game, not just visual fluff or bug fixes. We mean new levels, new enemies, new weapon customizations and new perks. Along with larger updates that include new classes and weapons. This means that we've done a lot of extra work building systems that make it easy and fast for us to add new content, but we are going to make every effort to deliver on this promise.
Remove: Expensive custom content
Everything in development comes with tradeoffs. There is no way we can deliver next-gen quality visuals in addition to expansive customization in 2 week updates. So we're not going to. We're not in this to deliver stunning visual quality or beautiful set pieces. You won't see the eyes blinking on our player models and there is no normal mapping here. Our goal is to deliver you great gameplay on a timely basis.
If you've been following our moddb page, you know that we've been steadily releasing more new content. We are not promising any dates, but the project is getting close to critical mass, the point where we want to move the first release version into closed beta testing (we have selected a group for closed beta but are willing to consider more additions to our list). In the meantime, we will begin publishing exclusive in-depth articles about the new release in addition to publishing new media on our moddb site. Watch for our updates on moddb, Twitter and on IterativeGames.