Early Access Roadmap

Hi everyone!

This is David Welch (@watsonwelch), the creative manager for Portal Knights at 505 Games.

On behalf of everyone at 505 and Keen, I just want to say again how humbled we’ve been by the community’s enthusiastic response to the game. It was our goal to launch an Early Access version that already presents a strong vision and a high degree of polish — and we hope we’ve met or exceeded your expectations.

It’s only been a couple weeks, and we’re already absolutely stunned by the level of engagement and creativity we’ve seen from everyone — and the tremendous amount of constructive feedback and suggestions. We’re definitely listening — some of the guys at Keen have even created detailed spreadsheets tracking all the different comments, and how often we’re hearing each one. The responses to the character survey were also incredibly helpful.

In case there was any doubt, we want to express again that as an Early Access title, we absolutely intend to build on the foundation we’ve laid. We know there’s a LOT more we can do, and we’re committed to refining and improving the game for many months to come. We have hundreds of tasks in our development backlog, and we’re constantly adding and revising them based on your feedback.

As you can imagine, the challenge for us over the coming months is going to be one of focus: which content and features we prioritize, and why. We want to protect the core vision of what Portal Knights is — and what it isn’t. We want to make sure that our additions improve the game for as many players as possible, and offer the most long-term gameplay value. At the same time, we need to be careful that no additions make the game inaccessible for existing players (such as dramatic hardware requirement increases, etc.).

Our goal is to release a major update every 4-6 weeks (beyond bug fixes) for at least the next 6 months, with exact dates being announced a little closer to each update release. The first of these should hit at the end of March. Obviously we’ll try to fix critical issues as fast as we can between those, like we’ve been doing so far.

We’re still ironing out our exact content plans for those major updates — we’ll certainly release some details in advance of each one — but in the meantime we want to give you some insight into our high level design goals for Early Access, based on your feedback:

We hear you guys loud and clear: the classes, the talent system, item balancing, combat strategy, biome differentiation — these can all be stronger. This will be a top priority.

We did a ton of usability testing before we launched, but it’s clear we still have a ways to go. From watching lots and lots of streamer videos, it’s clear that many players still struggle with the crafting menu, with aspects of combat, with mining, and with various other UI odds & ends. Polishing these should make everyone’s experience better.

We’re completely sympathetic to those of you who feel the game is too easy, and that enemies don’t force you to employ enough strategy or skill. We hear you, though we’ll need to find a balance: 1) on the one hand, we never want to be as difficult as some of the brutal, hardcore action RPGs out there — it’s important to us that a wide range of players be able play through the core progression without hitting difficulty spikes that feel impossible; but on the other hand, 2) we want to make sure that for those players who want a serious challenge, that they’re able to find it. For now, we’ve probably erred on the side of caution, and will adjust in the other direction. We have a lot of ideas for how we can add challenge to the game (especially given all the great suggestions), and we’re eager to unveil them over the coming weeks and months.

It’s clear you guys love building awesome homes and outfitting your characters in cool gear! We think this is just the best, and seeing everyone’s creativity gives us all big goofy smiles. We’re definitely going to add a lot more here, stay tuned.

The look and feel, the Portal Knights universe, and aspects of the game that are thematic and fun. It’s great to hear so much positivity toward the game’s style and world; the artists at Keen have put a lot of hard work into it. Obviously we’ll always be developing this in any new content, but there are certainly a good number of suggestions aimed at building out the Portal Knights universe much further (events, quests, story, NPCs, pets, etc.). There’s a lot to explore here, but as always, we’re going to try and focus our energy on elements that will provide the best long-term gameplay.

For those of you who blasted through every island in the game (in some cases, in the first couple days) — needless to say, we’re impressed. (And a little terrified.) We know there’s a lot we can do to add more gameplay beyond the core progression. You guys have a lot of great ideas, and we have some too. More to come.

Naturally, we’ll always be looking for ways—both inside and outside the game—to support players connecting with each other and sharing their experiences and creations.

To quickly address a couple specific questions we’ve been hearing a lot:

Will you implement controller support?
Yes, definitely! We’re working on it. That said, it’s a lot of work to make all our menus controller-compatible, so it’s going to take a bit. Expect it in a couple months, in one of the major updates. We’ll let you know when we have a more exact date.

What about larger world sizes?
We hear you and something we are looking closely at. This one is tricky: there are some serious memory and performance considerations, or else we risk disrupting the game for players on low-end machines. Doing bigger worlds properly might require a memory streaming solution (which we don’t have currently) like you see in many open world games. It could also have rather massive implications for all our world generation algorithms (and resource & enemy distributions), which we’ve currently designed around a very specific world size. We’re doing our homework.

Thank you again!
Seriously, thank you all so much for the support and for the thoughtful and passionate feedback — please keep it up! Also: everyone is so polite!! This community is awesome, and we’re going to do our best to live up to your awesomeness.

For the latest news, you can sign up for the newsletter (or hit the official forums) at www.portalknights.com

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Experiencing some issues? Check out our customer support page at http://support.505games.com/support/solutions/folders/6000215218

Twitch and YouTube streamers, feel free to email us at [email protected]

Thanks again!

– David (@watsonwelch)

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