[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]henever we discover that a project has gone MIA it’s usually never heard from again. And, if we ever do hear back from it it’s usually months if not years down the line and almost always with bad news. Whether it’s due to having gone through all of the finances, a lack of passion from the developers, loss of team members, or something else equally horrifying the update that comes after the long silence is usually a death knell for the game. However, sometimes an update hits with news that’s not entirely morbid. And Kitaru actually has some good with the bad in the latest backer-only update.
Until last week the last we heard from the Kitaru devs was almost a year ago. Several people, including myself, had finally written it off as a lost cause. About two months after I had written up a post mortem I got a message in my inbox telling me that development has been continuing, albeit at a snails pace due to having lost valuable people on the team and taking time to learn how to code. While I’d have loved to have heard this news much earlier than this at least we now know why there was radio silence and that the game is still on track to being finished. And we finally have a short, although in rough alpha state with low polygon count, demo to play in. And, while the demo was only for backers I got the go ahead to discuss it briefly and give my thoughts on it.
First off, the demo isn’t high rez in the graphics department. It’s even stated in the update that they’re using the lower poly count being used for the eventual mobile release. Still, it doesn’t look too bad regardless. And while I did encounter some issues it’s to be expected in such an early vertical slice build. Most developers are afraid to release anything too early in the fear that people will take it as the finished product and I don’t blame them. However, I’m glad that they did give something to show that they’re still working on Kitaru.
The controls are actually not too bad and being able to move around in the small area of the city provided is smoother than you’d expect at this stage. Aside from taking in the sights there are a couple quests that you can undertake which involve combat. Which I actually did enjoy. It’s fast paced and if you’re not quick enough the enemy can take advantage of your inaction and act out of turn. For us old timers think of this as an ATB (Active Time Battle) system. In this stage it’s very easy to take down the enemies and every battle I finished I got an “A” rating. The best part about combat? You can choose your loadout at the beginning of the battle before finally starting to pummel your foe.
All in all I’m just happy that we finally heard back from Aoineko Studios that Kitaru is still planned to be eventually released. Even if it’s far past what we were originally expecting to see it go public. I’m usually willing to forgive the silence as long as we eventually hear back from the developers. Even bad news is better than no news and I’m glad to hear that there’s good mixed in with the bad here. I just hope we don’t have to wait another three years to see it become a reality.