After returning from a sudden and extended hiatus on Kickstarter, Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox is may have a major update to its Early Access version as soon as this weekend. While the recent revival of updates to the Kickstarter campaign have all been ‘backer only’ the Steam page and official forums give a clearer look at the upcoming progress.
In the most recent announcement, Visual Outbreak’s Creative Director, Alex Norton owned up to the lack of consistent communication regarding Malevolence and promised to be more forthcoming in the future.
“Have had a few people comment on the fact that I’m not particularly good at keeping you guys across what I’m doing at all times, and I honestly won’t argue with that. I tend to focus my energies towards working on the game rather than writing up posts. Though, it is very true that I could do a much better job of keeping you all in the loop.” Norton posted.
“So to those who have had these thoughts, you’ll be glad to know that I mean to change that.”
In order to keep the community involved, Norton plans to begin posting weekly vlogs where he will give a rundown of what he’s been up to each week. Norton warned that the first few videos may be a bit boring, as they will be mostly focused on bug-fixes, while he finishes work on the base game.Things are expected to be more exciting once work begins on Malevolence’s first expansion.
I figure I really do owe it to you guys to keep you better appraised and so I’m gonna put in the effort…
This will be welcome, if somewhat belated news for Early Access players who’ve felt continually ignored while the game languished for two years. Kickstarter backers had the benefit of occasional updates to try out new systems. Early Access customers who purchased the game directly from Steam for $19.99 however, were largely left in the dark. The Early Access version hasn’t updated in 2 long, quiet years. This lead to claims that Malevolence was yet another Early Access vaporware title.
These accusations could be what finally prompted Norton to begin updating again. He posted a vlog on April 28th where he openly discussed the issues he’d been working on. Despite the infrequent updates, Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox still has a mostly positive rating on Steam.
The new update is expected to launch sometime this weekend. It will add some much anticipated features, including boss monsters, lootable permadeath player corpses, and a new procedural magic system. The added features were so code intensive that the game engine wouldn’t allow any additional code to be added until Norton devised a workaround. Who’d have guessed that an infinite, persistent RPG would be such a massive undertaking?
Joking aside, the concept sounds pretty amazing, even if it is currently a single player experience. While infinite, the game world isn’t random. Whatever a player discovers in their world, also exists in another player’s version. So, if I find an especially amazing cave and tell a friend about it, that cave exists in the same spot in their game as well.
For those who can’t access the Kickstarter updates, but still want to stay in the loop, there is also a public Trello board. Here you can keep a closer eye on future development and get hints about what fixes are currently in the works. The official Malevolence forums are the best place to get information though, so check there first.
There is also a demo available, which shows the current build of the early access version. Upgrading to early access allows you to save your progress from the demo in the final game. It’s highly recommended that you try before you buy, since there is no telling when the next update will happen.