We’re coming at you this week with a special update to discuss more playtest reviews and questions.
We’ve reached a new level with our playtests in both scope and results.
Scope-wise, in addition to our weekend playtests, we are now conducting much larger sessions in the middle of the week where we’ve quadrupled our playtesters from one to four. Originally our builds were not stable enough to allow that many to play at once. With one person, we could step in quickly and resolve a bug without interrupting the playtest for too long. But now we can sit back and spend more time observing where players go and analyze what’s working in game and what’s not.
In terms of results, we are so happy to see the game running as intended. We’ve had many playtesters enjoy Outer Wilds in the past, but now we are finally seeing players obsess over its mysteries and delve deep into our worlds to find the answers to their questions. The game now truly encourages investigative work and rewards player curiosity.
Which leads us to some of the questions about the game’s difficulty from our previous playtest review. We’d like to reassure all of you that Outer Wilds remains a challenging game and still demands a lot of its players.
From playtests we have observed two general “types” of players during playtests.
- Player 1: Enjoys the controls and the difficult stunts the game allows once you master the game mechanics. But some of them aren’t completely into narrative.
- Player 2: Enjoys the story, the writing and the mysteries of the solar system. But some of them find the controls a little difficult to master.
Of course our greatest fans are those who fit both categories. These are the fans that enjoy both the challenge of space exploration and xeno-archaeological narrative. But our objective is to make the game also accessible to players who gravitate more to one of these categories.
Part of the solution is the implementation of difficulty levels that will impact things such as how much damage you suffer and how much resources you have available. If you enjoyed having to be very careful with your O2 levels, your landings, and being punished for careless jetpacking then you have nothing to worry about. The hard difficulty levels will still provide you with challenges and hard decisions that were present in the alpha. But if your interest lies more in the narrative, the easy difficulty settings will help these players experience and explore the narrative without having to worry about dying constantly.
Another concern was the ability to get lost in Outer Wilds. We want that to be a choice and not the frustrating result of bad narrative and level design. The game remains as open as ever. Even more so now that the planets are so much more detailed and expansive. But if players wish to investigate something, we want them to be able to do so without getting aimlessly lost all the time. On the other hand, if you decide willingly to just jump into a random cave or jetpack into the unknown, be sure you will get lost. And if you survive long enough, you might just find something unexpected along the way!
We hope this answers some of your questions and please continue to tell us about your hopes and wishes for the game.
That's all for this week!