Let’s talk about the corpse in the room.
When we deployed the Corpse & Hound patch in July, it brought quite a bit more upheaval within the community than we were expecting, centered largely on the corpses and heart attacks features, and to a lesser extent some of the other combat related changes such as the introduction of more armoring (PROT) for some enemies and the increasing of monster crits.
While many of you have enjoyed these new features, it’s very clear that many others do not. In some cases, you feel that it has fundamentally altered your personal experience with the game–turning it from something you loved into something you don’t. The feedback has been clear that sometimes this comes down to a single feature even. Simply put: that’s a huge bummer for all of us.
Our obligation and promise to you has always been to try to make the best game possible, and we take that very seriously. We have an internal compass – a strong vision for Darkest Dungeon that has guided us every step of the way from inception to now. That compass was just as integral in producing the Corpse & Hound content as it was in features before that. Furthermore, we’ve always considered the ability to experiment as a huge benefit of Early Access.
However, we recognize that being for sale in Early Access also brings other important obligations. The Darkest Dungeon community is very large now, and quite a bit more varied than we would have ever expected! We’ve always been humbled by this show of enthusiasm and support. You have given us your hard-earned money, and when we make large changes, we acknowledge there is the potential for you to feel like you had the rug pulled out from underneath you.
We believe that corpses and heart attacks are important mechanics for the game, not only for the reasons initially discussed in the Corpse & Hound design notes but reinforced by our observations since. However, today we are introducing a set of gameplay options (accessed via the normal Options menu) which allows you to turn them off.
Just as we were willing to experiment by adding these features, we are willing to experiment with ways to allow you to shape the DD experience a bit to your liking. As many of you know, we have been reluctant to add difficulty related options until now because focusing on our intended version of the game has been our number one priority and our experiments and changes during Early Access have all been in support of iterating on that. But it would be foolish for us to not consider the fact that the Darkest Dungeon community is now big enough to include diverse groups, some of which would like to play the game differently than we might have envisioned. Although we’ve always been unapologetic about how important it is that Darkest Dungeon is punishing, unforgiving, and sometimes not even “fair”…at the end of the day we want those of you who own it to have fun and that can’t be forgotten.
For clarity, our official vision of the game leaves these two features ‘on’ by default.This does not mean the features are the best they can be yet, but we feel they are important in context of the broader experience. Those of you who would like to enjoy the game without corpses and heart attacks now have the option to. In addition, we’ll be collecting metrics on their use so we have a better understanding of the entire community.
We’re acutely aware that the addition of these options will not solve every issue with the game or even every concern that sprouted from the Corpse & Hound update itself. We’ve been active throughout Early Access and you can continue to look forward to continued content drops and gameplay iterations in the future.
We are going to continue to pursue our vision for the game–after all, that’s why we are all here in the first place. But if we can do better at providing ways for different people to enjoy the game in a way that suits them, we’ll be on the lookout for how to do it without compromising what the game is all about. It’s one of the benefits of making a single player game, really. Modding will eventually help with that as well and we remain excited about that, but we don’t yet have the infrastructure to officially support it.
Finally – we want to say a sincere thank you for your support and feedback – we care passionately about our game, and our community. It’s obviously a challenge to meet the needs of different groups sometimes, but we know that your passion is coming from a love of the game. We encourage your thoughts and observations – positive and negative – throughout this Early Access experience. Please rest assured, we will continue to read and carefully consider your posts, tweets, and emails as we push towards our full release.
Delve deep and keep to the light,
–the Darkest Dungeon team