Darkest Dungeon II: Community Update

May 31, 2022

Greetings!

We hope you are all enjoying the barnacle bleeds, ordained enemies, and rolling fog!

Our most recent update, “The Shroud of the Deep”, contained a massive amount of new content, mechanics, and quality-of-life improvements. The Red Hook team had a lot of fun creating it.

With the Shroud now live, the team is catching the last bugs and introducing a few final improvements.  We’re also looking ahead to subsequent updates, and wanted to communicate some adjustments to our production plan.

We have heard from you that more frequent updates are preferable, and we agree! Going forward you can expect more frequent, smaller-scoped milestone releases. Consequently, our previous roadmap is no longer reflective of our production plan.  

We have been following the discussions on Reddit and Discord keenly, and auditing the game ourselves.  In our assessment there are three main areas of the game that require work and dedicated focus. 

We are assigning additional time and talent to three areas we believe are essential to creating a great game.

Progression:

The current xp/unlock system is quite minimal and lacks enough meaningful choices. We have heard the community’s desire for something more evocative of Hamlet-style upgrades and decisions, and this dovetails with our own internal vision.

We’re currently working on a complete overhaul of the progression system and look forward to sharing that with you. The new system provides a much stronger and compelling link between expeditions, and is focused around an interesting hub through which you will increase your capabilities and unlock new items.

Relationships:

Relationships are currently not as engaging as afflictions in DD1.  Knowing a relationship is headed in a positive or negative direction robs the reveal of its impact, and the amount of passive banter and frequent interruptions stemming from relationships can clog up the combat experience.

Our goals with the next pass on the relationship system are to:

  • Bring back some tension and surprise

  • Add more meaningful choice into the system

  • Make the benefits (and drawbacks) of relationships more active and tactical (less of a spectator sport)

  • Remove some of the combat clutter and interruptions

We believe that the central thesis of relationships evolving and impacting a party’s capacity to survive the journey remains highly compelling.  We are excited to revise the system to make the experience more active and engaging.

Driving:

Darkest Dungeon II is not a reflex-oriented driving game.  

The stagecoach sequences mirror the walking in DD1, but we recognize that the tension of stumbling on a trap, or the possibility of a blockage, ambush, etc, is missing from the current roadways.  While we will not seek to directly emulate the DD1 experience, there is definitely room for growth here.

We are looking to add new decision-making layers to the driving sequences, which in turn open up new avenues to enhance the preparatory aspects of journeying.

Content:

Our overall content scope remains largely unchanged.  But as we noted on the previous roadmap, “we will pivot as needed for the health of the game”.

In order to properly support the initiatives above and create the richest possible experience, we are re-prioritizing our content teams away from creating a new region/faction. The number of people and working hours going into Darkest Dungeon II remains identical, but we are focusing on producing content that has the maximum possible run-to-run impact on the quality of the game.

Environment Art:

Instead of creating a new region’s worth of world content, we are focusing the environment team on enriching our current set of regions with new horrific sights and route variation.  Adding to existing regions will make repeated runs more interesting, more often.

Character Scope:

Monsters shared across multiple regions bring more value to run diversity, and as such, we have opted to refocus the character team away from another region-specific faction and towards new minibosses that can appear any/everywhere.  You can look forward to a massive, 3-slot Cultist Exemplar, the return of the Collector, and a third, secret threat.  

Larger mini-bosses take longer to create, and, in the case of the Collector, require additional supporting characters.  The totality of this effort matches a faction of 6-7 normal units, and will add more value to the game proper.  TLDR; The number of playable characters, final bosses, and overall character scope/production effort remains unchanged.

What’s Next?

Our next milestone will be a Trinket overhaul. Trinkets are vital to so many parts of the game, and we recently dedicated extra resources towards improving them based upon the excellent feedback we’ve received from the community and also based upon our own learnings from observing the game over these last months.

After trinkets, we will be reinforcing the Cultist faction with new units and a new home!  The Altar, Herald, and Exemplar mini-boss will grow the Cultist faction to its full size, and we’ll give the Guardian location a facelift to match.

Following that, our progression overhaul will be rolled out - this is a big one, and the team is really excited about it!

Also, as the series of Hero Path blog posts wraps up, we will be providing regular updates with commentary and behind-the-scenes development insights!

Please note: anything not explicitly mentioned here can be assumed to be in production - heroes, final bosses, story content, playable skins, paths, pets, balance/tuning etc.

1.0 Launch: Feb, 2023

This revised roadmap favours more frequent updates, and is in service of reaching a complete 1.0 in February 2023 on EGS and Steam.  Console releases will follow.

Coming Next:

  • Trinket Improvements & 3rd Hero Path 

Coming Next Next:

  • Cultist Reinforcements

  • New Progression System + New Hero 1

  • Act 3 Confession/Boss

Coming After That:

  • Act 4 Confession/Boss

  • Relationship Rework

  • New Hero 2

  • The Collector miniboss

  • Driving Improvements

  • New Hero 3

  • Secret Miniboss

  • Pets

  • Hero Origin Skins playable

  • Act 5 Confession/Boss

  • …and more!(™)