Our tiny team put out Shoulders of Giants earlier this year, and while the response from Xbox players has actually been better than we could have ever expected (at the time of writing our user review score is above 4.5!) there’s still a million things we’re committed to improving.
That first big set of improvements debuts in our new The World is Alive 1.2 content update. Check out the trailer above and keep reading to our approach to keeping updates fresh for our co-op roguelike.
I’m a firm believer that the surest way to improve a work of art is to find its weakest elements and try to turn those into its strongest. That’s exactly what we aimed to do in this long-coming update, working tirelessly to merge player feedback with our own to make some significant changes to our already-released title. Here’s the story:
At release, our team was content with Shoulders of Giants’s improvisational combat and robust progression system. When the reviews started coming in, however, one trend emerged: players feel the worlds you explore and the mission objectives you undertake can get kind of same-y after a dozen hours.
We all deal with criticism differently, but to me the criticism that really gets into your head isn’t the loud, unhinged, and hateful kind–it’s the subtle kind that says something you know deep down is true.
We, and our fans, both wanted to take the level environments and mission types to a higher tier with our first big content update. We started by taking our less-loved mission types and redid them from scratch.
Our combat-focused “butterfly collector” mode (trust me, the name makes sense if you’ve played the game) became an exploration-heavy “hunt” mission with a focus on taking on tougher foes with strategy. Our very one-note “storm” mission type that once challenged players to run around in a dark procedural world through a dense thunderstorm seeking an exit is now a much more guided experience built around defending weather probes from enemy onslaughts–for most of our team, this is now their favorite mission to play.
But that wasn’t enough, to make the surfaces of these procedural planets more meaningfully unique between runs, we’ve introduced a new Planet Anomaly system that can completely change how levels behave–adding meteor storms, indoor arena battles, low gravity fights that take you into outer space, and some extremely goofy business that I will not spoil here.
Shoulders of Giants
Moving Pieces Interactive