Hello Creatures community, we know you’ve been longing for some solid info about Creatures 4 and we’re sorry we couldn’t deliver something sooner.
I’ll start with the bad news that probably most of you already guessed: Creatures 4 has been delayed, again! I know, it sucks but at least we can say the project is in good health and both Bigben and us are investing a lot of effort in it! The current release date is Q4 2012.
The reason for the delay is that we’re simply not finished yet. In terms of development we still have quite some work to do and some features are demanding (bridging the game between all the platforms etc.).
It’s a mix of revised design, harder-than-expected-features, harnessing the underlying Creatures systems and so on; it’s a hard project in all respects and we want to do it justice. So, that’s another delay, yeah. I hope you guys can bare with us a bit more.
We can’t show you new pictures or videos yet (we know you’ve been asking for them, a lot ) but we can give you some details about some questions that have been going on for some time.
Multi platform experience
Some of you around the web asked if the same game can be played on all the platforms and that’s a yes (ie. start your game on PC, continue on iOS…)
Some of you saw a screenshot on Bigben’s website with a page named “Norn Stats”. That page is not up to date anymore. To give you a bit of insight and avoid marketing-friendly misinformation, we investigated a stats/skill system to provide the Norns with a more discernible value and support a sense of interdependence among the Norns that we think can be interesting. We want the Norns to be able to take care of their environment more than they did in the original games like taking care of plants for instance (placed by the player), play with critters, repair toys and machines etc. In our vision, better skills provide more proficiency to these tasks and like all the Norns data, the stats are meant to be passed on to offspring in the genome.
To be honest, to this day that system isn’t satisfactory quality-wise and has a series of side-effects which turn out to be either detrimental to the experience or not meaningful enough. We’re currently reassessing this whole thing since as many of you know, the original Creatures inner workings are not easily compatible with this sort of approach.
The science kit is still in the game (as an in-game menu), it will allow you to detect sicknesses and inject chemicals. We’ll be cutting back on some unintelligible chemicals available for injection to make it more approachable but our system is very flexible and will allow us to tweak the available products post-release if necessary.
Breeding and Genome
The passing of Norn data through the genome is maintained. Two Norns that breed in the wild will produce a kid that gets its genes from the parents, like before.
In terms of control over the breeding process, you will have access to a breeding machine which will focus on the cosmetic properties of your Norns, which will drive a lot of breeding gameplay.
We have other plans on what would make for a compelling breeding experience outside of the cosmetic space but we’re focusing on finishing what we have here first.
We’re thinking about a more interesting way of learning the language than “put your Norn in front of a machine and wait”. Not much to say here at the moment except that we’re conscious this is important.
We’ll do our best to answer your questions in the comments! Thank you !