Since after the end of the Kickstarter campaign we've been hard at work to improve and add lots of new features in Saint Kotar. Things that weren't good enough in the prologue were improved, and things that we thought were missing were implemented with the ultimate goal to make the full game an overall better experience. And, hopefully, a truly unique adventure game!
This news post summarizes all the work we've done up until now, explains the 4 pillars of Saint Kotar and, as a reward for being patient reading it, shows an in-game screenshot of a never-seen-before location in the game.
The 4 pillars
Saint Kotar's design is based on, as we like to call them internally, the 4 pillars. They pretty much explain the vision of the game and how it'll be played, and every design and story choice is built on top of them. Essentially, they represent the core of the game!
- Two realities: in Saint Kotar you play with two playable characters, Benedek and Nikolay. As you switch between them, in some cases (depending on the point in the story), the reality (sounds and visuals) change as well. This change of reality is connected with who the characters are and how they see the world around them, influencing as well on how you solve some puzzles.
- Death scenes: both playable characters can die during the story. I mean, it would be weird not to have death scenes in a horror game, right? If the characters live or die depends on your decisions, not on the time you need to make a decision. Like many other players, we are not fans of time based puzzles.
- Exploration: a very important element of the game. If you are adventurous enough, the game rewards you with more lore and background story, unique characters to talk to and special/unique items which you can then use to solve some puzzles in a less complex way. Exploring the town of Sveti Kotar and its surroundings is fun, dangerous and rewarding (unlocks special achievements).
- Decisions: they influence how you get through the story and how you influence the world and the characters you meet in this world. Some decisions make some puzzles easier to solve, others make them harder.
The technical overhaul was the first thing we started working on after the Kickstarter. It's finished now and we are very happy with the results and what they allow us to have in the game:
- better, more fluid and natural-looking character animations
- shorter loading times and a better overall optimization of the whole system
- close-up scenes (something we thought was missing)
- cinematic cut-scenes (same, we were missing them in the prologue)
- support for gamepads and achievements
- better looking and more user-friendly UI
Rewrite and redesign
In the prologue the player has a role that is too passive, especially in the dialogs. So what we did was to rewrite and redesign the whole story from ground up. This doesn't mean we've changed the story, it just means that the way we are telling it was changed, and for the better. With the new design the player takes a more active role in the game, just like how it needs to be and how it had to be in the first place in the prologue. This leads me to the next point - the UI changes.
Dialog options now feature a portrait of the person the playable character is talking to, the last sentence that was spoken during the conversation, and the possibility to see the history (log) of that particular conversation by clicking on the expand button. Conversations are still played out outside the dialog box, just like in the prologue (with the sentences appearing above the characters' heads), and the box appears on screen only when the player has to choose what he/she wants to say or do. Take a look:
When you are wandering around the town or doing stuff (not talking to people), instead of the inventory icon from the prologue, you now see the portrait of the character you are controlling at the moment. And, when the game allows you to switch manually between the two playable characters, a smaller portrait of the other playable character currently not being controlled is visible on screen as well. Clicking on that portrait makes the game to switch control from one character to the other:
A new feature is the Memory system! It allows you to see all the tasks, be it completed or active, and the map of the town and its surroundings. This will be very useful as Saint Kotar not only has main tasks (or quests, if you prefer), but also side tasks that are not mandatory to be solved in order to progress through the story and finish the game. Although, if you do complete them you will be rewarded for doing so.
New version of the prologue coming this summer!
The version of the prologue Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask that was released in June 2020, and is still available on Steam and GOG, will be replaced with a new version this summer! This new version, let's call it for now version 2.0, will include all the improvements and new features mentioned above in the article (obviously, the ones that the full game will have as well). It'll be a completely new experience, and it'll be made available for free, again.
Thank you for sticking with the article up to this point (if you just scrolled down to see the screenshot, we won't judge you, but you are missing a lot of valuable information about the game). This is an in-game screenshot of the never-seen-before lodge location in Saint Kotar!
Saint Kotar factsheet
Release date: August 2021
Languages: English (text and voice), French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian
Features: Achievements, Full controller support, Cloud saving, Dev commentary