It’s been a bit of a wild year, and sadly, it’s become clear to our team that Nightfall will not be fully completed (and tested to our satisfaction) in time for release before Elden Ring lands on February 25. There’s some good news: we’ll still be releasing a demo of Nightfall’s first few hours on January 21. But first, an explanation.
We’re a team of fans working in our spare time, fueled only by our love of Dark Souls and a bit of support from a few kind champions over on Patreon. Naturally, this means that the amount of time we’re able to spend working on Nightfall has always been unpredictable, and as I’m sure many can appreciate, circumstances at the end of 2021 (and no doubt, the start of 2022) have been particularly unkind to us.
When we delayed Nightfall’s release date from December 21 to January 21, we thought the extra month would be enough time to finish its development with at least a week’s testing to spare. There’s likely some universe where that was true, but after two weeks of crunching through the first half of December, then coming down with the common cold (yes, it apparently still exists), it became clear to me that any universe in which Nightfall won the race against Elden Ring was also a universe where (a) our team was completely miserable, (b) we cut out a lot of nearly-finished content, (c) the game was a bug-ridden mess, or most likely (d) all of the above.
I certainly don’t regret that we tried to win the race. Announcing a public, concrete date in June has been extremely valuable. It helped us seriously get the Nightfall train moving to a clear endpoint, without endless detours to various Feature Creep stations, but a few such stations were simply too attractive to resist. Our resident 3D artist, Dane Brennand, created twice as many brilliant new character models as we were expecting. I developed a tool that can port Havok assets to Dark Souls from any other FromSoftware game (including cut content assets). Meowmaritus implemented about a dozen insane new assembly-level mechanics that opened up whole new avenues of design. Previous work had to be redone from scratch to accommodate other changes. You get the idea.
All this is to say that Nightfall has turned out to be far more ambitious than we thought. Even though we aren’t adding anything else to the design at this point and are heading straight toward the finish line, it’s unfortunately a bit further away than Elden Ring. I know that sucks, but as this is a full-length game that we’re going to be giving away for free, the only thing we stand to gain is the satisfaction of releasing something we’re all proud of — and something that didn’t cost a chunk of our own souls to create.
So, we’re shifting gears over the next month to polish and playtest the first few hours of the game to deliver a demo of Nightfall on January 21 — the combat system, two full game maps, two bosses, multiple weapons, and maybe a few secrets. We’re excited to show you a peek at Nightfall and will take advantage of your feedback in tuning the game (particularly core combat balance) for the full release. After that, we’ll no doubt take a break to enjoy Elden Ring along with the rest of you, but will soon get back to carrying our baby down the home stretch.
Stay tuned, and thanks for all your wonderful enthusiasm and support this past year. We really appreciate all of your kind words. I can’t speak for the whole team, but for me, those words are the entire reason I’m still here creating things.