‘There’s a bunch of reasons, but the main one is … Skytorn just never figured out what it was’
Game designer Noel Berry, member of the team behind 2018 hit Celeste, has canceled one of his most anticipated projects. The Metroidvania-style game Skytorn is no longer in development, Berry announced over the weekend.
“Having worked on the game for several years we constantly struggled with what the game was,” Berry wrote in a post on Medium. “To its core it was a procedurally generated adventure game without permadeath, but the procedural elements always clashed with the Metroidvania themes, and I didn’t know how to design around that.”
A 2016 preview shows Skytorn — which began development in 2012, with a devlog keeping an excited public apprised of progress over the years — as a game set in a randomized cave full of monsters and machinery. (Think a much darker Celeste, if in need of comparison.) Beautiful early concept art featured a predominantly female cast of adventurers.
Skytorn just never quite gelled into something the team felt confident in.
“But we kept working on it, polishing it, adding art and content, to what was ultimately a broken core,” Berry wrote. “I thought that we could keep working on it and be able to restructure the gameplay as we went, as we really figured it out. But at some point you have all these systems and then changing anything at the lower level becomes a lot of work.”
With Celeste taking precedence in 2017, they put Skytorn on pause. Now the core Skytorn group is done with Celeste, but Berry said it feels better for them to move forward onto something else.
“As much as we all love Skytorn and how much it’s meant to us over the last several years, we’re excited for new things and new projects. I’m okay saying it was an amazing learning experience, and we’ll take all these lessons onto our next project.”
We’ll hear more about what’s next in 2019, along with additional content for game of the year-contender Celeste.
Undertale creator Toby Fox’s latest project is something of a surprise: a match promo video for New Japan Pro Wrestling star Kenny Omega. The wrestler teamed up with Fox to promote NJPW’s upcoming pay-per-view event, Wrestle Kingdom 13, but according to the video’s Star Wars-esque opening crawl, “circumstances beyond [the creator’s] control” will prevent it from airing officially.
In the video’s opening scene, shot at Akihabara retro game store Super Potato, a young Kenny Omega fan buys a copy of faux Famicom game Kenny’s Quest. That game looks and plays a lot like Fox’s Undertale, pitting Omega against his rival Hiroshi Tanahashi. As wrestling promos go, it’s one of the more charming ones, and references Omega’s love of Street Fighter 5 and Undertale. (The wrestler named Undertale his favorite game of 2018 in one of Giant Bomb’s end-of-year awards.)
Omega and Fox met at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, where they became fast friends according to the wrestler. Fox is currently working on Deltarune, a follow-up to Undertale that’s playable for free. Omega will face Tanahashi on Jan. 4 at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 13.