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Weekly Journal - Quick Production update

Sam  

 

Hi everyone  

Happy Joy day everyone! We hope you are all out there being responsible Wellies. I know many of you are looking forward to a release date announcement for We Happy Few. We are almost ready for that. However, as you may have noticed, last week we passed the original launch date of the game (April 13). So, after updating you on our launch schedule changes and the reasons why in January, I wanted to take a break from the retrospectives to give you a follow up on how production is doing.

Where we are in the process  

The team has been working very hard over the last few weeks, as we begin bug fixing and proper “beta” user testing. The last two weeks have been focused on two important aspects:

  • Playtesting the full game.  
  • Preparing “pre certification” builds for PS4 and Microsoft. 

On the content and usability side, on Monday Gearbox began a two week playtest for playing through the full game. To get this build ready, we had to make sure that the content was finished (no placeholder content) and no “progression blocker” bugs were present in the game. We finished that up last Friday, and so far so good: no blockers have been encountered, and it looks like players are completing Arthur without too much difficulty! We have been receiving helpful comments on balance, onboarding and how people are using mechanics like combat, stealth and conformity. We also took a day off development to play the game (the whole team), and we have received a ton of great feedback from our team: animators, artists, designers, programmers, we all play differently and it’s important to see things from different perspectives. The next step for us is to review all of the feedback, to then decide what we can realistically achieve before shipping (and what we can’t).

On the technical side, we have been preparing builds for a first round of testing from Microsoft and Sony, to help us prepare for final submission on consoles. It’s the first time these guys have seen the game, so they need to check a range of basic things: for example, does the game use too much memory (and crash), does it display properly on all TVs, does it copy correctly from the Blu Ray, etc. In order to do this we have done a significant amount of optimization work, from art asset optimization to code performance and memory tweaks, and we’re excited to say that the game is now running well on both platforms. It’s even running better on PC, so stay tuned in the coming weeks for updated (and final) PC specs.

In the meantime, the rest of the team has been fixing hundreds of bugs, ranging from conditional progression blockers (eg if I spin around in circles 3 times, and lockpick the wrong chest, I’ll break the game) to minor art bugs (eg a chest is floating 10cm off the ground). In this phase, we prioritize inside each discipline, focusing on the serious and gamebreaking bugs first, then on bugs that cause player frustration, and finally on to cosmetic or otherwise less important bugs. Occasionally we create more - eg when fixing a bug or implementing changes required by optimization or player feedback - but by and large the bug database is reducing at a steady rate. That’s a good sign for release.

Next Steps

The next few weeks are a bit touch and go - the window for addressing feedback and fixing bugs is closing, so we spend a great deal of time prioritizing over and over again to make sure we’re addressing the right feedback. However, we are looking to be in good shape.  

The next steps on the production side are getting ready for console submission, so it’s the QA team’s time to shine. We’ll be bringing them lots of coffee over the next few weeks.  

I want to thank everyone for all of your comments, feedback, bug reports and (constructive!) criticism over the years. It’s been a huge process for us growing this game, and we’re proud to have had you guys with us all along the way. It’s (almost) time to get hyped.

Thanks for tuning in!

 

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