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  • Writer's pictureTyler Clementi

Dev Diary #74: Love is in the Air Tonight

Howdy folks, 

Today I wanted to talk about a feature that has become a staple in many story-driven RPGs. It is something we get asked about during every convention we attend and has been, by far, our most requested addition to the game. I am, of course, referring to having romanceable companions throughout the story campaign. 

We have mentioned in the last few posts the great amount of time spent restructuring the opening sequences of the campaign to reflect some of the darker tone that was initially seen in the “mindscape” sections while Mark is dreaming.

In this GIF, a red paint stroke splashes across the screen as "Set Lost" concludes the round.
Caption: Surreal environments like this show off the escalated nature of Mark's journey.
In this screenshot, the set is tied. Wins, losses, and ties have unique brush stroke and particle effects.
Caption: Floating platforms welcome Mark into another realm entirely.

Well, I am pleased to announce that Mark’s adventures are not only taking a darker turn, they are taking a romantic turn as well. This is something that has been a long time in the works, and we are finally ready to reveal what we’ve been cooking so far.

As you may know, Mark’s journey throughout the campaign is inextricably tied to his traveling companions. They drive most of the story elements and provide a greater insight into Mark’s past and the world around him. Freeborn has always had a strong social component, and this is reflected in the game’s quests and dialogue system.

We’ve had approximately 1000 individual people asking us to add a romance component to the game. This came from in-person interactions, surveys, forum feedback and direct messages. This is something we’ve also wanted to add for a long time - unfortunately, medical issues both within the team and with some of our family members disrupted the cadence of our workflow and required us to prioritize other focuses. 

In this GIF, the set is tied. Tying never felt so good!
Caption: Recent work has included an overhaul to the Ekosi UI. We love it.

So with that said, we’d like to introduce 2 new characters that will be potential romances during your journey. This won’t represent everyone you can romance, but we’ll be keeping the rest a secret for now.

The first character is someone Mark will meet early in the story near his first Ekosi tournament. She will not necessarily be part of your normal traveling party like Jacob and Krista, but you will continue to encounter her as you progress through the tournament and travel the country.

In this screenshot, Mark runs across blood-red waters. To where?
Caption: The first of Mark's potential companions is dark in dress, and extremely confident.

There will also be other characters that are participating in the tournament who will be regularly encountered throughout the story. The other romance option is one such character who is also trying to progress through the tournament.

In this screenshot, Mark stands amongst strangely colored trees and floating crystals.
Caption: The second of Mark's potential companions is quieter, but more than a handful in Ekosi.

We can’t wait to show these characters to you in-game. We’ll have more to say about them and other companions in an upcoming post. 

Until then, stay safe out there!



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