Dev Diary: Mini Stagger and Showdown and Early Closure, Oh My

Greetings Contestants!

It’s been a very busy week here at studio Xav. We’re having a blast with Origins and we’re proud to say that many of you have reached out to share that you feel the same way. We’re doing our best to get as many new contestants onto the Island as possible and to spread the good news that is Origins.

You may have heard that we have announced The Culling: Origins Island Invitational, a $25K streamer tournament coming up this weekend. We haven’t announced all of the participants yet, but you’ll be able to check them all out on Saturday, September 29th at 8pm ET / 5PM PT on Twitch.

We’re super excited to showcase The Culling: Origins on a grand stage, but we’re also looking to get the game to a stage it has been on before and one that you’ve been asking about quite a bit: Xbox One.

As of this moment we’re getting close to submitting the Xbox version to certification. Our target timeframe to get Origins to the Xbox is two weeks, just in time for October. Please keep in mind though that this process can be fluid, and while we’d like to share a concrete date, we simply cannot do that at this point.  We hope to know more info in the coming week.

On the gameplay front, you’ve been talking and we’ve been listening. We think the current live build is exactly what we wanted to achieve with the Origins launch - as close to Day 1 as makes sense. That means we’ve arrived at a point where we can carefully and methodically make some changes, specifically changes that you’re asking for.

Before we go into those, we want to take a second to talk about the future. It’s the “anything can happen” atmosphere that only The Culling provides that makes the game unique. Chasing the mythical dragon that is perfect balance is not only resource-consuming, in a game like The Culling it’s nearly impossible. We’ve been down that road before, heck, you’ve been down that road with us. It’s not fun. Not for you, not for us and certainly not for new players.

Rather than devoting a big chunk of time to obsessing over each weapon/item/perk/etc. being equal, we’d rather celebrate what The Culling is and look for ways to build the experience with new content and features. This doesn’t mean that we’re done making targeted changes to existing systems, what it does mean is that we don’t expect every aspect of the game to be perfectly balanced.

Tweaking gameplay and emphasizing quality of life changes is important, but we want to see The Culling grow. We think deep down, you do too.

Now, let’s get down to business. Here are a few topics you’ve been very vocal about:

Mini-Stagger. In Day 1, if you were jabbed or shoved, your hit reaction animation briefly overruled your movement input, resulting in a short ‘mini-stagger’ where you could still rotate and fight but you could not move. We later removed this component, allowing you free movement, but we put it back into Origins for the sake of matching Day 1. We tend to agree with the feedback we’ve been hearing - it doesn’t feel good to get rooted in place, and being able to do it reliably in a 2-on-1 situation can lead to a stun-lock that’s really not fun.

Showdown. Showdown is a feature that uses an in-game event to curtail teaming. If two players get too chummy for too long, they initiate a showdown. They must remain within the Showdown circle until one of them is dead. Of course the system isn’t perfect and can potentially lead to false positives, but you seem to feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Early Gas Closure. Another feature that was added later but removed for Day 1 was population-based map closure. The basic idea was that if a match is progressing rapidly, that is, players are dying quickly, then the gas starts its closure early so that things stay lively. This also helps during off-peak hours when matches might not fill completely.

We’re very interested to hear your opinions on these features. Should we leave them as-is or make changes? Please chime in on our new survey and let us know what you think.

Until next time,

We’ll see you on the Island.