Terraria: Otherworld dumps old dev, hooks up with new

Terraria: Otherworld [official site], the Terraria spin-off due to add “role-playing and strategy elements” to the from crafty-o-fighty sandbox, has switched developers. Terraria creators Re-Logic were unhappy with Otherworld’s pace and direction of development, so they’ve taken it off Engine Software and given it to Pipeworks Studios. Engine made most of the original Terraria’s console releases, while Pipeworks are the gang working on mobile and Switch versions. Otherworld is obviously delayed further by this, but Re-Logic say that’s better than releasing a shoddy game.

Otherworld, to refresh your memory, is a side-game rather than a sequel. It’s to be a more story-driven game, with players and some fellow survivors trying to fight back a corrupting force in an alternate dimension, bringing in a bit of tower defense to keep corruption at bay. Re-Logic announced Otherworld in February 2015 then come July 2016, Re-Logic were unhappy enough with progress to put a new lead designer and art lead on the project. Evidently that didn’t work out.

Re-Logic said in yesterday’s ‘Changing of the Guard’ announcement:

“Our team had a clear vision for this game – one that we shared with all of you with much shared excitement – and, as much as we hate to say it (and in spite of all of the reforms we tried last year) – the current state of the game is still equal parts far from that vision and well behind schedule.

“As a result, we have made the decision to move on from having Engine Software continue development of Terraria: Otherworld. Re-Logic has possession of the game (code, art, sounds, etc.) as it exists today, and we have been examining the array of options available to us to get TOW to a place to where we can confidently deliver on the vision and expectations we all have for this game. After taking a good hard look at everything, we feel that a new and fresh start/direction is the only way Otherworld will ever reach its full potential at this point.”

Re-Logic say they will “examine the entire game, from top to bottom” with Pipeworks, which means they’ll go quiet about Otherworld for a bit while formulating a new plan.

“Come whatever may, quality is simply not something we are willing to compromise on to make a quick buck. It may be painful in the short term, but our sincere hope is that it will pay off for everyone in the long term. Clearly, had we known this would be the scenario way back then, we would have held off on announcing the game until a later time – but such is game development.”

Here’s a look at Otherworld from way back in March 2015:

16 Comments

  1. grimdanfango says:

    Interesting development, but “Our team had a clear vision for this game” seems a bit of a stretch… their clear vision presumably being “farm it out to someone else while we work on something more interesting to us”?

    I’m intrigued to know what that something might be though.

  2. f4stjack says:

    I am a developer and my gut instinct says that changing the lead developer mid development cycle results in disaster, and worst part is the new devs who took the legacy code will take the brunt of the criticisms. Like the aliens game we don’t talk about.

    Also… as far as I know Re-Logic was a developer, why did they outsource their core business? That’s what I got from the article but English isn’t my native so I might have misunderstood.

    • Artist says:

      No clue what kind of developer you are but this is business – almost as usual.
      TOW wasnt “outsourced” but Engine Software was tasked to create that spin-off. Also very common. But obviously they arent up to the task (possible breach of contract?) so Re-Logic retasks it to another developer.
      No clue where you spot a possible “desaster” here.

      • grimdanfango says:

        Not sure what you think outsourcing is, if not bringing in an outside company to produce something instead of creating it yourself.

        The potential disaster he’s refering to is handing a new company someone else’s half-written code, and expecting them to pick it up and carry on developing it, despite not being familiar with it.
        Depends how tight a schedule they intend to push for. Ideally, they’d give the new company the time and freedom to build things up their own way, and select only the bits from the old codebase they actually feel are useful… if not they’ll be hacking things on top of half-baked code they don’t fully understand, and care less about as they’ll feel like they’re just fixing someone else’s mess rather than creating something themselves.

      • f4stjack says:

        All right, if it’s business as usual I apologize. Because I didn’t know that and thank you for informing me. I love Terraria and I hate to see it getting any negative reviews.

        • jeff says:

          i read yesterday that they switched devs and are starting from scratch again, saying it only makes since to start from scratch with the new team wouldnt do the game right if they picked up where the other team left off, tis why it is going to take longer to get the game out than they previously thought

      • Matfink says:

        After 25 years in software dev I have to agree with f4stjack: it’s a recipe for disaster.

    • grimdanfango says:

      I know the developer had shelved the original Terraria years ago because he’d just had enough of it, before eventually coming back to it for one last huge content update. I presume at this point he’s determined to do something new, and is happy to farm out the Terraria IP.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    I’ve been playing some Terraria as comfort food lately. It’s true that the whole corruption angle falls a little flat, and could use a more involved and dynamic approach to drive the game.

    Terraria’s still great, though.

  4. Drib says:

    I remember back near launch, when I first played Terraria.

    The corruption was scary back then. Weird monsters, spike plants, and not all the whiz-bang lasers and lightsabers and crap in the game now.

    I miss that feeling.

    Also I never get corruption anymore anyway. I always end up with the crimson, which isn’t nearly as fun.

    • Ghostwise says:

      I guess you could just reroll worlds until you get corruption – and play in Expert mode.

      But I’m not certain of what Expert mode does, exactly.

      • Wounder says:

        Expert does a variety of things, which basically make the game more difficult and/or satisfying… among other things: monsters get more health, often have new attacks (all boss mobs in particular), various buffs/debuffs are modified, new treasure added, environmental effects can actually affect you.

      • onodera says:

        The latest patch actually lets you generate a world with the blight you want.

    • Wounder says:

      Well good news for you then! You can pick what world you want when generating now, as long as you have a world in hardmode.

  5. poliovaccine says:

    This gives me the immediate, twin, opposing reactions of thinking that, one, this is a good move, to delay for the sake of quality, and it’s something I hope more devs will do in the long run, and yet, two, this also seems like a terribly messy and protracted development, clearly it’s nobody’s idea of “ideal,” and yeah, this does sound kind of exactly like what happened with Aliens: Colonial Marines… So while in general I want to applaud this move, in specific it sounds like this thing has dragged on without focus for too long already, and if they had such a strong vision for this project they might’ve done better to just make it themselves. If you want a thing done right, after all…

    That being said, I do hope people don’t wind up complaining about the delay, because I hope to see that practice become standard in games development. It always blows my mind when companies rush a game to “finish” for the sake of meeting a profitable release date, when to me it seems obvious that the most profitable thing to do is make the best game possible and it’ll sell for damn near generations. I mean GTAV still bobs to the surface of the steam charts, and people still play and mod classics like Fallout New Vegas, Morrowind, hell, even GTA San Andreas..! That isnt even getting into the other side of the coin, with the obvious issues of “day one patches” and the PR/reputation nightmare of missing functionality at launch.

    Are there ever people who are pissed about a delay these days? I know it happened back in the day, when nobody conceived we might ever unpack our CD-ROM from its cardboard box, install it, punch in the serial key, and somehow the game would boot up with missing or broken features… but of course, these days, the reasons for and benefits of a delay seem a lot more obvious. So I mean, I say that I hope nobody minds the delay, but in fact, is that still even a thing?

  6. Servicemaster says:

    I tried to go back to Terraria after playing Starbound and it was impossible. It just feels so much better. Maybe they played Starbound then Otherworld and thought the same thing.