The "roguelike" mode touted as a stretch goal on the 2015 Kickstarter campaign behind Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night will not be made, the developers have announced, to be replaced with a smaller feature. Roguelike Dungeon was the stretch goal for $5m (£3.9m), and the campaign hit that. The mode would rebuild the Castlevania 'em up as a a roguelikelike, sending players to plunder procedurally-generated dungeons. But now, eight months after the finished game launched, the devs say they can't make that and have binned it. Instead, they plan to make a Randomizer Mode shuffling item locations. The mode doesn't sound bad in itself but ditching a funded stretch goal isn't great.
In 2015, ArtPlay pitched Roguelike Dungeon with the explanation: "In this mode you'll face a new castle every time, braving its treacherous (and massive) halls for loot, glory, and the simple, satisfying feeling of going where no Miriam has gone before." That won't happen.
"Unfortunately, the code that was created early in the game's development is not currently compatible with this type of gameplay (especially a procedurally generated castle). Due to this, we regret to announce that we will not be developing Roguelike as part of the project's planned stretch goals," publishers 505 Games announced this week.
"We know this is a mode that many of you were eagerly anticipating and we apologise that we will not be able to make it happen as planned."
In its place, the Randomizer Mode will offer a variety of options to shuffle item spawns, putting everything in different places. The idea is popular in mods these days, making games a different sort of challenge for repeat playthroughs. Everything from Dark Souls to The Legend Of Zelda has a random mod these days. It's not Roguelike Dungeon though, is it.
Games will always change from their original planned form across years of development, so I'm never surprised or put out when a finished game deviates from its original Kickstarter pitch. I do think it's different with stretch goals to fund specific features. The Kickstarter page's list of stretch goals even said that "in addition to funding the creation of physical discs, the main purpose of this Kickstarter is to fund stretch goals". This stretch goal was funded. This stretch goal is not being made. Don't tout it if you're not certain you'll make it.
Stretch goals are usually rubbo though, aren't they? They too often keep cramming more and more into a game, bloating it with secondary features beyond the original scope. This means development draws on and the game is often worse. I do recognise they're hugely useful as an event to galvanise fans and draw extra crowdfunding pledges but I wish they weren't necessary.
For more on the game, check out our Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night review.