The devs behind Minecraft-server-turned-sandbox-RPG Hytale finally reckon they know when it'll be done. Don't get your hopes up for jumping in anytime soon, mind. In a development update posted this week, developers Hypixel think the ambitious block 'em up will be done by 2021. To keep you filled in 'til then dropped three additional update posts showing off new sights, new sounds, and our first 36 seconds of gameplay footage. Blimey, aren't you spoiled?
Revealed last year, Hypixel is an ambitious project to turn an MMO-styled Minecraft server into a standalone indie game all of its own. It's hardly the first to try and pull off "Minecraft, but", but with funding support from Riot Games, there's a good chance Hypixel Studios could pull it off.
For the most part, the developers' approach to releasing Hytale has been that it'll be "ready when it's ready". In this week's November 2019 development update, however, they've finally narrowed that down somewhat.
"Factoring in the scale of the project and the high bar we want to hit," the team write, "we’re planning for Hytale to be playable by everyone in 2021."
While that's still a long ways off, you can expect to see a whole lot more of Hytale going forward. Hypixel have been quite strict when it comes to sharing news 'til now, only revealings parts of the game they consider "launch ready". Admittedly, that's left them with a pretty small box to pull from. Hypixel want to start showing in-development features earlier, and they'll be "actively seeking feedback on certain features to ensure that we’re headed in the right direction."
On that, Hytale dropped three substantial update posts this week, including our very first look at moment-to-moment gameplay. It's very brief - about 36 seconds of spell-slinging skelly-bashing - but I reckon it looks decent enough. Minecraft combat has always pants. While this isn't a huge jump, spells and melee attacks seem to have a nice windup and heft, skeletons breaking into tiny blocky pieces when hit.
An overall progress update flaunts some of Hytale's new biomes, including a lovely autumnal forest and vibrant desert oases. Farming crops is also now possible, while the rest of the post showed off some charmingly "toothy" new monsters.
Meanwhile, a suite of new shadow, lighting and water effects were flaunted in a graphics update post. It's all quite lush, with lots of nice little effects bringing out the painted, Warcraft-styled look to Hytale's cubes. Like so much of Hytale, it's very Minecraft, but a little bit better.
Finally, the team have posted four more tunes from the game's soundtrack. It's all very whimsical, fantasy stuff - a few light-hearted forest whistles, some jingly winter bells. Nothing surprising, but very comfortable.
If all goes to plan, there'll be more of these sorts of updates going forward, including "broader development updates". It might be years before you can jump in yourselves, but at least there'll be nice pictures to look at in the meantime.