General discussion about CrossCode.

A love letter to CrossCode

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LNBzero

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A love letter to CrossCode

by LNBzero » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:01 am

Hello dear developers of RadicalFishGames, publishers of Deck13 and the wonderful community,

First I feel the need to apologise to have any kind of response to the finished game. I've been closely following the game for at least 3 to 4 years now and while I've not said much in the Discord past year. I should at least have given a congratulations or similar. So with that said I'm sorry for this late reply and I'll try to make up with it sharing my view on CrossCode and related in detail.

Years ago while I was in between jobs and had a lot of spare time on hands I was browsing around Twitch. A guy I met in another online game was streaming a tough game so I decided to cheer him on some. After a bit he was done with the game and rage-quit it but still felt his stream session was too short. This is when someone notified him of the CrossCode demo that was out publicly. This was my very first encounter and it was pretty much love on first sight.

I decided to try the demo myself right away and so I started with Shizuka in the dark and gloomy Asian styled forest now known as Sapphire Ridge. The very first thing I right away noticed were the smooth/tight controls. At the time I had to get used to the keyboard & mouse controls because the demo had no controller support. The brief intro right away taught me the ropes of the combat and it felt really satisfying. I right away realised the sound effects were spot on and wouldn't annoy me due time. Something that happens with a lot of other games with fast-paced combat, especially if they have voices and shout attacks all-the-time. Reaching the final battle scenario just before the Old Hideout and using the first Art felt awesome too. Then the story left you with a cliffhanger because that's where the prologue ended, and this has never changed in all releases so far.

Then we start with Lea on the ship as we all know. The tutorial was just the right amount of hand-holding: Not too much to get to the point of "Oh come on just let me play the game already!" or too little to be like "I'm stuck, why was this basic thing not explained in the beginning?!?" All this while being kept in the dark on what in the world is going on. The characters I met early game all had a likeable personality. And Lea herself is just an amazing character as well. Despite her inability to speak her facial expression often explain enough what she's going through. Sassy characters are often a win in my book anyway.

After the tutorial and meeting some more characters and some more tutorial pointers nicely woven into the story I had the encounter with the so called Blue Avatar. The boss-fight I was thrown in was a good test to see if I understood the basic combat mechanics taught earlier during the prologue with Shizuka. Sadly at the time being this is where the demo ended the story. However there was this Exploration Mode that let you explore Autumn's Rise.

So, after playing this, I felt this was brilliant game design. And even for a demo it felt thoroughly polished already. The pixel art is often a good choice to make a great game that won't age due it's graphic style. However there's pixel art and pixel art. This game has very detailed art with a lot of work put into it. There's a lot of detail everywhere in the game from random characters to objects around the world. I already said the sound design was top tier for me but I haven't eve said anything about the music yet. The soundtrack of the game is perfect. Some tracks sound like your classic SNES tunes matching the art style and game-play of the game yet other tunes do feel like your classic MMORPG music which is what CrossWorlds is. The only complaint I had during the beta releases was the default battle music being somewhat repetitive however in the final release this was as well polished and changed. Throughout the years there's been several beta releases. I've played most of them until I reached the point about a year ago I would rather wait for the final release and not spoil the story too much for myself.

Speaking of releases let me talk some of the development on it's own. CrossCode has somewhat introduced me to Discord. I had used it a bit for a few weeks for other reasons and then found out CrossCode had a server where the developers were hanging out as well and actually join in conversations. I had a warm welcome from the first day and met a bunch of people from the community and indeed some developers as well. And yes, like I said, I haven't been active much past year. When I joined the Discord had just introduced the feature to "Hide offline people if there's 100+ people on your server". The CrossCode server wasn't even affected by it yet just to give you an idea of how little the amount of people it had back then. The server however kept growing and growing, and I'm not saying this is a bad thing. In fact it probably did the game a lot of good. But for me personally it got too big so I ended up lurking more than responding much. I said a thing once a while occasionally but that's about it. Either way before this I got in touch with Lachsen, GFleugel, R.D. and Intero. I already knew that especially Lachsen was very active on social media. When looking into this game myself I saw his name all over the place: Twitter, Reddit, Steam Discussions, and their own CrossCode forum, you name it. Always in a kind manner even if the posts he replied to were ridiculous rants. I'm still amazed by this and can't press enough to other developers for other Indie titles how effective it is. When meeting them directly in Discord they were always open for questions, suggestions, but also wouldn't refrain from joining into jokes/memes. This was a very pleasant experience for myself and probably a lot of other people.

Now, I won't go into detail on the final release too much to avoid spoiling things for people that have yet to play. Though I suspect people that read this wouldn't do this before playing the game themselves first. Just a few things is that the game hit me close to home several times throughout the story. For example the following that was lingering throughout the whole story somewhat: The whole concept of a video-game being real or not. Like friendships you make in online games, are they actual real friends or just some people you met online? It's something I've been pondering myself for years. Often to myself I do consider some people I meet online often as important as real-life-friends. And I don't just mean things like Facebook or other social media "friends". However it's mostly not the same in return. Especially in this age where people meet so many people online. This game plays with this concept a lot as well and because of this hit me personally here and there.

After I finished the game, regardless of the ending, I was left with quite the empty feeling. Not because of the ending, so please don't take this as a judgement on the ending itself. But more the fact of "It's over now..." after 4 years of following this. As said earlier I found this game during a jobless period of mine. I was quite down at the time and things still aren't that great and still trying to find a reasonable job. Real life complications make this hard but I won't go into detail on this as I'm sure it's not interesting and there's plenty of people that have it a lot worse. I just wanted to press because of these things and following the game for so many years I realised this had come to an end. Perhaps you know this feeling after following a TV or book series for a long time and after the final episode/page you know you'll never get to experience it the same ever again. I literally felt kind of bad for a day or 2 but looking back now this was for me just once again a sign this game is very special to me.

With all of this out of the way I want to thank everyone that walked "The Track" with me. I met great people along the way and hope this game will be liked by many as much I do. I wish RadicalFishGames and all the people that worked with the game all the best in the world and I'll be following you closely and look forward to future projects besides the planned DLC's for CrossCode. (Don't forget to take some time for yourself and look back as well though!) Thank you for making this awesome game and thanks to everyone that supported this in any way, either by backing the game during it's kick-start period or purchasing it later or reporting bugs or suggesting features.

Thanks for anyone reading this to the end, at first it was just meant as a message to the developers but maybe it can spark a nice conversation or discussion as well. And I felt this game deserves another public message of praise, even if it's from someone unknown such as myself.

Yours sincerely,

LNBZero

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