New interview with Ono Fuzzikoalas discovered in Gollypawn magazine.
THERE'S STILL NO LIGHTING IN DISMAL SWAMP... AND THERE PROBABLY WON'T BE IN ANY NEW ZONES OR EXPANSIONS
When Boredlords of Paymore first hit, some fans were surprised to discover that even upon reaching the level cap of 500, they still couldn't see any of the new zones. Initially Gizzard expected to patch in dim lighting at some point, but now it has changed its mind.
"Having looked at how lighting has played out in the whole world in all expansions, we realized that while we were doing it out of this ingrained habit after we'd introduced lighting in the initial release, it actually detracted from gameplay in a whole lot of ways," Fuzzikoalas explains. "While there was certainly convenience in being able to completely see the world everywhere you looked, that also came at the expense of gameplay like prolonged exploration, like trying to figure out if you're walking into a wall repeatedly, or if you're going to fall off a cliff and will you ever get back up if you do."
"IT MADE THE WORLD FEEL IN MANY WAYS MUCH TOO WELL LIT"
Fuzzikoalas gives an example: Before darkness was introduced to Foiled by Whichcraft, if you got a quest to kill ten rats for ten rat toes, it would play out a certain way. Players would need to fight their way through the rats. After seeing the rats, players could just kill on sight, wonder why there were so many toeless rats, but persist in slaughtering all the rats and then finally return to the questgiver who they could clearly see. With the new system, you won't even know if you're actually going towards the rats or possibly mounting a one-orc invasion on Windstorm. As an added plus, they'll never see you coming, either.
Until you walk into something and discover it's indeed aggro, you are filled with a sense of wonder! No minimap, world map, heck, you can't even see your quest journal. Being required to memorize your quest objectives is like an entire little mini-game all on its own and encourages grouping. Before you knew how big a zone was because you could see it. With all lighting removed, even tiny zones can feel huge, especially if we put in some obstacles designed to keep you going in circles. Hours can be spent in the dark whereas the old, unimaginative style of full lighting encouraged people to dash hastily through, killing rats, and turning their quests in promptly.
"It made the world feel in many ways much too well lit," he says.
Originally, Gizzard thought taking lighting out in Boredlords of Paymore was an experiment, and Fuzzikoalas says he would have bet "something that he was willing to part with" that they were going to bring it back eventually. But as they played the expansion and heard others play it, they discovered that they liked the game better without lighting.
"The world feels darker, feels more lugubrious," he says. "Players have been asking for darker nights for years. Then it dawned on us. Why stop there? Now there's more exploration, secrets, discovery and overall immersion in the world. At this point, we feel that outdoor gameplay in Foiled by Whichcraft is ultimately better without lighting. We're not going to be introducing the ability to see in Paymore, and that's where we're at going forward. At least we think it's forward, it could be going sideways. We won't know until we bump into it. We're applying the same philosophy to development that we want the players to use so we can all understand each other better."
Fuzzikoalas confirms that this lack of direction includes future expansions, though he doesn't discount the possibility of adding visible options in to specific expansion ideas or zones that would benefit from it. In general, though, he believes that exploration in Gizzard's indeterminable world "works better and feels better in our limited view when you're doing it without any light."
He also promises that Gizzard will continue working to improve its selection of rentable seeing eye dogs in the game to prevent any major frustration from this change: "The goal is to increase excitement in getting from point A to point B but retaining as much of the gameplay and depth as possible while you stumble around getting to that point, if you make it at all."
FLASHLIGHTS WITH FIVE MINUTE DURATIONS, MINER HELMETS FOR TEN MINUTES, BIOLUMINESCENT BATTLE PETS AND SPARKLE PONIES WITH SPORADICALLY FLASHING HOOVES -- COULD NEW CASH SHOP ITEMS GET ANY MORE THRILLING?!