I know, I know, this update is long overdue. We appreciate your patience as we try our best to make this video game that appears to be stubbornly determined to not get made. More on the process in the following paragraphs, but first we need to face the music: this game ain't coming out in 2024. We had hoped to be announcing a firm release date around now, but it just isn't in the cards. We know that this will be disappointing for a lot of you and we're sorry for that. Maybe this was predictable, but still it always sucks when the haters are right.

The good news is that the game is not stagnant, we are still making progress and we're still excited to work on it. And here's a happy announcement: we've added a new game designer to the team- please give a warm EXOK welcome to Kyle Pulver! Kyle is a veteran indie developer who we've been friends with for over a decade. Back when Noel, Chevy, and I were living together in a shared house, I remember when Kyle was visiting and we modded our Wii so that we could all duke it out in Project M. Happy memories.

Kyle also happens to be the world champion of TowerFall (not to mention a hidden character in it - hold Left Trigger when selecting the Assassin Prince!) And of course we've always been inspired by his work, all the way back to Depict1 (2010) and Offspring Fling (2012). It's lovely to finally have the opportunity to work with him.

Kyle quickly approached us with big ideas, which can be scary for everyone involved. But it was clear that he's not here to derail the project. He's identifying our vision and the problems preventing the game from living up to it, and working with us to pinpoint solutions. Plus his fresh eyes have inspired all of us to see things anew.

Workin' on Earthblade

EXOK is very resistant to growing our team. Two big concerns with adding team members are increasing communication overhead, and creating more financial pressure as our burn rate balloons. I've always found financial pressure to be poison to the creative process. All of us cut our teeth in the DIY/freeware scene so we're used to lean teams, lightning fast iteration, and having the freedom to burn a project to the ground and rebuild it from the ashes if it just isn't working.

What pushed us to recruit Kyle was the realization that I had become the bottleneck. I've struggled to keep up with my workload and provide a strong direction for the team, while navigating all of the challenges of my personal life, including my gender transition. Transition involves a lot of change, uncertainty and doubt, and it's easy to see how that has bled into Earthblade.

I was despairing about this and apologizing to the team recently, but Pedro said something that helped me shift my thinking. He told me that this uncertainty was always going to be part of the process and that it wasn't solely coming from me- we've all had to fight through uncertainty together to make Earthblade. Even if we could go back and do everything "perfectly" from the start the result would be a different game. Despite the setbacks, we all still believe in this project, and more importantly in each other.

Earthblade Screenshot

I recently returned from an overseas trip where I underwent a major transition-related surgery. I'm still recovering both physically and emotionally, but it's so nice to be back home and at work. This was a huge, destabilizing event that loomed over the last year for me. Now that it's over, I feel such a deep sense of ease, like my mind was a tangle of knots that I can now begin to slowly unpick. And with each knot untied, more clarity takes its place. It feels like the start of a new era.

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