v1.1: MIGRANT SPRING
We just released a new version of Four Horsemen, v1.1: MIGRANT SPRING. This new version fixes a lot of bugs in our initial v1.0 release, and adds a significant amount of new content as well.
For many of us in the United States, the last few years have been a trying time. Throughout Four Horsemen's development, I've watched in horror as the game's historical themes and motifs have played out in the real world, with a senseless and cruel ban on immigrants from Muslim countries taking effect, a pointless border wall with Mexico awaiting construction--not to mention thousands upon thousands of undocumented immigrants, lost in the labyrinth of red tape that would make their residency here legal, separated from their homes and families by laws that protect no one and are motivated by little more than xenophobia. We've seen white nationalists marching in the streets across the United States and the UK in the name of the ugly twentieth century myth of the ethnostate, European countries closing their borders to refugees from war and persecution even as the corpses of drowned children wash up on their shores, elections in east Africa marred by explosions of ethnic violence, and cycles of the nauseating rhythms of occupation and conquest across southeast Asia and the Middle East.
If nothing else, we at Nuclear Fishin' Software seem to have struck a chord with the patterns of historical reality--the lived experiences we made this game to comment on, drawn from our own memories and from those of our parents and ancestors, may sadly never cease to be relevant.
In light of this, I've been hard at work over the summer making one particular story arc in Four Horsemen more accessible and more enjoyable to play, one that, according to our metrics, very few players have been aware of at all. This is the protest arc, known to us internally as "Occupy Pestilence"--the largest, fascist-punchingest, most presently relevant storyline in the game. I consider it a personal failing that flaws in the game's design hid it from most players, and that those who reached it often felt confused about how to progress. I rushed it and pushed myself far past the brink of exhaustion to get the game to release on time, and it shows! In the v1.0 release, this arc plays not like an interactive, meaningful reflection of history, but a confused, rambling wall of text about popular revolution, tucked away as an easter egg in a much less ambitious game about a boy who leaves home and a girl who is good at computers.
This, as with many other issues in Four Horsemen, has been fixed. Today, I am proud to present our free v1.1 update: MIGRANT SPRING.
This new update makes the arc much more enjoyable to play through--scenes are shorter, choices are more meaningful, and there should be fewer situations where it is unclear how to proceed.
I've also added an important new UI feature. A longstanding weakness in Four Horsemen's design is that it can be hard to see how specific decisions are connected to specific changes in the story--our playtesters noted that they felt like they were making choices at random and just watching where the story would take them. I've addressed this by giving Pestilence the gift of prophecy: if a particular choice in the game would move one of the game's four storylines forward in an important way, a colored symbol will appear next to that choice. There are four different symbols, each corresponding to a different character's arc. Of course, you can't just cruise through the game by clicking on only choices with colored symbols--those choices will move the story forward, but as before, your other choices will determine the outcome. I hope this will make it easier for players to strategize and prepare their efforts to reach a Good End, especially on their first playthrough.
These changes are explained more in depth in the game's optional opening act.
Other major changes to v1.1 include:
- New music from our favorite Detroit mariachi punk band, Pancho Villa's Skull
- New optional scenes, with decisions that have long-term repercussions
- New routes and romance options
- New endings for Pestilence's arc
- New craftable items with significant gameplay benefits
- New sound effects
- More choices that affect future playthroughs
- If a protest is ongoing, events that would grant Respectability grant Popular Support instead
- More accurate tutorials
- Easier crafting recipes
- Many, many bugfixes (including that killer bug causing a crash on startup for players with save data from our Kickstarter demo)
- Better Unicode support, for players running the game on operating systems set to non-English locales
- Subtle design changes everywhere
v1.1 is designed to be fully compatible with v1.0 saves, so you can pick up right where you left off. You will have to upgrade manually (just install it over your v1.0 folder), but we are currently looking for an auto-update solution that works across all our supported platforms.
I hope this update will offer some hope, insight, and catharsis in this difficult time.