What’s New at Sunspear – October 2022

What’s New at Sunspear – October 2022

Hey everyone, and welcome to the SunSpear Games Developer Update! If you’re new to the community, we’re glad to have you join us! And if you’re already a fan, thanks for the support!

Developing a game is no small feat, so we’ll be using updates like these to highlight some of the work our team is doing, even if it’s not something you’ll see directly in-game. For additional content, make sure to follow our other social media accounts for more goodies to come! We’re frequently posting content to @GatesOfPyre on our Twitter, Instagram, and our newly created TikTok. Drop by our Discord social hub to get to know other community members and our developers. We’ll also continue to post videos to our YouTube and livestream on Twitch!

In the Presence of Immortals

IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre takes inspiration from a few different genres, but you play as one of our unique, godlike commanders – the Immortals. The power fantasy of playing one of these godlike beings has been fun, but we are looking to dial that feeling up to 11. Game-changing ultimate’s such as Orzum’s “Pillar of the Heavens” have felt impactful, but over the past few months we have asked ourselves two important questions:

  1. How do we ensure players really feel like the Immortal they’re playing as?
  2. Just how far can we push the power fantasy of these Immortals?

We set out to visually and mechanically rework all four of our current Immortals with those questions in mind, and playtesters have already had the opportunity to start experimenting with these revamped Immortals and their abilities. Pushing the boundaries of our design with new mechanics — Mala’s “Blood Bar” or Ajari literally making all her units invulnerable for a short time — feels flavorful, fun, and epic. The reworks involve every team in the company, so we’re excited with how far the Immortals have come and look forward to seeing how much farther they can still go!

With the start of these reworks, we’ve seen our Immortals taking their place on the battlefield more often, and we like the direction their abilities are going. However, while we feel we’ve had a good start to this process, there have been some examples of mad science going too far. We’re looking to make sure we keep things balanced while retaining what makes these new abilities and interactions fun. An Immortal we will be modifying to maintain that balance of “fun to play as and fun to play against” is Orzum. If any of you have been following our competitive events recently, you probably have heard of his new, unique turret foundation mechanic.

Orzum Imperial Foundation

“Orzum casting ‘Imperial Foundation!’ It creates a new, neutral turret foundation that any player can build upon.”

The flavor of the spell fits the Immortal perfectly: it’s a domineering ability with a map-wide impact. However, in extreme cases, it can lead to some frustrating game states with countless unbreachable turrets, causing a game to stall even when you control the overwhelming majority of the map. Our fearless Director of Game, Colter Hochstetler, had this to say:

“Orzum has a relentless territory-claiming style that played well in 95% of circumstances, and the design team will be focusing on sanding off the rough edges of that last 5% to ensure games remain action-packed.”

We’re excited to continue iterating on these new versions of the Immortals, and ask that you please keep your feedback coming so we know what you’re most excited about, too!

Xol and Eku Concept Art

“The finished 2D concept of Xol, and her companion, Eku!”

Alongside the changes to our Immortals, there are several optimizations and improvements we’re working on across the board. Some will remain behind the scenes, and some may even have made it to the game by the time you read this post (such as our Linux-hosted servers, which offer much better stability and performance, especially in 2v2+ matches). We expect the entirety of these reworks and this current milestone of development to be completed in Q1 2023. When the milestone is complete, we plan to reveal our entirely new Social Client, built from scratch in the Unreal Engine. I’ve seen bits and pieces of this new client already, and boy oh boy, you all are in for an amazing treat! Besides a cleaner and more modern appearance, this new client will be easier to navigate and will be easier to update to stay consistent with the latest version of our game.

IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre Ability Icons
“As part of our constant polish updates, here’s a teaser of icon improvements you’ll be seeing soon!”

The first ever “Alpha Trials” Event

When IMMORTAL entered Alpha earlier this year, we received a ton of new, interested players, including plenty of players who wanted to duke it out in competitive events! We held our biggest tournament ever on September 17th called “The IMMORTAL Alpha Trials”. Besides featuring the highest number of competitors we’ve seen so far, there was an added prize pool for the top 8 players, and we partnered with the AllChat Esports team to host an awesome live show! For everyone who’s supported us so far, events like these are a small way for us to celebrate your success and passion, and the event brought out the best competitors in our community. It featured a 24-entrant 1v1 bracket with a $500 prize pool for the top eight competitors, as well as two keyboard giveaways provided by Drop.com. Ultimately, our reigning Pre-Alpha champion Highdra was able to defeat his rival, the #1 seeded Magicall, in an epic Grand Final match. Could this be the start of the first competitive rivalry in IMMORTAL?! 🤔

For IMMORTAL, it is likely that we are still years away from a fully developed professional esports ecosystem. We’ve seen the work other developers and tournament organizers have put in to raise their games to that level of play, and if the interest is there, we hope to gradually grow our competitive events with your support. Our Alpha Trials were incredibly exciting, and we were happy to host it along with AllChat Esports and Drop.com. The amount of planning and work that went into our first event was epic, and we are extremely grateful to everyone who was involved, especially you viewers and competitors!

The tournament showcased IMMORTAL: Gates of Pyre at the highest production value we’ve achieved so far, and we have many ideas on how to improve the next one! With our recent changes to server architecture and the move to Unreal Engine 5, we are happy to announce that our next event will be a 2v2 tournament, to take place in early-mid November! Once we have the systems in place to confidently host 2v2 events, our goal is to host a large tournament every month. Please stay tuned by following our social media and joining our Discord!

That about does it for this update! These are a few of the exciting things we’ve been working on recently, and there is so much more to come! We are actively looking to improve how we communicate with our player base and friends, and initiatives such as this post are ways we could do so in the future. If you like it, let us know on discord!

Hope you all have a great month, and we’ll see you next time.

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  • SeamusA
  • Seamus Anderson