Shattered Pixel Dungeon in 2023
Happy new year rat punchers!
Just as with previous years, I’m writing a blog post at the start of 2023 to summarize my longer-term plans for Shattered Pixel Dungeon! This post starts with a year in review, and then lists a bunch of major changes and additions that I have planned for the game. These should end up being the focus of future updates both in this year and into the future.
If you’d like to see my previous ‘plans for the year’ blog posts, you can find them here: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019.
Looking Ahead to 2023
Before getting to what I have planned in 2023, let’s take a quick look back at 2022. Of the 13 items listed in last year’s post, 3 were fully completed, and 4 were partially completed. Some progress has definitely been made, but there’s no way around the fact that 2022 has been a more quiet year with just 3 major updates.
While 2022 was lighter on new content than I’d like, it did include Shattered’s release on Steam! I’ve been so thrilled to see Shattered do well outside of the mobile sphere, and hope to see it continue to grow on Steam as it has on Android and iOS.
In 2023 I want to actually release some of the major content additions that I promised in 2022. This includes at least one new hero, big quest reworks, and probably a bunch of smaller additions/changes as well. Read on for more details!
Please note that this is not a specific plan or content roadmap. I really try to avoid locking something down until I’m actually developing it directly. Everything I’m about to discuss is speculative and may change, and isn’t necessary going to be added in the order that its listed.
Firstly, The Duelist and v2.0.0 are currently well into development. Unfortunately I’ve been sick these last two weeks (a nasty cold), which has delayed things somewhat. I’m currently aiming to share more details about v2.0.0, and a beta, around the end of January or early February.
If you’d like an overview of the Duelist, take a look at the last blog post. Currently the base Duelist class (including talents and weapon abilities) is complete, subclasses are about half implemented, and armor abilities are fully concepted.
I’ll also try to post a few shorter updates and teasers for v2.0.0 over on Mastodon and Twitter during this month.
These are things I’m giving more immediate priority to. I’m going to try and get most or all of these done in 2023.
Caves Quest Rework
Initially slated for 2022, I ended up postponing the caves quest rework to 2023 because of some design hiccups. I want to change the quest into a sort of ‘mining minigame’ that lets the player dig through a specialized environment to find treasures to bring back to the blacksmith.
Aleks and I are working on some more art for the game! This time around we’re planning splash arts for each of the game’s five regions. These will show up during loading transitions and show off each environment in fully rendered detail. All I’m ready to show off is a teaser for the sewers art at the moment though.
City Quest Rework
After the caves quest, I also have some plans for a reworked city quest. My current concept is to have the Imp ask the player to raid a special dwarven vault. The major catch will be that none of the player’s items can go with them, leading to a little microcosm of gear progression that will only exist within the vault.
Once the Duelist is finished, I can start thinking about the second hero I want to add. The Cleric is a divine magic user with a wide variety of defensive, supportive, and utility spells. I want them to contrast with the Mage, who likes to heavily upgrade wands for more direct power.
These ideas are all pretty solid in my head but have less importance, or rely on other things being finished first. I may get one or two of these done in 2023.
I want shops to use an interface, rather than placing items on the ground. This would improve existing shops and allow for new ones. These shops would appear semi-randomly through the dungeon with more limited and specialized stock. Some may trade in things other than gold as well.
New Item Type
I think there’s room in the game for a ‘modifier’ item, which would be more about tweaking gameplay variables than giving direct power or utility. Alchemical energy might work very well as a means of producing and powering up these items, and would give more reason to turn excess consumables into energy.
Once I’ve added the two new heroes, I would really like to start adding lore documents that focus on the heroes themselves. These could include journals written by the heroes from their perspectives, or documents that describe interactions and conversations between the heroes.
Just as in 2022, There are a bunch of smaller content additions that I could add. These will appear as side content in other updates. Right now the things I’m considering most are: new badges, new music/sfx, a new artifact, new enemies, a new challenge, UI improvements, rebalances/reworks, and QoL/bug fixes.
These ideas will get worked on eventually, but are lower priority. They might get more fleshed out concepts in 2023 but I am unlikely to work on any of them directly.
While I don’t have a specific design in mind yet, there’s an obvious opportunity to add a quest to the Demon Halls. I’m not eager to make the game too long, but I do think that lengthening the last parts of the game a little would be a good thing.
More Environment Details
While working on the new splash arts with Aleks, its really become clear to me that the game’s current environments are a bit plain in terms of the types of terrain that you can encounter. New terrain types could have gameplay effects, or just be about visual variety.
It would be nice to add one more subclass to each hero, to better take advantage of Shattered’s increased equipment and class diversity. However, it’s important that I have enough good ideas to ensure that all of the new subclasses are interesting.
These are neat ideas I have which I currently do not have a place for, either due to not having a working design in my head or because of the significant effort required. They are the sort of things I might look to work on in the future when I’m otherwise finished with Shattered updates.
It’s a common request to have more dungeon floors, but I don’t really want to make the game longer. An alternate path solves that problem by offering new environments and enemies which tax the skills of experienced players. Of course, adding in such a path would be a gigantic time commitment.
New Pixel Art
Over the years Shattered has gotten a new 2.5D art style, new sound effects, hero splash arts, and new music! The pixel art itself now feels a little dated. I’m not sure exactly how I might do this yet, but I might like to remake the game’s sprites and environment texturing, while still staying true to the original style.
Those are my plans for 2023 and beyond! While there’s still plenty to do, the items on the priority list are slowly becoming more short-term and specific, as I try to keep the total number of items to about 12-15. Hopefully 2023 will have a larger emphasis on new content, and I can finally share some of the big content additions I’ve teased for a while now.
If you enjoy Shattered and want to help me keep making it, please consider supporting me on Patreon! Patrons get access to exclusive weekly mini blogs about upcoming updates, monthly Q&As and Content Polls, physical loyalty rewards, and early alpha access to updates!
You can discuss this blog post on the Pixel Dungeon Subreddit, or on the Steam Community Forums!