Celeste developer Noel Berry has announced that the studio’s forthcoming procedurally generated Metroidvania, Skytorn, has been canceled.
Skytorn’s development began before the team shifted gears to work on Celeste, which ended up being an incredibly successful game. However, even before the development on Celeste took priority, the team working on it struggled with figuring out its identity.
On struggling to figure out what Skytorn really was, Berry says in the post:
Having worked on the game for several years we constantly struggled with what the game was. To its core it was a procedurally generated adventure game without permadeath, but the procedural elements always clashed with the Metroidvania themes, and I didn’t know how to design around that. The story & progression slowly became much more linear as a result of being unsure how to tackle an open & randomized world. Taking out the procedural parts felt like it defeated the purpose of what the game was, so as it shifted towards a more linear adventure, the procedural map stayed but simply got more and more constricted, until the proceduralness of it didn’t really mean anything?—?it was just… there.
Berry says that if the team were to finish Skytorn, it would’ve required them to throw away much of the code and gameplay design. While the story, art, music and general themes could stay, changing the basic foundations of the game would’ve been too difficult.
Instead, the team is taking the lessons they have learned with the project onto the next. There are many fans looking forward to what Matt Thorson and Berry plan to make to follow on the heels of Celeste’s critical and commercial success. Berry confirms that the team is working on their next project, but have nothing to share at the moment.
If you’re curious as to what Skytorn looked like while it was still in development, you can watch a preview of it below. Considering that Celeste made it onto several of Paste’s end-of-year best-of lists, including being the sixth-best game of 2018, it’s safe to say we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next for its developers.