Dark or Light

Chronicles of Elyria's Latest Fireside Chat Talks Timelines, Spin-Offs, Internships, And Swipes At Media Coverage

Joseph Bradford Updated: Posted:
News 0

Chronicles of Elyria's latest fireside chat on Discord was interesting, with the company's developer talking about timelines, internships, and development on the myriad spinoffs, and even taking a shot at media coverage.

Last week, in the Chronicles of Elyria Discord channel, Jeromy "Caspian" Walsh held a nearly two-hour chat about the MMO, its myriad spin-off projects, and much more. In the chat, Walsh touched on a ton of different topics and took questions from present backers in a Q&A, showcased in a YouTube recording of the evening. 

Walsh kicked things off by talking about January's feedback form. He claims "over 50%" of the "several 100 responses" were positive feedback, while others were more "ambivalent," and even fewer were outright negative. The negative responses were "taken to heart," according to Walsh, admitting that there is still quite a bit of frustration on the part of backers who feel spurned by the lack of tangible progress shown over the last almost decade since the MMO's Kickstarter.

Walsh also talked about his findings from the feedback form, with him somehow surprised (though he admits after that it really shouldn't be that surprising) that those who are still looking forward to some semblance of the MMO game they paid for were most interested in the online component of the planned spin-off mode, Kingdoms of Elyria.

"Moving on to KoE, that was the other thing I was actually really surprised by, which was in the question about which part of KoE you were most interested in and are going to engage with; I found that most people were interested in KoE Online, which is kind of the culmination of the colony mechanics, the settlement mechanics, and then obviously the domain mechanics, but being able to play that all online in a massively multiplayer environment."

Caspian answered a few questions, including one about how he plans to restabilize Soulbound Studios (which he admits he's still just a one-man show) and growing to fulfill Elyria's dream. In response, Walsh talked about whether he felt the usage of AI was "ethically appropriate" when it comes to building assets for the studio, while also saying he would "love to take volunteers" later on in the conversation, though says that Soubound can't take on any due to legal counsel's advice. The solution seems to be internships, which would offer labor to the studio in return for college credit - despite the fact that unpaid internships are mired in their own ethical controversies, despite still being legal in the United States.

 Walsh does put a call out to those listening to apply for an internship with him at the studio, though he is more interested in the “diamonds in the rough” to seemingly limit the amount of hands-on mentorship he’d need to do with any of the interns who come onboard.

Walsh also goes on to talk about timelines, saying that he enjoys not having the “pressure of people pinging me when it’s going to be done,” when asked when his expectation the first product from KoE will be out.

“I have sort of abandoned a timeline because it’s just me. And so instead of trying to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to work on this for two weeks, I’m gonna work on this for an additional week,’ and kind of breaking it down like that; I’m instead getting up every day and working my ass off and pushing through things as quickly as I can. And so I don’t really want to try and give an estimate of when I think it’s going to be done until, you know, it’s mostly done.”

However, he does note that he expects that Kingdoms of Elyria: Domains will release by the end of the year - though we’ve heard this before, as Settlements was planned on a 2023 release, which it missed. Domains itself is built up like a “grand strategy game” with support of up to 32 players, according to Walsh. From there, he plans to release Kingdoms of Elyria: Settlements, which, as Caspian explains it, will marry the traditional grand strategy game with the colony sim. And from there, the plan is to release Kingdoms of Elyria Online to allow for MMO-style persistent worlds. 

Walsh also touches on an in-between game he’s building called Elyria Adventures, which is meant to give players a chance to check out the adventuring mechanics in multiplayer and allow him to iterate on them. Walsh also states that the Adventures title is something “10K backers” will have heard about and is one of the reasons that CoE’s graphics went from “really high fidelity into the lower fidelity graphics” to “focus on gameplay mechanics without having to support the artists.” 

According to Caspian, Adventures is also meant to act as a prologue for one of the stories in the game.

During the last thirty minutes of the fireside chat, Caspian turned his attention to media coverage and said he would be “focusing internally on the backers” rather than being transparent with the world at large about development.

Specifically citing media coverage from sites like ours and our friends at MassivelyOP, as well as influencer coverage, making the claim that it’s overtly negative in a way that is targeted to drive people from the game. Walsh calls out how he perceives Chronicles of Elyria is being covered, from “taking whatever I say and reframing it in the worst possible way” to stating that coverage is “not even honest” when sites do write about the game. Walsh accuses sites like ours and other MMO-centric writers of “actively trying to turn people away from the studio and the development of the game.”

He specifically mentions the fact that in coverage, the lawsuit that sprung up as a result of the initial closure of the MMO studio and cessation of development on the game (though Walsh backtracked a few weeks later) continues to be mentioned in articles. The lawsuit was dismissed last October.

Walsh also cites media coverage in the industry at large as a driver for layoffs in the industry, and not the market forces and poor planning by management that is actually to blame, citing the media coverage of Destiny 2’s last expansion as an example. Walsh essentially complains that the media isn’t latching onto another angle of the story - the story of one of the small developers trying to build this from the ground up.

“But at the same time, I’m still trying to do what very few other studios are trying to [do], do it at this scale with as many features. And so it’s hard. But I’m still here working for the community for you guys - and for me because I want to see this game made. And you would think that a lot of these organizations would try and highlight the fact that there is a studio who is doing this, or you know, even if they’ve stumbled, are still persisting and trying to get this out to players. And instead, they don’t.”

Which would be a great story when - if - the MMO people paid for is actually released.

As a result, Walsh says that he will be refocusing internally, which will mean “either removing or minimizing the publicly facing feeds and forums,” in an attempt to effectively decrease the amount of media scrutiny the development is under. Apparently, in order to create an account, backers will need to provide their name, address and phone number so that Caspian can "actually track who people are."

Thanks, Felix, for the tip.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore