So far my thoughts are that it sure is an undertale but with some smart expansions on the existing combat and the same vibe of just under the surface menace that never quite tilts into full teenage edgelordiness nor complete naivety though as with the first one I still find some of the whimsy forced. And as of this moment it feels a bit like more of the same though I have yet to reach the end of whatever this thing is
I really, really like the tone, the writing, and the style of this, as I did with Undertale. As with that game, too, though, there’s just not quite enough happening for me personally in the gameplay department to completely fall for it. (Also: that game became a little too much for me difficulty-wise towards the end in a way that was frustrating because I really wanted to see it through and kept hitting walls). I admire both games and will continue to play them, but TBH I really look forward to seeing what Toby Fox will do post-Undertale universe and was hoping, when I saw the news about this announcement, that the game would be…that.
I was really fascinated by the opening, too, and hoping it was going in a pretty different direction as a result of that, which made what the game ultimately becomes (basically, Undertale+) tougher to swallow for me. Of course, I can’t really judge it fully yet because knowing Toby, it’s still going to go some places. I’m especially interested in the fact that it seems already to be playing on the whole pacifism from the last game in a way that I hope really gets subverted by the end. If that develops similarly to what the first game did I think it would be pretty disappointing for me.
I kind of feel the same as you about the game. It was fine, and getting more Undertale flavor is always welcome, but I kept expecting a big twist that never came. Which in itself would have been fine, but with the surprise release, the whole not talking about the game for 24 hours, and that weird ToS when you install it, I felt like Toby Fox was implying something that the game didn’t deliver on. Of course, there could be some secret I missed, and who knows, maybe subsequent chapters will go somewhere interesting. But right now, I really don’t feel anything for Deltarune.
And no, I don’t consider Kris pulling out their own heart and having red eyes to be a twist. It’s practically werewolf Michael Jackson looking back at the camera at the end of the Thriller video. A neat visual, sure, but not really a twist.
I’m excited because Toby Fox just turned Undertale into Homestuck.
A major element of Homestuck was that Hussie kept playing with the expectations of the readers as the series went on longer and longer. Screwing around with audience reactions ended up becoming thematically central to the whole story, mirroring the comments and discussion of the fans with the motivations and personality of the various heroes and villains.
In Deltarune’s case, it’s being heavily implied that all of this is happening because of Gaster, a very meta character from the last game that no longer really existed in the game in the normal sense. Add in Gaster’s dialog in game and in the twitter posts, and all of this looks suspiciously like Homestuck level shenanigans, having characters make media outside of the comic reality itself to move the story and directly engage with the reader or player themselves instead of through the player character. Also can’t forget Gaster putting out the surveys.
In other words, with the supposedly episodic structure being hinted, Deltarune is purposefully toying with what fans expected, even offering popular fandom headcanons in the make-up of the alternate universe. It’s changing Undertale from a story you engage with on a meta level to a story an entire community of people engage with on a meta level for the real thematic aim of the story and experience.
As a big fan of SUDA 51’s The 25th Ward, which literally has a character transcend the game world to become the player’s cursor to explore themes of control, power, and player agency, I’m super excited by where all of this is going.
Love your take on this; I’m so glad you brought this angle of what Fox is doing (which I honestly probably would’ve missed on my own) into the disucssion.
That was my one big hope after playing the game; that the “Survey” title meant that Fox was collecting data on player choices and was going to do something really weird with it.
Has anyone summed up the meta-stuff from outside of the game somewhere? I didn’t even really know that was a thing, tbh. I looked up the Gaster twitter account but I guess I don’t really understand what’s happening there.
I do think it amounts to a pretty substantive twist. The game plays the card that someone who knew more about some of the more hidden content in Undertale knew from the start – the character you’re playing as is Chara, not Frisk.
Or it’s something like that – it takes the illusion of control that you were given in the Dark World and takes it back out of your hands. If you played the game as a pacifist, you are confronted with the fact that your shoes are now being controlled by something between malevolent and actively harmful to those around them. I think it raises above being a ‘visual’ in that regard!
To me, it feels like there is a line being drawn between the ‘real world’ (e.g. the school, home, &c) and the ‘Dark World’ or whatever the place is called. In one, you (as the voice at the beginning and Susie make clear) are not in control of what is happening & your choices don’t matter; in the other, you can choose to be peaceful and make a difference in your fate.
I’m not sure if that’s building towards something, but it does feel meaningful in the story.
I suppose I never got as deep into Undertale as most people because I never knew you weren’t playing as Frisk. I only played it once on a pacifist run and never bothered to dig deeper, so I guess that’s on me.
So maybe Deltarune is for the hardest core Toby Fox fans? I admittedly feel a little out of the loop here, what with all the conversation happening on Twitter and people discussing the Undertale fandom, so maybe this just isn’t for me.
You’re ask to name “the fallen child” at the beginning of the game, but the game never specifies which fallen child you’re naming. The player-named character (“Chara”) is the first child to fall into the Underground unlike Frisk, who comes after a number of others have already fallen and been killed by ASGORE.
I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but there’s a degree to which when you’re looking to dig into what the game is offering up at the moment/speculating on what comes next, you’re going to dig into the additional content/context offered by the different paths.
I’m definitely not a super hardcore Toby Fox fan, but I know enough to catch what was being supposed.
To clear up what you & @Highwire are talking about: in Undertale, you are playing as Frisk, who is not the character you name at the beginning of the game (who is called “Chara” by the fanbase as a default name), who was the first Fallen Human. Frisk is depicted as wearing a purple/blue sweater, while Chara (who you meet through the super-violent ending) wears green/yellow and is constantly smiling. You find out more about them by digging into some of the lore around the other Fallen Humans – in particular, the Knife (which is a weapon in Undertale) is specifically theirs.
In Deltarune, Kris (which is a really similar name to Frisk!) is wearing a green/yellow sweater. This feels like a Chekhov’s Gun because, for me, you immediately know that means they are bad news. However, the game does not do anything with this fact until the end, where you lose control of Kris, who rips out their own soul and brandishes a knife with that smile.
I think it’s less “only for the fans”, but more than knowing the additional context makes clear that it (probably – who knows?) isn’t just a catching image.
I loved the hell out of this chapter. I think the way you have to manage the sometimes-conflicting personalities of your party on top of trying to empathize with your enemies is a really natural evolution of Undertale’s design philosophy, and I’m curious to see how it develops going forward.