Over three years after the release of the ambitious smash RPG “Undertale,” its director Toby Fox released what appeared to be a spiritual follow-up, “Deltarune,” with little notice. At first glance, it appears to be in the same universe as “Undertale,” with the same art style and many of the same characters living peacefully. The download page for “Deltarune,” calls it “chapter 1” and says that it’s intended to be played by those who finished “Undertale.”
But “Deltarune” isn’t just a “demo,” and the scope is far beyond that of any “sequel,” especially to creator Toby Fox. In fact, according to a Twitlonger posted to Fox’s personal account, it technically isn’t even a sequel — or directly related to “Undertale’s” original plot at all.
“I will say that basically, what you’re seeing here is not the world of ‘UNDERTALE,’” Fox explains. “‘Deltarune’s’ world is a different one. With different characters, that have lived different lives.” For those with questions about the game’s setting and timeline, especially “Undertale” fans, Fox said, squarely, “Please don’t worry too much about that.”
He went on to write that the game will be a far different experience than “Undertale.” “If you played ‘Undertale,’ I don’t think I can make anything that makes you feel ‘that way’ again,” Fox wrote.
Popular on Variety
Off the bat, “Deltarune,” stands out compared to its spiritual predecessor. It introduces new characters, a revamped combat system and new themes. Many went in hoping for a quick preview-type demo, but they instead got a full-fledged, nearly-three-hour-long experience. And after a shocking cliffhanger ending, players are already wondering when the next chapter will be released.
Fans hoping for more may get what they’re looking for — but not for a while. Fox says “Deltarune” is something far more ambitious than he expected when he began planning it. It’s a project that, according to Fox, took three years, which implies it began with the culmination of “Undertale’s” development. He even wrote he’s been kept up at night “thinking about the scenes that happen in the game.”
Despite the scale of the project, Fox is absolutely determined to get it done by any means possible. Still, he acknowledges it’s far beyond a one-man project, which means he needs to start by finding a development team.
“Lots of things make this game harder to make than the last time,” Fox explained, delving into a short list of complicated tasks for Deltarune: a multi-player battle system, level design, improved graphics and outside commitments for the now-famous developer. “Essentially it’s not possible to make this game as one person (and [co-designer and co-developer] Temmie). However, it MIGHT be possible to create the game if I’m able to make a team.”
“So I’m going to try making a team. Because I really want to make this. But I may not be able to succeed because I have no experience successfully directing a team and I have no idea who I’m going to work with. Since I haven’t started assembling the team yet I have absolutely no estimation of its completion. It could take up to 999 years depending on the efficiency level.”
In other words, until Fox knows exactly who he’s working with, “Deltarune’s” next chapter won’t be out for the foreseeable future. He says he’s not ready for a Kickstarter, and he won’t set a date and do pre-orders as not to create unnecessary pressure: “It just seems like the best way not to burn anybody.”
But Fox seems absolutely determined to make it happen. Anyone already passionate about the demo shares that energy with the developer, who says he really needed to get it out into the world. “Even though so many details are still hazy,” he says, “I really want to show you the things I’ve been thinking about. That’s really my only reason for making this game. If I don’t show you what I’m thinking, I’ll lose my mind.”
He finishes off with a simple, hopeful message for new “Deltarune” followers:
“See you in ?? years… OK?