Death And Resurrections – Chronicles Of Elyria Developer Interview

chronicels of elyira developer interview

Back in 2016 Chronicles of Elyria burst onto the Kickstarter scene with a bright future and some truly novel ideas in tow. Four years later and eight million in crowdfunding later and developer Soulbound Studios dropped a message to supporters that brought an end to development on this massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Roll on a few months and yesterday, Studio lead Jeromy “Caspian” Walsh launched the first in a series of updates announcing that Chronicles of Elyria is very much alive.

Despite the promise of a huge open world, expansive player-driven quests, and the chance to build your own dynasty in a modern MMO world things haven’t exactly gone well for the legacy of this ill-fated MMO. The on-off closure of this studio, a lack of perceived deliverables, and some seriously aggrieved backers means that the history of Elyria has a ton of baggage to unpack. With so much controversy surrounding the apparent off on status of Soulbound Studios MMO, we jumped at the chance to send a few questions to Jeromy Walsh about Soulbound Studio, what’s coming up for Chronicles of Elyria and what’s actually going on behind the scenes.


Q1. A ton has happened to Chronicles of Elyria of late. Could you tell us a bit about where CoE is at in terms of development?

Right now, we’re currently in the process of revising our internal goals based on what we can complete quickly. Our team is only beginning to reform and we need to manage our workload accordingly. There are wins we can make in a lot of areas of the game, and we’ve spent the last few months identifying our best roadmap to completion and developing a side of the project we’re hoping to get into players’ hands as quickly as possible. While I can’t go into too much detail as we’re still developing, it should satisfy a large percentage of the player base, and reignite the community’s passion for the project.

Q2. We know from the recent developer diary that Chronicles of Elyria is still alive, but how alive is it? Are we still expecting the same ambitious goals as we did when it burst onto Kickstarter?

Our goals for the project haven’t changed and we’re still planning to deliver on it as intended. While our resources have changed and 2020 has impacted us in a big way (like many other studios), we’re adapting to the challenge of rolling out CoE in a different way, while ensuring that its scope and original vision remains intact.

Q3. The ambitious scale of CoE still seems formidable. How do you manage your goals, what to keep and what to compromise on now?

It’s true we’ve had to adapt our development approach, timelines, and project roadmap based on the challenges we’ve faced over the last year. But it’s less a question of what to keep and compromise on, and more a case of reordering our resources to deliver on our original vision. In terms of managing our goals, it’s about having smaller, more frequent milestones, rather than the larger targets we had before.

Q4. What still gets you excited for CoE and are we likely to see any more of it anytime soon?

In the coming months you’ll absolutely see more, and there’s lots we want to talk about and show in 2021. Inside Chronicles of Elyria is the first in a series of videos, and when complemented by blog posts, we think they’ll give plenty of insight for the community. I’m no less excited about Chronicles of Elyria today than as I was before. As much as there have been challenges, I’m still looking forward to what we’re creating. The only real difference is now I get to play a more active role in the engineering itself – something that I always enjoy.

Q5. We know that early alpha backers did get access to see some tests but what did you learn from the Testers of Elyria release?

The testing phase was shorter than we’d like, but we did gain valuable feedback on the feel of the game, the traversal mechanics, and a better sense of what kind of gameplay our most active backers are interested in. That feedback has very much helped plot the course for the coming months as we rework our internal goals and development pipeline. Feedback of any kind is incredibly valuable, and we’ve always been keen to hear what our testers have had to say. We’re very much looking forward to sharing what we’ve been working on and getting more feedback in 2021.

Q6. Despite the sometimes fiery nature of the relationship between yourself and elements of the MMO community you’re front and centre for the latest CoE developer diary. Can you tell us how the team plans to communicate with potential players going forward?

Going forwards, our communication will be a combination of Inside Chronicles of Elyria videos, mixed with design journals, blog posts and gameplay footage. It’s a traditional set we think will work well as we begin to lift the lid on what we’re working on. We’re aiming for at least one video a month, complemented with blog posts when we feel they’re necessary. Our first blog post will go live a little after Episode 1 releases and follow on from there. The cornerstone of our communication as we move forward will be transparency with the community – and players are free to contact us at any time if they’ve burning questions they want answering!

All The Answers?

So did we get any real answers? You can be sure that Chronicles of Elyria will have regular updates coming up and the team at MMORPG established that backers should get their rewards. Whether we’re going to get a solid roadmap and what that actually means for players, we don’t really know quite yet. Possibly we might find out more when Chronicles of Elyria drop their next update next month.

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