It's been years since the team at Crema looked at the idea of collectible monsters and decided that they not only wanted a piece of that pie, but they wanted to make the pie taste better. Temtem began as a project inspired by Pokemon, but one that would reach out to audiences that The Pokemon Company could never reach. First, it would release to all major platforms. Second, it would contain features that many Pokemon fans have wanted for many years, like an MMO open world. However, while getting to 1.0 was always going to be a challenge, few anticipated it would take this long. Nonetheless, after spending years on Steam Early Access, Crema finally released the full version of Temtem.
There's a lot to talk about when it comes to making the jump to 1.0. That includes questions of what the team has learned, why they've included a battle pass into a full-priced release, why they've taken this Pokemon competitor straight into Pokemon's house, and where everybody goes from here. Shacknews recently had a chance to ask Crema team members about what Temtem's future holds and what players can expect to see out of the game's full version.
Shacknews: This 1.0 release has been a long time coming, but also longer than anyone might have expected. What led to the 1.0 update ultimately being pushed back to this degree?
Lucía Prieto, Temtem Community Manager: An incommensurable increase in the scope of the game, player feedback, and unforeseeable events, mostly. The first two are closely related, as we see it: since we've included the community in many design decisions from the early stages of the alpha version of Temtem, their feedback, suggestions and ideas led us to change many core mechanics of the game, to add new features, and to review some of our original ideas. The team has been steadily growing to support that, and under normal circumstances we would have never delayed the launch so much.
COVID-19 took us by surprise and made us realize how unprepared we were for situations of that caliber. We've also tried to avoid harmful industry practices like crunch as much as possible.
Shacknews: Now that 1.0 is ready, what can players who have been on board since early access expect to see?
Prieto: Seasoned players are going to feel a significant improvement in their day-to-day playing. The entry barrier has been lowered for many mechanics. We've made customization more accessible, made Luma Temtem more common, and created teams focusing on balance to provide a dynamic competitive environment, adjusting experience gain and introducing Co-op bonuses. There are a lot of improvements happening, and there are also new items, new cosmetics, a whole new island and six corresponding completely new activities, plus new mechanics and quests. Our Early Access players will probably complain at how easy newbies have it now!
Shacknews: What can players do on the new Tamer's Paradise island?
Prieto: Tamer's Paradise is a new area focused on repeatable, fun and challenging endgame content for those who have already completed the campaign and have loftier goals. There are six new activities, each contained in one building, a new shopping mall with the most exclusive content, and the Founders' Hall, a place where we celebrate our Kickstarter Backers.
Some of the new activities have mechanics that have yet-to-be-seen in Temtem:
- Take the four Archtamers on consecutively and without changing up your team in the Archtamers' Sanctum.
- Forge a four-Tem squad and constantly adapt it in the DraftArena.
- Defeat as many enemies as possible while adapting to a list of requirements in the GritArena.
- Face off against endless hordes of wild Temtem while having limited access to items in the TemSafari.
- Explore the Evershifting Tower, a procedurally-generated, ever-changing dungeon where you'll have to build your team from scratch.
- Select one goal Temtem and personalize the difficulty settings of the two-people DigiLair, and face off the boss in Co-op with a friend!
Shacknews: What would the Battle Pass contain? And what made you opt to move forward with the Battle Pass idea for what's essentially a premium game?
Guillermo Andrades, Temtem Game Director: Temtem's Battle Pass is entirely made up of cosmetic items, meaning mounts, pieces of clothing, dyes, emotes, banners and battle animations. It also contains several rewards in the form of Novas (Temtem's premium currency), so completing a Battle Pass ensures you'll have enough Novas to purchase the next one for free.
The monetization aspect in Temtem is pretty unique because the whole game is built as an MMO, with an MMO infrastructure (big servers, large amounts of persistent data, etc). That means recurring costs for us, but we didn't want to translate those to the users directly (for example, in the form of a monthly subscription), so we opted for a more friendly approach and introduced a Battle Pass for those users that want even more customization. This solution allows us to support Temtem for years to come while giving the chance to every user to play Temtem just by paying the upfront price.
Shacknews: What were some of the biggest lessons that the team learned over the course of Temtem's early access stint?
Andrades: First and foremost, to be extra careful when sharing dates. Game development is very complicated and you never know what kind of unforeseen problems may arise.
Also, it has taught us a lot about handling a community and interacting with them on a daily basis. Before Temtem, our experience with this kind of approach to the development of a game was very limited, but Temtem has been pretty much open to the community since it became public. Dealing with this has been a new and long process for us.
Shacknews: You recently posted about Temtem's performance on the Switch. How does the Switch's performance compare with PC and the newer consoles?
Andrades: Ever since we started developing Temtem, we had Switch in our sights, so we've designed the game with its specs in mind. That has allowed us to create a quality port for Switch while avoiding a lot of problems.
There is a huge difference between Switch and PC or the newer consoles of course, so the Switch version has some drawbacks like running at 30 frames per second. However, we believe that the game is very enjoyable on Switch, and we're super eager to read the player's experiences when playing on it.
Shacknews: Why was it so important to release Temtem on the Switch, considering the work that it would take to optimize and that it's the one platform that features Temtem's biggest competitor in the form of the Pokemon series?
Andrades: While Temtem can be a very hardcore experience, it is also a very chill game that is very much enjoyable in the comfort of your bed or sofa. Even from the very beginning of the development cycle, when talking about Temtem internally, a huge part of the team was excited to be able to play it on the Switch.
We believe that Temtem and Pokemon should get to coexist peacefully and each have their own space and identity, so it was only natural for us to understand that if players were comfortable playing Pokemon on the Switch, we could offer them that same possibility for Temtem.
Shacknews: What were the biggest challenges in getting crossplay to work?
Andrades: We've always envisioned Temtem as a crossplay experience, so from the very beginning, the whole infrastructure of the game was built with that in mind. Thanks to that we haven't faced any challenges in getting crossplay or cross-progression to work in Temtem.
Shacknews: What specific things will the team be monitoring after 1.0's release? Are there any potential issues, regarding either performance or balance, that you'll look to address quickly if they arise?
Prieto: Both. We are creating a dedicated balance team that can focus on keeping the game balanced, fresh and entertaining on the competitive side. We're including the community in this, as it's our custom. As for performance, we're always paying attention to possible issues or failures. We hope we'll be able to address anything quickly.
Shacknews: With an eye on the future, is there anything else you hope to bring to Temtem after its 1.0 release?
Prieto: There's still a good amount of content we're already working on that we really, really want to implement, like Temtem Showdown (a battle simulator for PvP) or seasonal events. Features like the Arcade Bar are both a challenge and something we're really looking forward to, and then there's of course the third and last Mythical Temtem. We know the community is very eager to try the integrated Nuzlocke mode, and we're happy to oblige!
Shacknews: Lastly, what's been your favorite Temtem to design?
Andrades: This is a tough question because each Crema dev who takes part in the design process will give you a different answer. However, one of the most special ones for me is Momo, which was created with the help of a backer and is based on their real-life dog which is a Husky, and my real-life dog, a Shiba Inu called Momo.
Temtem has officially gone 1.0 and has kicked off its first season. Look for new seasons to start up every three months. It is available today on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.