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Deltarune Chapter 2 continues the legacy, but where can it go next?

By on October 12, 2021 0

It’s hard to assess Deltarune as it is now. After all, Chapter 2 (out of probably seven) released a few days ago and three years later Chapter 1 originally released on PC. There are currently plans for seven chapters in total.

The periodic publication schedule doesn’t help either. While each chapter stands well on its own with only threads of continuity and a cliffhanger moving the story from chapter to chapter, the fuller picture has yet to reveal itself.

Instead of trying to force an assessment of Deltarune – an impossibility, especially given everything the game has yet to reveal – it might make more sense to ask what the first two chapters suggest about what’s to come.

Immerse yourself directly into the world of darkness.

Chapter 2 follows the story of Chapter 1, where protagonist Kris and their classmate Susie fall into another realm called the Dark World. There they are tasked with closing the dark fountains with spring in order to avoid a catastrophic event affecting both the dark and the light worlds.

This second chapter takes the two, along with their companion Ralsei, into a whole new world of darkness themed around computers, technology, and web spaces. The main antagonist, Queen, wishes to use the power of the fountains to create an unrealistic utopia, corrupting enemies with viruses to prevent the team from shutting down the fountain. Two of Susie’s and Kris’s Light Realm’s friends are also trapped in space, and by connecting with enemies and pushing the queen away, the fountain is closed.

Beyond the history and the differences of the world, Deltarune has so far followed a formula established by its predecessor, Subtitle. Witty dialogues, creative combat mechanics, meta-narratives, and unique characters were all what made Subtitle so big and a tradition Deltarune continued.

Just another day in your… wait is Undertale Sans?

Indeed, some of the highlights of the two Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 were how the game continued to disrupt the traditional RPG formula. Subtitle did this quite shockingly, as it was revealed that “exp” and “lv” stand for “execution points” and “violence level” respectively. Indeed, it was a game where no monsters had to die, where leveling was not the end goal, and where the action of the characters had a significant effect on the narrative.

Of Chapter 1, Deltarune continued with this approach of flipping RPG mechanics on its head. Enemies can always be spared and, in this game, recruited from a central world where they exist as townspeople. Battles, in particular, are always a unique blend of turn-based mechanics and hellish bullet dodging.

The fights are always a treat. You never know how the game will play with the conventions!

For example, Chapter 2Everyone’s boss fights played out with different kinds of games. While some were based on the standard Attack vs. Spare from the game, others have borrowed mechanics from games like Punch ! or fill in the adjacent boxes.

And as far as fourth wall dialogue and pauses go, I could go on and on. The queen recruits your friend, only to avoid him because he’s annoying even to her, the main antagonist. Items that are functionally identical but with slightly different names selling for triple the amount from side-by-side sellers. Sans, the most meta-character of Subtitle, existing and “recognizing” the player from somewhere. The list may include all possible interactions in the game.

What is clear is that the game continues to exude the creativity and defining characteristics of the RPG genre that have driven Subtitlethe massive popularity and success of. Toby Fox has the ambition to do Deltarune something different from Subtitle without deviating completely from this formula.

What is not yet clear is how Deltarune will connect all the pieces he has arranged.

To go back to Subtitle for a moment, Subtitle is critically acclaimed and loved because every action has had an impact. Kill the “boss?” Tutorial. She’s gone and the whole world knows it. Even after restarting the game, the first enemy comments on your guilt for killing her. Kill a dog on the way to a city? The other dogs await the arrival of their companion. Spare all enemies? Become everyone’s best friends and even go on a date. The title screen even begins to change to include all of your friends. Find Temmie’s village? Find Bob.

The game’s well-known pacifist, neutral and genocidal executions continue to fascinate players for how the game punishes or rewards you for playing the RPG like… an RPG. There is something about Subtitle which makes you question your every action or wonder how a certain action can change future outcomes and interactions.

While Deltarune has its own versions of genocidal, pacifist and neutral routes. And the game still has a ton of meta content that changes based on player input. But it seems largely encapsulated in the chapter without much clarity how actions in one chapter will profoundly affect content in others. In both chapters, there has been limited continuity in this regard.

It’s unclear how all of this will connect, but for now all we can do is wait.

It is, of course, impossible to know how all of this will connect. There is still some game to be played. The content we have right now is really promising and quite exceptional, even looking at the chapters for themselves.

Until the entire game is shown, however, we probably won’t know how radical the game is. Deltarune is.

But if there’s anyone who can connect the dots, it’s Toby Fox.

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Deltarune Chapter 2 continues the genre’s legacy, where can it go next?

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