I’m a little late to the party. But Toby Fox, creator of indie darling; UNDERTALE, surprise released the first chapter of his next game. Playing with his fan base in his own typical fashion, it wasn’t clear what the file we were downloading even was to begin with. As we finished, the executable title finally popped in: Deltarune.
An anagram of UNDERTALE and featuring many familiar faces returning from the first game, the internet lit up, chatting about the sequel to UNDERTALE. But is that actually what Deltarune is?
In a blog post released after the the game found its way into the wild, the first question he addressed was in regards to this being a sequel. All he said was to not worry about it too much…
I will say that basically, what you’re seeing here is not the world of UNDERTALE…
To rephrase that, DELTARUNE’s world is a different one.
With different characters, that have lived different lives.
A whole new story will happen…
Although, while the characters might be some parallel versions of the characters in UNDERTALE, they still seem to be the same people we’re familiar with. At this point, it’s practically impossible to discern how connected the events of this game are going to be to that of UNDERTALE.
The events and characters aren’t all there is to UNDERTALE though. Beneath UNDERTALE’s turn based friendship simulator was a meta-commentry on how people interact with video games, specifically ones with multiple endings. UNDERTALE’s best ending from a traditional storytelling point of view was also the easier of them to get.
The absolute worst of which, which was even called the Genocide Run, (just to give you an indication) was also incredibly more difficult to attain. Those that did manage to beat the game in this manner caused irreversible ramifications to their game. It was a clever twist, commending on the player’s desire to see how things play out, no matter how grisly the method.
Additionally, any completed game after finishing the story this way was soured by additional scenes as a consequence of the Genocide Run ending.
There are obvious allusions to the various endings of UNDERTALE within Delta Rune. And while this might not be the direct sequel some people assume it to be, there are some very obvious through lines in terms of character motives and the themes of Fox’s previous game. I’m really interested to see how Toby Fox goes forward from here, especially considering the unfortunate infamy of his fan base.
As I’ve brought it up, I suppose I should speak about the things that worry me about a new Toby Fox game. I’m starting to notice that fandoms seem to be getting worse and worse, and the UNDERTALE fandom is one of the worst. Back when we were in the sways of UNDERTALE hype, there were countless stories out there of Youtubers and streamers who actively decided to stop playing the games due to the toxicity and aggressiveness of the people watching them during their play through.
They were getting criticised for things as mundane as how they voiced particular characters when reading through their dialogue.
One of the main draws for UNDERTALE was experiencing it for the first time and discovering the hidden depths to the game yourself. As people obsessed over it, there very quickly became a “correct” way to play it in many people’s eyes. And Streamers would get screamed at for apparently not doing their research and wanting to discover their own way through the game as it was originally intended.
It’s ironic that Toby Fox’s meta commentary on choice in video games quickly became an excuse for people to be crappy to one another, over their desire to force their own experience onto other people rather than let them have that feeling organically. The sense of discovery surrounding the game was lost when Youtubers and social media was packed to the brim with spoilers and things concerning the ending. So much so that many Youtubers decided to avoid playing the game all together simply to avoid the fandom.
Even with the release of Delta Rune, many news outlets and streamers broadcast information about the game, predictably the fandom found something to be incensed about.
In my attempts to figure out what Deltarune was, I searched news posts and alike and there were dozens of comments criticising the people for covering the game.
“Show some respect, the game asks not to talk about it for at least 24 hours”.
Sure, there was a polite notice asking people not to spoil what Deltarune was for the first day, but let’s be real. We live in a streaming news culture. News travels incredibly fast thanks to social media and without any official press embargo, the idea that the internet at large would keep it all a secret is pretty damn naive.
Especially when it comes to something like this.
I’ll warp this up: In his blog post, Toby Fox said that this was indeed a demo for Deltarune. And the next release for the game will be the whole thing, and it will be sold like normal. As for when it’s finished, well apparently it’s pretty early still. So don’t expect it any time soon. Strangely, he overtly says that this game will only have one ending. Which seems odd to give away at this point considering the endings were such a huge part of what made UNDERTALE so interesting.
Again though, he is probably acutely aware of the negative stigma that surrounds the community of his previous game. Honestly, I really hope Deltarune dives into that. I’m becoming more and adverse to fandoms of all kinds, feeling like they’re becoming more toxic in nature as a rule. I’d love to see Toby Fox tear down the negative side of the community that has grown around his creation, and then that community to utterly miss the point he was trying to make.