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A word on Temtem and Crema’s future: an open letter to the community.

A word on Temtem and Crema’s future: an open letter to the community.

Hello, Tamers! We’re here to share with you an open letter to the community, and to reach out to you.

We’ve been listening to you for a long time, and we are aware of your concerns and worries. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen an uptick in the community expression of unhappiness and doubt following the lead-up to, and the announcement of Temtem: Swarm. We’ve been listening to and taking in that feedback, processing it internally, and we think it’s time we have an open chat with you addressing all of it.

With this open letter we want to try and answer the most recent, pressing questions, to shed some light on the future of both Temtem and our studio, and to offer a bit more insight into our development decisions, learnings, and the upcoming path.

This will be a long post, as we wanted to be thorough in answering your questions and provide context for our decisions. We also recognize we’ve made mistakes in the past and want to address them directly and sincerely apologize for them. We encourage everyone to please read it in full, and we hope it answers most, if not all, of your questions. Let’s dive in.


Is Temtem an MMO?

Back in 2018, when our Kickstarter page for Temtem was created, we tried to clarify our point of view on the MMO dimension of Temtem: that it does not have the same scope nor does it share the same bases as the MMOs most people think of when they think of the word MMO.

In retrospect, we realize that the Kickstarter page was not the place where most players would get the information from. While we tried to not up-sell the multiplayer features and capabilities of the game in the store descriptions, and we have always shown the game as it is, with its flaws and strengths, we should have included something similar to the Kickstarter FAQ question to clarify it further, and amplify this information. We think this would’ve been a better course of action, and have learned from this for our future projects.

Excerpt from our Kickstarter FAQ


From the get-go, we at Crema have described Temtem as an MMO-lite; this was our desired tag from the beginning, and the one we would have used across all our platforms had it been possible. Due to the lack of this tag we settled for the closest one, which is MMO, as we believe Temtem is massive, multiplayer, and online, with all players from any part of the world, on any platform, coexisting on one sole global server, and with a unified economy that encompasses every player.

That said, we have done our best in the past years to adapt Temtem to better fit the players’ desires and the MMO tag. Many activities have been designed, created and included out of the community’s request for a more fulfilling MMO experience, such as Lairs, the Trading House, and Dojo Wars. This has made Temtem grow far beyond our original intentions, and even beyond our grasp.

We understand now that seeing the game being called an MMO everywhere led to expectations that we have failed to fulfill. It started with the use of the MMO tag on our Steam page, which was then followed by our publisher, the press, and the general public. While Temtem does fit the MMO bill in our eyes, we understand it does not in everyone’s eyes, and that we should’ve acted quicker to curb this trend. We apologize for the confusion this might have caused to some players. We’ve thought about changing the tags on the platforms, but because the game is an always online experience, we didn’t want to cause further confusion. We are working on making it clear in the stores to try and avoid this issue in the future. We apologize for any confusion this decision might have caused to some players and while we can’t change the past, we’ve learned from this mistake for games going forward and promise to do better.


Why are we not adding new islands and Tems?

Development time is limited for a studio our size, and new islands are a major undertaking. It took the team many months to develop each island that was launched during Early Access: Kisiwa, Cipanku, Arbury and the Endgame Island, Tamer’s Paradise.

Every time we set out to create a new area we invest a lot of resources from all teams, and a lot of time. Whenever a new island came out to the public it was received with cheers and excitement, but we all noticed how fast the players would consume the content and leave once more. Understandably, the community wants new islands to enjoy and discover, and hope they will make the game call out to more people, but after thorough study through Early Access we never noticed a permanent increase in the playerbase after the release of a new island. While islands are terribly enjoyable, many players would finish a new island in around 6 hours, when it had taken our team 9 months to make. And thus the cycle where players come back momentarily for new islands, then leave again continues…

Similar to new islands, developing new Tems requires a lot of resources and time to create, but only a couple of minutes to find and tame. Galios was a huge addition to the game, with it having its own area in a totally new zone, its own quest which also unlocked Umbra Temtem, and totally innovative traits and design. However, it was the perfect example of the amount of people who come back, eagerly devour the new content, and then leave. Galios, despite all its implications, didn’t manage to retain players, and a few new Tems every now and then would likely walk the same path.

There are a couple factors to take into consideration when creating a new Tem: lore-wise, you have to think of where they will be located, how they will blend in with the environment and the lore; balance-wise, you need to carefully study how it will affect the PvP environment. With the introduction of new creatures, new Traits and Techniques have to be created, which in turn opens up even more odds to take into consideration when introducing, balancing and testing these additions to the game. This implies even more resources from a bigger chunk of the team.

Lastly, for both islands and Tems, games that are designed to continue receiving content updates forever are designed that way from its inception — this is not the case for Temtem. 

We didn’t create Temtem with the idea of expanding its limits forever: when we created the Kickstarter page we had a clear goal of 141 minimum Tems (we ended with 165), and 6 islands (we ended up making the Pansun another zone!). As such, the bases of the game are not built in a way they can support endless content, and as more content gets added, the game risks becoming more complicated, with different systems and variables having to be accounted for with each update, and buggier. This is a concept called technical debt, which roughly means we get indebted to the development decisions we made when we were just giving birth to Temtem. Over the course of the years of development, the debt has grown every time we’ve tried to implement unplanned features, or whenever we reworked an existing feature without proper planning. Anything you add to a game that wasn’t included in its bases, and anything you change on the go, adds to the technical debt of said game.

In short, we are heavily indebted to the Crema of the past, who designed Temtem to be a finite, yet endlessly enjoyable online world, and this prevents us from being able to expand its limits to the points where everyone would be satisfied.

Many of you have asked for a DLC that contains new Tems, and while it crossed our minds for a moment, there are many obstacles to the idea, even more than there are benefits: firstly, all the issues of creating new Tems, mentioned before, apply. But there’s even more to it: it would collide with our philosophy against pay-to-win in Temtem. Think about it, what would happen to those players who don’t purchase the DLC? They wouldn’t have those new, exclusive Tems with their new Traits and, in many cases, would not be able to face DLC-owning Tamers. Due to Temtem being an online game, this would create a huge gap between players and divide the player base. 

This gap and separation would especially affect the PvP player base: would it be fair to pit a DLC-owner against someone who doesn’t have the DLC? It would most certainly be unbalanced if we don’t split the ladders, but splitting the ladders would lead to longer loading times, a harsher feeling of emptiness in the Archipelago, and less variety in matchup, to the point of trouble. 


More multiplayer content then?

As mentioned in the point prior to this one, we’re deep in technical debt. So deep that every bit of content we add to the game causes ripples on most content already in the game, often escaping our sights and causing trouble for you, and unpredictable work for us.

Adding new multiplayer content creates a waterfall of side effects, some of which we cannot prevent and wreak havoc on the ecosystem of the game. To give a practical example, think of expanding the battle system so that a group of players can fight against one same rival at the same time. Unless this is something you consider and plan from the very beginning, you’ll have to rethink and revisit the entire battle system, and every system that’s connected to it — from the camera, to the Tems’ positioning on the battlefield, to the VFX, to the memory this would take up (hello, Switch), even to how synergies, traits and techniques function.

Non-battle additions, overworld activities and the likes (like mount races or social minigames!) have their own challenges, namely a much more complex implementation and a lot of control on our part to prevent hacking or botting.

This last part is sadly something we need to also take into account: there’s a social reality we have to face when we create an online world: people trying to take advantage of every system we put in place through illegal or TOS-breaking methods. 

Every one of us, as players, have suffered these people in most of our online games, if not all. As devs, designing multiplayer content that was hard to cheat has been an odyssey, and extremely limiting on all fronts. Trying to keep cheaters and botters under control is a never ending commitment and a heavy weight on our support and moderation departments, so we try to encompass cheating limitations when designing new features, which adds an extra layer of complexity to everything we create.


What about the content you promised in the Kickstarter?

We know some of you are worried that all of the features promised from the Kickstarter campaign have not been delivered yet, but that won’t be the case for long: The Arcade Bar, the last of these commitments is being delivered in version 1.7 of Temtem, set to release in early June.

The Arcade Bar, since we’re on it, is going to be a new building in Neoedo with three arcade machines, each of them with one Temtem-based arcade minigame! While it’s not as detailed and elaborated as some of you have been venturing, we’ve put a lot of care into these minigames, making sure they fit right into the world of Temtem. All of their visuals have been adjusted and Temtem-ized, and we tried to make each minigame indefinitely playable, so all of you who enjoy arcade games can spend as much time as you want here!

Contrary to what seems to be becoming popular belief, Temtem: Swarm wasn’t an Arcade Bar game that we decided to elevate to spin-off. Temtem: Swarm has been in development for over a year, and the thought had been there for far longer. It’s a co-development with GGTech, with new team members from Crema who have never worked on Temtem. The Arcade Bar, or rather, the minigames included, have only been in development for a couple of months, with the usual Temtem team.

Over the course of these past few weeks, we’ve read so many of you talk about how Temtem: Swarm was created from an Arcade Bar minigame, that we’ve ended up being convinced! Although it is not the case, we asked ourselves if it really was that fitting, why not? So we have ended up creating an extra, unplanned arcade machine to the Arcade Bar! It’ll be a super simplified version of Temtem: Swarm, sharing its premise and feel, but bite-sized! Since this was a spur-of-the-moment decision, we’re not sure if it’ll be ready for patch 1.7, but we’ll work on having it ready to join the Arcade Bar in later patches. We hope you’ll enjoy this, and that it will make your hype levels for Temtem: Swarm increase! 

Of course, completing these games beyond a certain point will award you with new, exclusively-created sets of rewards that cover all the bases of nostalgic players and arcade lovers!

During this road to fulfill what was promised, we ended up choosing and working on many requests the community had made that we agreed would improve the game, and were actually feasible. While we understand the frustration with the delay, we believed these additional features, updates, and content would enrich Temtem beyond the original plans. Here’s a short list of some of those items that were requested, and then prioritized:

  • Saipark
  • FreeTem
  • Postal Service
  • Fishing
  • Dojo Leader Rematches
  • Mythical Lairs
  • Additional challenge modes (Randomlocke, Speed and Randomized)
  • The Sticker Album with its own quest and rewards
  • Umbras
  • Temtem Radars
  • The Trade House
  • Showdown (both in Temtem and the new client we made)
  • Events
  • Spectator mode for competitive matches
  • New Status conditions (Evading, Alerted…)
  • The battle log
  • Wishing Wells
  • The Player’s Vault
  • Twitch Drops
  • Special rare dyes
  • The beauty center
  • Many new music tracks and visual improvements overall for the whole game.
  • And many QoL and smaller features (The Temessence phial, Temdeck filters, battle hotkeys, Tempedia’s photo mode, fruit blender, TemCard swapping, emote wheel pages…)

We understand that these updates might not have been what each player would’ve prioritized over some of the Kickstarter promised content, but we did feel that they were the best, or most urgent, decisions to make at the time.

We also have to extend an apology for the one feature from the roadmap that didn’t come to fruition: PvP Draft. We did some initial testing of the feature, but its implementation wasn’t reaching our standards and the amount of bugs that it caused was a cautionary tale. On top of this, it would further divide the PvP player base, so we instead opted to include it as a PvE activity in Tamer’s Paradise.

Also outside of the roadmap, but deserving of mention here, we wanted to apologize for not being able to deliver the Temtem API. While it wasn’t in the official roadmaps, we’ve openly talked about it and promised to deliver it. Once we put our nose to it, we discovered integrating a working, useful API into a game this progressed was a task way more complex than anticipated. 

For our shortcomings and failure to deliver these to you, we are truly sorry.


What about the monetization systems on Temtem and our future projects?

We understand the monetization system on Temtem was deemed out of place for a lot of players, with our game not following the traditional rules of a live-service game.

The Tamer Pass was designed with the intention to be as benign as possible, with its self-supporting system and cosmetic-only nature. One of our goals with the Tamer pass was to increase player engagement and retention, which it succeeded to do, as the Tamer Pass challenges gave seasoned players something new to explore, and obtaining all the cosmetic items became a nice goal to have on the side.

The monetization system was put in place so we could provide all the cosmetic content it included. The entire team working on purchasable items and the Tamer Pass were hired explicitly for this purpose, and would not have existed without these features.

With this, we want to reassure you once again that no content was robbed from Temtem by having this MTX system in place, but we do understand that the displeasure goes beyond this, and have come to understand your position on Temtem having microtransactions as it drifts further from a live-service game. For this, we sincerely apologize.

After hearing your feedback, and looking at the future we want to provide for Temtem, we have reviewed our monetization system on Temtem and a few changes will take place as soon as patch 1.7, launching in early June:

  • As of 1.7, all of the microtransactions in the game will be gone. 
    • You won’t be able to purchase Novas anymore. 
    • The Novas you already own will be usable as always, and you’ll be able to purchase cosmetics from the Daily and Weekly Shop, as well as the Tamer Pass.
    • Anything you could purchase with Novas will also be purchasable with Feathers from now on. This includes Tamer Passes, and anything from the Weekly and Daily shop.
    • We will share more details as patch 1.7 gets closer!
  • As of 1.8, we’re making a handful of changes to alleviate FOMO.
    • You’ll be able to select any Tamer Pass from the past, and complete its tracks.
    • You’ll also be able to unlock the Premium track of any past Tamer Pass, this time using Feathers.
    • You’ll be able to switch between Passes at any given time, and your progress in each one will remain preserved.
    • We also want to adjust the store and take away as much FOMO as possible.

Since many cosmetic items have eventually become available for purchase with Feathers, and considering eventually all of them would, we believe Feathers can become the substituting currency for the premium content. We hope this will give all players newfound goals, as all cosmetics are now within your reach, and can become available by simply playing the game.

While it’s still very early to talk about monetization for future projects, we have learned from this situation and the lesson is clear, and will keep these learnings in mind for the future.


What’s the future of Temtem?

Following what’s been said, version 1.7 will contain what you would usually expect from a big patch: a new Season, a new Tamer Pass, balance changes, new features, bug fixing, and quality of life updates. It is a normal size update, the sort you’ve been used to seeing so far. In this case, as promised, the Arcade Bar will make its appearance with a new building, some minigames we hope you’ll enjoy, and new obtainable rewards.

As for future patches, we are planning to have 1.8 be the last feature-oriented patch. 1.8 will not have a Tamer Pass, nor a Season, and there won’t be more Seasons going forward. This doesn’t mean there won’t be new patches in the future: we’ll continue polishing, fixing bugs, and balancing Temtem for as long as it needs it. 

The 1.8 patch cycle will come with a few big changes geared towards ensuring the game’s longevity, with a focus on improving the users’ experience. Let me walk you through some of the changes that this patch will include:

  • Important quality of life changes.
  • Balance changes meant to enrich and liven up the meta, while keeping it balanced.
  • Ability to switch between Tamer Passes, and them becoming available with Feathers.
  • A new TMR rework.
  • A renovation and rework of the game’s economy, with special focus and a close look on the endgame activities.
  • Adjustments to the Luma and Umbra chances.

Although in the past we’ve always tried to keep a healthy and viable economy in the game, these changes stray away from that patch in search of a more rewarding and fun game. 

Beyond the economy, all these changes have been made considering the community’s feedback and the game’s wellbeing, as our mission for 1.8 onwards is to make the game more fun, enjoyable, rewarding and self-sustained, even in the absence of big updates. Small updates will keep appearing in the form of bug-fixing and balance tweaks, as we don’t intend to close the game nor its server.

Regarding the aforementioned fear of impending server closure, rest assured it’s not in the plans. One of the biggest benefits of Temtem’s foundations and initial design is that server costs are slim, meaning we can take care of its costs for a really, really long time. With the game servers perpetually online, we’re not contemplating an offline mode. That said, we completely intend to uphold our promise that we will always provide a way to play Temtem.

Another common fear we want to help quench with this letter is the fear of a deserted Archipelago and the possible effects this will have on remaining players. Another huge benefit from Temtem’s inception and MMO-lite approach is that the game will remain enjoyable even with a low playerbase. Temtem won’t die if thousands of people don’t play it daily, and its focus on a classic adventure campaign ensures that anyone joining Temtem at any given time will enjoy the game, be able to explore every nook and cranny of the Archipelago, discover its story, and obtain each and every Temtem, even if alongside a small crew of players.


Will we see spin-offs, sequels, more Temtem stuff?

We’re aware of the community’s desire for a Temtem sequel: our communication channels are often filled with questions about a possible Temtem 2, expectations for it, and more. We hear you! The team has debated on the creation of a sequel for some time, but unfortunately the stakes are high and there aren’t enough resources to achieve what the team would desire the sequel to be, and the sequel you would deserve. After hearing so many opinions on what you’d like a possible Temtem 2 to be; we feel like we shouldn’t rush ourselves and make the same mistakes we’ve made in the past, and even in the present. If we ever were to do this, we’d need to be able to produce a product and flow of content that all of you could enjoy and love to the maximum. Such a product is still out of our grasp and reach: we’re simply not ready. We are, as a studio, too small to embark on the feat we’d like Temtem 2 to be; we don’t currently have the technical knowledge, the time nor the ability to bring those ideas to life.

As we look towards the future of the Temtem IP, we have expanded our team to focus some of our development resources on an unannounced, untitled, new game in the Temtem universe. This project is being developed fully in-house by our dev team, and we’re keeping our aspirations fresh, big and grand. We’re also developing this project on a new engine, so foreign and uncharted territory which is both exciting and scary! This is not Temtem: Swarm, and not Temtem 2. This is Project Downbelow.

Our intentions for Project Downbelow are to build new foundations and try out new things we would love to see in a hypothetical Temtem 2. By exploring a new combat system, a stronger engine and more things we can’t unveil yet, we hope to learn the proper bases, and have enough preparation and experience to put us closer to the materialization of something as precious to us – and you –, as Temtem 2 would be.

As for Temtem: Swarm is, as you already know, a videogame we have been co-developing with GGTech Studio for a year now. Although the initial idea had been in our mental backlog for a while, the foundation was set by GGTech Studios, and for the past year we have played a supporting role in this bullet-heaven survivor game, as the owners of the IP. We would’ve liked to quickstart this project by ourselves in the past, so we could reach the market before, but we didn’t want to take resources away from Temtem at any cost, so we waited until this opportunity for co-development popped up. In no case have we removed any resources nor team members from Temtem’s development to use on Temtem: Swarm, nor do we plan to.

But that’s not all! In our hope to build a strong IP that people enjoy in many ways, we are trying to broaden the Temtem horizons beyond videogames, and have been working on such projects for a while now. As most of you may already know, an animated series is in the works! We can’t share much yet, but we are very excited about how it currently looks and believe it will be a fantastic approach to the Temtem world for players and non-players alike.


To conclude

We understand many players feel like Temtem has a lot more potential to unlock, and that it is not all it could be, but for us that doesn’t take away from the fact that we’re actually very happy with the final product. We’re so excited to see how much Temtem has grown, and feel like the final product is a complete experience, and a very enjoyable one at that. When we set out on this journey we couldn’t even dream of reaching this point, of having created a game with so much content, that provides hundreds of hours of joy and fun, and we’re proud of everything we’ve achieved and created. While it’s not a perfect game, and we’ve learned so, so much from it, we cherish this not-so-little game of ours.

This is it for this (very lengthy) open letter to you, Tamers. We hope you walk away from this with your questions answered, and a better sense of where we’re going. We hope this makes you want to continue walking with us on our attempt to build Temtem as an IP and keep making games, or, at the very least, that this helps you understand our recent decisions a bit better. Remember we can be reached through many channels, and we’ll continue doing our best to solve any doubts that might arise. We hope you can accept our apologies, and look on us gently as we keep growing, exploring and learning as a studio, as devs, and as people.

Thank you for your time, your feedback, and your endless support.

With warm regards, 

everyone at Crema.


The Crema

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