This past Wednesday, August 21, it finally happened.
After being over four or so years in development, Winds of Change finally left Steam Early Access and had a full-on official release.
It’s been a bit of a long road, but I suppose I’ll start off at the beginning of things.
The Days Before the Winds Blew
Initially I wasn’t too familiar with Kyle Lambert, or as some know him, Klace Husky. I kinda heard some talk about his first game, Major\Minor, but that was about it.
Some stirrings had started over the game back in 2016 when the game was finished – it was released in Early Access as well, except done chapter by chapter in an episodic fashion.
That’s also why there is an original version and a complete edition, by the way. CE is not episodic and runs smooth til the end.
Some drama seemed to abound about Klace being immature while handling some fallout as the game wasn’t that well-received initially on the Steam side of things.
There was also some fair amount of rumors going around. Everything from claims that Klace stole backgrounds and music to him going around on YouTube and issuing Copyright Strikes to videos that talked down about the game – all of which was bogus.
So, I decided to do what I do best and check the game out for myself.
Truthfully, it wasn’t the best thing in the world, but it wasn’t the fireplace fuel others were making it out to be. A nice in the middle product.
I’ll be honest initially I hated the game and I’ve even made a couple of mean-spirited tweets toward Klace. But the deeper I went into M\M’s plot the more I recognized something. That thing that some writers can pick up on.
There was a genuine effort being put here. I felt Major\Minor had some actual good intentions, some want to be a good story. Plus, there were some questions and plot elements that kept me along for the ride.
Great idea and plot, but a terrible execution is what I like to say.
Next would be checking out the pink doggo for myself…despite the aforementioned mean-spirited Tweets. And it seemed like he was making a great effort to rise above the drama that was being presented.
Needless to say, he earned a follow from me. And I’d stick around to see where this rabbit hole would go.
The Demo Days
My first run-in with anything Winds of Change related came in the form of an early demo that I found out about in 2017.
I’d later do a game play video of it on my channel in April 2017. The voice acting, better writing, and interesting characters practically had me hooked.
Something of note was how different the events in the demo were from the final product…as well as some other things:
- Ulric had a more gruff voice.
- Valessa was the main character.
- Game files contained art that revealed Damek was to be the wielder of The Blade of Exodus.
- The opening vision had some differences – you couldn’t choose to go to the Grand Tree, for example.
- The scenes following the opening vision were different too – there was no Fortaime and Valessa seemed to know Pro.
A second demo would drop a couple of months later, and in July 2017 I would do another video on it.
- This time it played very similarly to the opening vision from the final game.
- This was when Valessa was shifted to being a secondary character, with the player now being the main character.
- Voice acting wasn’t present, instead, each character made a small sound of some kind when speaking.
- This was going to be a feature in place of full-on voice acting, but that ended up changing.
I enjoyed these demos. The game showed promise. And then…
Enter Early Access
Soon enough I found myself donating to Winds of Change’s (now defunct) Patreon. One of the lower tiers let you get early builds of the game.
This was shortly before it got into Steam Early Access. That would eventually come later, though Patreon had the benefit of still getting new builds early, whereas SEA would have updates in larger batches.
Updates and features were also teased on Klace’s Twitter feed and only made us want the game more.
Each new build that came out always generated excitement for myself and the small community of Early Access players. We eagerly awaited whatever new plot threads would be dished out in each new update.
I’d rush to my game’s install folders as soon as an update on Steam hit to check for any new character art or location art, and then letting them know what had been changed or released.
And then there was news that a “new engine” would be used for the game. Ren’py eventually joined the fray, and a combo of that with RPG Maker would make the game possible.
The hype train for the community soon started, and would only get bigger and bigger with the huge moments in the plot. I still remember how crazy Act 3 was and how much of a game-changer the events were.
Or how about the agonizing wait to see how Act 4 played out? None of us saw what went down there coming at all.
To Build A Series
Originally I wasn’t going to do gameplay videos of WoC in Early Access. Like most furs, I was gonna wait until the game was finished.
And then I changed my mind, feeling it was better to get started while the game is in Early Access rather than wait…especially since there weren’t many others doing videos.
The “Let’s Play Winds of Change” series was a ton of fun for me to do. It was more than just “hey here’s this gameplay vid” – it was me sharing this awesome story with my subscribers, if that made sense?
I was in a sense a storyteller, and my subscribers were my captive audience.
Well, as captive as I could be while waiting for new builds to drop so I could continue the series.
I’m glad I did it even though the game was in Early Access though. Now people can see how it was in EA, and even see those afore-mentioned gameplay demos!
And when the story wasn’t surprising me, my own gaming persona, Razzle Joestar, was. I’d always imagine Razzle tail-chasing after girls, but next thing you know, he’s out dating Fortaime in the streets of Mazeo.
I mean I could’ve gone back and changed it so he dated Valessa, but where’s the fun in being inorganic like that? That’s part of the fun of Let’s Plays!
I also ended up being some kind of quasi-authority on the game for the YouTube side of things. It seemed like I was really the only furry-tuber that was covering the game via Let’s Plays (with the occasional announcement video thrown in); one commenter even said I was their main source of info!
The official Let’s Play series concluded in July 2019 with the 13th Episode, “Fighting Gold.”
That episode itself was a trip to produce. A little over a year later and my journey through Alestia was complete. And shortly after, Early Access would end.
And many others’ journeys into Alestia would begin.
But even if the series is done…there’s still lots of WoC-related fun to be had on my channel.
Post Launch End Thoughts
This honestly was the first game I’d followed closely like this.
I didn’t even follow Mighty Number 9 this close but…the less said about that the better.
I still can’t get over how nuts it is to process that we’re here. It’s it. It’s done. The game’s finished, it’s launched, and now thousands of people are playing it.
A good time was had on this journey though. Surprising twists and turns that felt genuine and not forced or “subversive”, great characters I could get attached to, and some awesome artwork and music.
I can only imagine how Klace must feel. The game may have been in the works for 4+ years but according to the pink husky the concept’s been in the works even before Major\Minor.
And as successful as this game seems like it’s gonna be…Klace has said he’s not gonna do any more games.
Things I wanna do now that Winds of Change is done and out:
– Start a Furry Podcast
– Start Twitch Streaming more
– Turn Tall Tail Studios into a publishing label and release novels by Furries
– Maybe write a novel of my own
Things that I am not doing:
– Making another game
— Klace @ BEES!? (@Klace) August 23, 2019
But that’s okay. He’s still planning on doing some writing and building. Just in a different way.
We’ll just have to see where it goes!
But what are your thoughts on this long and winding journey?