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To do: describe the game itself rather than its development process. See here and here for general structure/layout for the article.
EBF5-main-cover

Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is a game in the Epic Battle Fantasy series. The game was released November 30th on Steam with a price of $15 (which can vary depending on your country); a free-to-play web version with optional paid content will release a few months later. The game isn't a direct continuation of Epic Battle Fantasy 4, but rather a reboot where all the heroes meet each other again for the first time.

Plot

Matt has just finished playing a game when a meteor strikes the earth, knocking the power out and interrupting the game's ending. He investigates by going out of his house for the first time in weeks. He fights NoLegs after being told the cat was stealing his trash, who joins the party after being defeated. They continue into the Wild Tropics, where they see a Cosmic Monolith striking the earth. At the Farmer's Market, they steal a shovel, and because of that, Natalie confronts them. She eventually joins the team after a battle and asks them to be her bodyguards on her quest to find out more about the Cosmic Monoliths, telling them that the Monoliths produce energy waves that drive monsters into a blind rage. They plan on going to the Southern continent to investigate, which was where the meteorite strike occurred. But to go there, they will have to get a raft in order to cross the rainbow river. The team goes south back into Hope Harbour, where they fight Jotun the Cyclops boss in order to enter the Ice Cave. When in the cave, Natalie seems to recall having traveled with Matt and NoLegs before, but Matt dismisses it.

After going through the Ice Cave, they enter No Man's Land. Lance ambushes the party, ramming them with his Neon Valkyrie hover-tank, resulting in Natalie getting kidnapped by Lance. Matt and NoLegs encounter Anna, who mistakes them for Lance's underlings. Anna eventually joins the team and they break into Lance's Iron Fortress. While in the Iron Fortress, they encounter Lance and defeat him, but Lance manages to escape. They rescue Natalie, grab a hammer, and defeat Lance and the Neon Valkyrie for good. After explaining that he has learned that the Cosmic Monoliths seem to be recording information for an unknown purpose, Lance joins the team and they continue into Greenwood Village.

The party gets an axe from Anna's house, and use it to enter the Mystic Woods. After travelling through the Mystic Woods, they acquire the Leafy Boots and Stepladder. The party also fights the Chibi Knight for the first time. Soon after they defeat Laurelin and find the raft maker, who gives them a raft. The group enters the Rainbow River, where they are tasked with collecting a set of stone heads to proceed.

After this, they enter the Frozen Valley. They defeat Poseidon, who has been driven mad by rampant water pollution, and enter Redpine Town, a desolate town ravaged by monsters. They continue eastward and enter The Rapture, an alien-looking landscape terraformed by the Monoliths' power. After collecting 3 orbs across The Rapture (and 1 in the outskirts of Redpine Town), they are able to access The Beyond.

While in The Beyond, the party gains awareness of the player that is controlling them. After a series of comments, threats, and requests, they fight the Cosmic Gigalith, the central control system for the Cosmic Monoliths. Before it is destroyed, it summons The Devourer, the true final boss. The Devourer expresses its frustration that the party has once again ruined its simulated universe, revealing that the events of the past four games had all occurred in previous iterations of its simulation and that it had erased the party's memories of each other and their past exploits in the current one. (Note that the Devourer simply states that he had run the simulation five times with EBF5 being the fifth, these may have had no correlation to the other games with the five simulations being a reference to the number of games thus far). It too is aware of the player's existence and role in guiding the party, and declares its goal to repeatedly defeat the party until the player quits the game, removing the only unpredictable element in its simulation and ensuring that it can have the purely deterministic universe it desires.

The Devourer deletes the world in an attempt to erase the party, but they are able to defeat it and undo the deletion of the world. However, the Devourer is able to escape its destruction by the party by transferring itself through the player's computer screen and speakers into the cosmic microwave background, threatening that the next time they meet it will have invaded the real world where the party cannot follow it.

With the Cosmic Gigalith destroyed and The Devourer gone from their reality, the remaining Cosmic Monoliths shut down and the party's memories of their old adventures return to them. A brief "where are they now?" segment then plays, followed by the party's commentary on it since the events of the segment hadn't actually happened yet. Afterwards, the party thanks the player for playing their game (with Lance chastising Matt for trying to advertise their Patreon) before the New Game Plus begins.

New features

  • In addition to four previous characters, NoLegs' role was expanded as he joined the team as a new playable character. NoLegs' equipment consist of "Cat Toys" which are sets of short melee weapons and shields. In battle, he serves the role of a physical attacker that compensates for his minimal HP and defense with high evasion, access to potent support magic, and a variety of multi-hit skills that are optimized for clearing out multiple weak or wounded foes.
  • Mana Points (MP) system were abandoned in favour of a skill-cooldown system. Some normal skills, when used, will now be put on cooldown for a number of turns, represented by a clock over the grayed-out skill icon with the number of remaining turns. More powerful skills typically possess longer cooldowns.
  • The new Weather system. Each weather will affect both players and foes, with either a status effect or a stat buff or debuff.
  • A new tactic is revealed in this video, called Capture Foe. Inspired by the Pokemon franchise, this allows the player to throw a box at an enemy and, depending on how strong the enemy is considered and how many bad statuses are inflicted on them, capture it. Captured foes become summons which the player can use in battle in a similar fashion to the previous installment, turn in to quest givers, or sacrifice to upgrade equipment in the forge menu.
  • Some skills are replaced with stronger versions when upgraded, e.g., Tremor eventually transforms into Quake, which later becomes Cataclysm. This saves some space in skill lists at the negligible cost of making older versions of skills inaccessible — they were very rarely used after learning the next skill, and the primary reason to use them was to save MP, which is no longer a thing. Consequently, some skills now offer modified targeting options to allow them to use the targeting behavior of earlier versions of the skill while adjusting their attack power accordingly (e.g. Firestorm can be cast as a single-target spell for higher damage in addition to its default multi-target behavior).
  • Each map grid may now hold more than an area of land, as opposed to previous games where one map grid houses only one area. This makes the already-huge map even bigger. (Explain what this means in more technical terms).
  • Background music may bleed into fights, as opposed to previous games where every battle has a specific piece of battle music.
  • Premium Optional Areas are now scattered throughout the map.
  • (this section doesn't cover anywhere as many aspects as it should)

Development progress

  • Initially, in December 2015, a simple style test demo was released, presenting some ideas and possible features.
  • Starting from December 2015 until September 2016, foe showcases such as this one were gradually released on Kupo Games' blog and DeviantArt.
  • From January to March 2016, visual designs for all weapons, female hats and armor, and items were shown (except for male hats and armors, which were shown later that year, in November).
  • Foe Competition, alike those for previous games were held from March until June 2016. During that time fans could send their projects for enemies, some of which were selected by Kupo Games to actually appear in EBF5. See here for the closing post and winners announcement.
  • Starting from August 2016 until December 2016, new animations for main characters and their skills were showcased on Kupo Games' blog. Various icons, including those of foes, skills, elements, and status effects were also shown in the meantime, as well as the aforementioned male hats and armor.
  • Although programming was being done earlier, from December 2016 onwards, with many graphics created, development focused on programming.
  • On 1 April 2017, Kupo Games released the first footage of EBF5. Despite the date, it was not a joke.
  • On 21 August 2017, Kupo Games released EBF5 NPC Maker. Players were recommended to go to the EBF Discord server to share screenshots of NPCs.
  • EBF5 minimap

    World minimap

    On 31 January 2018, the world map was partially revealed, with half the screens not visited and thus displayed as gray rectangles.
  • On 31 July 2018, the official trailer was revealed.
  • On 17 August 2018, the public beta was released, featuring everything except the final boss, the translations, some music, and premium dungeons.
  • On 16 November 2018, Matt revealed the release date of EBF5: 30 November 2018 on Steam, with a free-to-play web version coming in "early 2019".
  • On November 30th, the game was released on Steam.

Unfortunately, the game was hurt due to rushing last development phases. While EBF5 had months of public beta testing, it was partially void: some issues reported were left in with a promise to fix them sometime after release, defeating the point of pre-release testing. This included most basic quality-of-life features requested during the beta, such as a "buy 10" button for shops; an option for quicker/instant text speed in dialogues; a display of status effects' info when viewing resistances; a way to rename summons without capturing the same foe again; an indication of what the small box next to a foe's name means; a button to automatically assign all free steroids to respective characters; and a button to unequip all summons.

On the next day after release, the Steam forums and the Discord server were filled with bug reports, ranging from simply counter-intuitive or under-explained game mechanics (such as certain enemy abilities ignoring the characters' resistances without any reason, or NoLegs' jump attacks targeting anything but the weakest foe they're said to target) to random changes of the game's own settings or system screen resolution, broken save files, freezing and refusal to launch. But Kupo Games actively tries to eliminate such problems, to prevent a game with solid content from getting lost in technical issues and counter-intuitive interface.

Still, the game has been a success. Day 2 after the release, the amount of Steam players in-game at the same time reached twice the value EBF4 had at its peak; the game made back development costs in Steam sales shortly after release.

External links