The Order: 1886’s Journey To Launch

We’re back to take another look at the long path that leads from a game’s reveal all the way to its launch, this time with The Order: 1886, in a piece we call The Journey to Launch. A lot goes into the preparation for a game, and that most certainly includes when to reveal it, when to launch it, and how to handle the release of information along the way to keep people excited. That’s what this story is all about, the journey of attrition from just a rumour, to store shelves.

For The Order: 1886, the story began almost two years ago.

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TheOrderBridge-1

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April 2013

The Order didn’t start out as a rumor so much as a trademark. Sony registered it just before E3 in 2013, but we had no idea at the time what it would turn out to be. In fact, we were so in the dark at this time that many of us speculated that this could be Guerrilla’s next game, a title we’re still waiting to officially hear about for the first time.

June 2013

Finally, after two months of speculation and guess work, Sony’s E3 conference revealed the details along with a launch trailer. It was announced that Ready At Dawn would be at the helm and that it would be a linear, third-person adventure game that was to take place in a Victorian London, and would be launching in 2014 for PS4.

July 2013

Ready At Dawn finally started to open up a little bit after the game successfully excited many people during its reveal at E3. It was at this time we learned that while The Order is set in an alternate reality, in mingles with the reality that we know, which might mean real world characters that we’re familiar with. Here’s what Ready At Dawn boss man Ru Weerasuriya had to say.

This IP is really a recreation of the world and how the world would have evolved into something slightly different, and we really catch it in that moment of post-industrial revolution London. And you still get to experience a lot of the things that really happened in the [real] world. You’ll interact with real people that lived in our world.

August 2013

Although this was our first time to get a formal ‘preview’ of the game, the developers weren’t quite ready to show off the goods in action just yet, so instead they opted to talk about how the engine worked, and offered our first few screenshots of something outside of the reveal trailer.

February 2014

The Order went quiet for most of the holiday season after its reveal and the launch of the PS4, but in February we did get two bits of news that were worthy of headlines. For starters, Ready At Dawn confirmed what we already pretty much knew, that there would be no multiplayer in the game. This was also when they confirmed that the game would be running at a 1920×1080 resolution, but that the aspect ratio would be cut down beyond what we normally expect in an effort to achieve an anti-aliasing solution of 4x MSAA.

May 2014

With very little actual gameplay shown to the public by this time, very few people were surprised when The Order was officially pushed back to 2015. A few disgruntled gamers grumbled about having to wait even longer for another true AAA game to play on their new PS4s, but after the E3 footage that came the next month, everyone seemed more content to wait.

June 2014

We had seen small clips of gameplay before this time but it was always either leaked with crummy quality, or shown in small segments via live streams. This was our first real look at an extended gameplay trailer, and the first time we laid eyes on a Lycan. This was also our first real look at the seamless transitions the game makes between cinematics and gameplay, something the final product would be well-known for.

http://youtu.be/7ZPDfD4_rIM

July 2014

In the month following E3, things got pretty quiet for The Order but we did get a small nugget of info from the developers about the story. With what seemed to be such a story-driven game in tow, we thought maybe Ready At Dawn might be preparing multiple endings, but they quickly squashed that speculation and confirmed it ends just one way.

August 2014

After E3 came Gamescom, which was but another opportunity for Sony to show off their new graphical powerhouse. This time they showed a trailer that focused on Nikola Tesla and his role in the game which, at the time, seemed limited to the creation of some of the fancier weapons. The gameplay trailer shown at Gamescom had little new to it but it did reaffirm what Ready At Dawn said shortly after the reveal about real-life characters being involved in the story.

December 2014

Despite the gap in time here, we did see plenty of The Order between these months, it just wasn’t much that was particularly interesting or noteworthy. We were mostly just fed hype trailer after hype trailer, which was all well and good but it left us wanting more. In December, more was delivered, in the form of a hands-on session with a new section of the game we hadn’t seen before, an airship infiltration.

Stefan handled the preview and while he was less than thrilled with the stealth section he encountered, and he wasn’t very impressed with the implementation of QTEs in this particular part of the game, he still walked away talking about the potential the game had as a whole.

February 2015

Our final preview of The Order came just last week with a quick peek at a firefight on a bridge from the finished game. Tuffcub tackled this section and although he wasn’t blown away by this section in itself, he did get to see some of the story telling at work and that’s what he ended up taking away from his time with it.

Ready At Dawn were founded by ex-Naughty Dog staff and it looks like they have admired the work of their brethren and may exceed them when it comes to storytelling if the final bridge scene is anything to go by. Perhaps you should pay more attention to that rather than the battle on the bridge itself: lets face it, no one plays the Uncharted games for the shooting sections, do they?

Launch

That brings us to where we are now. The game hits store shelves across the world today and our review is up on the site. Deciding whether or not The Order: 1886 lived up to the hype that has been pushing it forward for the past two years brings a mix of opinions. For us, we found it to be quite good, but maybe shy of the expectations that we normally hold for first-party Sony titles. That said, although the narrative does tend to go astray in the later sections of the game, the tight controls, gorgeous visuals, and superb setting all still make this game worth your time. It just won’t take up very much of it.

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5 Comments

  1. Just out of interest… of all the videos I’ve seen of The Order, there would appear to be a large amount of cut scenes. Has anyone got an estimate as to how long the cut scenes last in total? I’m wondering whether the reported short game time is filled with cut scenes and that the actual gaming, you, when you press buttons or move the sticks, is minimal.

    • I was watching some walkthroughs the other day and there does seem to be quite a lot of cutscenes. They seem to blend in and out of the gameplay which is impressive, but in the hour of video that I watched, there wasn’t an awful lot of gaming going on and that was half way through the game. Of course watching a bit of video is a far cry from playing the full game.

      • I believe it’s been pegged as being around 1/3rd cutscenes.

      • It sounds we’ve had a similar experience, in that we’ve both watched gameplay streams and noted that a good (or bad?) portion of the time is spent watching cutscenes (which have smooth transitions).

        As good as the graphics might be I prefer a game I can play, and a campaign around 6 or so hours long with large portions just watching cut scenes won’t get me to part with £50.

  2. I think it’s a good length, but too expensive. I wouldn’t have wanted them to stretch it out to an arbitrary length, but a more sensitive price would surely have helped in its reception.

    I’m curious as to how it would have fared if it was marketed as a Telltale-type of game. After all their games don’t get panned for not having ‘next-gen gameplay’ (whatever that is); don’t have anywhere near the audiovisual fidelity of the order, yet are met with high acclaim (rightly so, they’re great).

    Also now I’ve platinumed it, I’ve unlocked the trade in minigame where you have to get as much money back as possible before the price deflates!

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