Toby Fox is an October 1991 birthday. I know this from Wikipedia. This makes him a few months younger than me. While I was in school, studying to get my master’s, he was working on games, fandoms, and music. Toby is a composer, a video game storyteller, and an evil genius.
For the latter, I have a good explanation for this.
Back in 2015, Toby released a game called Undertale. I wrote about it on my previous blog, an RPG that would show the impact of sparing your enemies, even when they do all they can to kill you. And you have a choice to kill, even when none of the characters you face are truly evil, and you can make their lives worse by taking the violent path. Even so, people found appeal in the violent path because it revealed more character development, and optimism in the face of destruction. This message resonated.
I didn’t think a game would have an impact. Watching other gamers play Undertale on YouTube made me tear up so much. The narration had so many thoughts on the concept of mercy, of families being torn apart by anger, and how we can destroy a world when we pay no attention to the consequences of our actions. I could never hurt any of the monsters, especially Toriel. Toriel is a mother who takes in your player character.
This past year, nothing special happened on Undertale’s birthday on September 15. This was odd, since the game had such an impact and Toby would commemorate the anniversary with silly posts and such. Then he started dropping hints, on his Twitter and Undertale’s Twitter. Fans took notice, especially with how he seemed to hint to the deeper game lore that one could find by manipulating the source code.
October 31, this year, Toby’s Twitter linked to a new website. This website allowed its visitors to download a game. This game was not an Undertale sequel. It was something different. I watched my friends stream it before playing Thursday night. We didn’t get a full game, not yet. Toby confirmed this was a first chapter, a demo. For a demo, it had a lot of details, beautiful music, and some difficult fighting mechanics.
Delta Rune is a game that features some of the Undertale characters, but not as we know them. Also, it seems that we don’t have much choice in how our world plays out, or what battles we can take. Our player character Kris arrives late to school, and when they get chalk from the school closet end up in a mysterious dark world. It feels very Alice in Wonderland-esque, with monsters that are themed after chess pieces and playing cards. You meet Lancer, who tries to fight you but doesn’t know how to be evil. Your classmate Susie threatens to tear off your face for catching her eating chalk. Ralsei, the prince of this world, asks for your help in overthrowing an enemy tyrant. You have to solve puzzles, fight monsters, and hope that no one wants to destroy this world. The tone feels darker here than that of Undertale in terms of the land’s story, but more optimistic towards outcome. The player cannot kill monsters, so the ending cannot get worse.
The gameplay can be tough. I prefer that in Undertale most of the areas don’t try to kill you merely for walking through and exploring. Also, the last boss killed me about six times. At the same time, the story intrigues me. I wonder why this world is in the school closet, and why the Undertale characters in this world are different.
Toby, you have won our hearts, and your game is not even complete. We have so many questions, and we seek answers. In your FAQ, you answered some of them. But we have enough questions and a desire to keep going and enjoy the ride. Thank you.