We have been floored by your feedback so far and have been deep in discussion on how we can make the wait go by faster for you. We wanted to show you something special now that we are one month ahead of the release, yet it was difficult to figure out what exactly to announce. We considered producing, as some of you suggested, the Tome of May 2nd, which would automatically make the day May 2nd, but unfortunately found that it was incompatible with our physics engine.
That was when we discovered that we had unused concept art for an eleventh form, a fact that was highlighted during the production of the previous Art Dev Diary. After discussing with game designers Bus Staffhorst and Tom Beard, we decided that having a new form would help add to the biodiversity of the various realms, and would be uniquely different from the existing elves/dwarves/toads combos.
The team worked overtime to make the feature happen, and luckily managed to achieve this in a way that we feel would both satisfy you, the players, as well as Leonardo de Sas, our company director who graciously kept us on the payroll while we sunk time into this project. Special thanks to the hard work of QA Specialist Jordi Angel, who was quoted saying, "I already have 800 hours in the game, there is nothing left I haven't seen."
Without further, allow us to present...
The Dire Penguin Form
Our design process led us back to the four core tenets of 4X games: Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate. We felt that AOW4 was too concentrated on the first three, with players becoming overly focused on what we feel are absolutely unnecessary features like tomes and customisation. When we designed the Dire Penguin form, we wanted to focus on what really made 4X games fun and worth playing.
Dire Penguins have been a long-standing fan favourite type of wildlife, and through thorough player surveys, we believe that we have figured out the reason. It is none other than their unique combat appeal. After all, many of our players agree that violence is the true universal language, and no form understands this better than Dire Penguins, which are known for swarming their enemies and devouring them to the bone.
Dire Penguins are also simple and beginner-friendly. Rather than making players waste time looting Ancient Wonders for valuable gear, Dire Penguins are unable to equip any weapons at all. This was actually due to the flippers on the Dire Penguin models lacking thumbs to hold weapons. Instead, Dire Penguins will simply rush at enemies with their beaks, and a blood spray animation will play as flailing AI are rapidly devoured by relentless penguins.
We also saw some players complain that they are suffering from decision paralysis after being presented with too many options. This is why we decided that Dire Penguins will be by default evil-aligned. This cannot be changed. Due to their evil nature, Diplomacy options are not available to Dire Penguin rulers. Instead, we plan to release a multiplayer feature where Dire Penguin rulers can meet other Dire Penguin rulers via an online cafe called Club Dire.
We hope this update has given you a clearer insight into our design process and how we want to take the Age of Wonders franchise moving forward. We can't wait to see your Dire Penguin rulers in action, tearing apart their enemies with unrepentant violence. Now if you'll excuse me, it is Saturday, so I'm technically not supposed to be here...
Wait, what is that thing crawling out of Jordi's overheating PC—
Happy April 1st! Great things are actually coming soon that aren't photoshopped penguins.