After more than five years in development, Bit Kid announced today that the procedurally-generated Metroidvania called Chasm will be out on July 31. The studio also went into detail about what exactly "procedurally generated" means, saying that the feature "has led to a lot of questions and confusion."
The developers opted for procedural generation in order to help keep the experience fresh over multiple replays: It's impossible to memorize a map, after all, if the map changes every time. At the same time, it needed to ensure that the game still feels hand-crafted, so that players "have no idea that there's anything procedural about it." To accomplish that, the basic layout of Chasm's objectives and plot points remain the same in every game, but the path you follow to reach them will change.
"Chasm has a bunch of pre-designed rooms that are slotted in modularly in different combinations," the studio explained. "So you won’t have any rooms that feel like they were designed by a computer—instead, you’ll encounter rooms in a different order and even encounter new rooms you never saw the first time, and your path will be different each time you start up a new campaign."
That still left "a ton of balancing" to ensure the pieces all came together properly. Combat and platforming has to be appropriately spaced, save points have to be sufficiently close together (but not too close), required skills and abilities must be available when needed, "and you want to make sure that there’s just the right amount of treasures and surprises along the way to encourage exploration of every little nook and cranny of the game."
Those of you who prefer the more consistent experience of a fixed map are covered too. The randomized elements are all generated based off of a seed number, so if you want to recreate a specific layout, to follow along with a streamer, for instance, or to replay a map you particularly enjoyed, just enter the seed number and you'll be all set.
Chasm is listed, but not yet available for pre-purchase, on Steam, and there's also a website up with more info at chasmgame.com.