|Abbreviation(s):||DR, DTR, Δ|
|Date(s):||Chapter 1: October 31, 2018 (PC & Mac); February 28, 2019 (Nintendo Switch/PS4) Chapter 2: September 17, 2021 (PC & Mac), September 23, 2021 (Nintendo Switch/PS4)|
|Country of Origin:||USA|
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Deltarune is a serially released indie video game created by Toby Fox that is intended for players who have already completed the game's sister project, Undertale. A demo containing the full first chapter was released on Halloween 2018 after a two-day event where W.D. Gaster took over the official Undertale twitter to advertise it. It was initially advertised as a "survey program" for Undertale players, with a request for a 24-hour moratorium on Deltarune's true nature.
Deltarune has been in early development since 2012, and it became Toby's next major project after Undertale was finished. Toby cites anxiety from the high bar set by Undertale, the difficulty of Deltarune's new system elements, and the importance of designing the early setting as the cause for how long it has taken to develop the demo. He has also stated that he intends to try to make Deltarune with a team to increase development efficiency and make a full release more doable. On a status update released for Undertale's 5th anniversary, Toby projected that the game's second chapter would probably be complete within 2020.
Deltarune's second chapter was announced for a September 17 2021 release as a surprise at the end of a special livestream of Toby and three Fangamer members playing chapter 1 for Undertale's sixth birthday. In a press release on the official website, Toby explained his decision to release chapter 2 for free, and tentative plans for the next update to be a partial release covering through chapter 5.
The game's arc words are "don't forget". The title is an anagram of Undertale.
Gameplay and Setting
Deltarune inherits most of Undertale's system features as a top-down exploration-based RPG, but it includes several improvements to the Undertale system (such as a run button, overworld bullet sequences, and bullet grazing during combat) and has a party system where the protagonist can include party members in group ACTs and the monster party members can cast magic with Tension Points, gained from defending or grazing. Combat is now side-view, and battles are based on symbol encounters instead of random encounters.
Deltarune takes place in a mostly-monster town called Hometown, and in a strange alternate dimension called the Dark World. Hometown's culture is closer to that of humans than monster culture in Undertale, and is notably Christian and conservative for the most part, where Undertale's monsters not knowing what Christmas is was a running gag in that game. The Dark World is home to people called "Darkners" who were abandoned and sealed away by the "Lightners". The main party is tasked with restoring the balance between dark and light and stopping the "Angel's Heaven" lest the world be destroyed. In order to do so, they visit pockets of Dark World created by the mysterious "Knight" to seal away the Dark Fountains that give those places shape.
So far, saving the game is only possible in the Dark World.
The Undertale player has been summoned to this world by W.D. Gaster, which answers some questions but raises a whole lot more. Several of the FUN events from Undertale also seem to be related to Deltarune in retrospect.
Deltarune is confirmed to have only one route and one ending, but there are small differences in events based on the player's choices. Major themes seem to be choice vs inevitability, teenage self-actualization and autonomy in a controlling environment, and the relationship between player and characters.
Toby has also reassured us that Deltarune takes place in a separate world from Undertale and that Undertale remains however we left it, worrying that fans might not be able to enjoy Deltarune if we are too concerned with its ramifications on Undertale.
Via the Chapter 1&2 free demo build released in 2021, Deltarune has been revealed to encompass seven chapters.
- Kris, a teenage human. May be this world's version of Frisk or Chara from Undertale.
- Susie, a mean girl. Her Undertale equivalent's name is spelled "Suzy" instead.
- Ralsei, a fluffy boy and self-proclaimed dark prince.
- Lancer, the Jack of Spades.
- Noelle Holiday, a reindeer girl.
- Berdly, a nerdy bluebird.
Popular Minor Characters
From the Dark World:
- Rouxls Kaard, a walking shitpost.
- Seam, a nihilistic plushie.
- Jevil, a clown.
- Queen, a charismatic digital dictator.
- Spamton, a malware Pinocchio.
- Rudy Holiday, Noelle's dad.
Returning From Undertale
Many of the main characters of Undertale, as well as several of its NPCs, also appear in this game alongside a number of new characters. However, those characters' personalities, relationships with each other, and in some cases even their ages are all different (sometimes significantly) from Undertale because of the different lives they have led.
- W.D. Gaster, a cryptid.
- Toriel, Kris' adoptive mother and the elementary school teacher.
- Alphys, the high school teacher.
- Asgore, Kris' adoptive father, a florist.
- Sans, a grocery store worker.
- Susie/Kris (Krusie)
- Kris/Ralsei (Kralsei)
- Susie/Noelle (Suselle)
- Susie/Ralsei (Susei)
- Seam/Jevil (Seavil)
- Susie/Kris/Ralsei (Krusei)
- Kris/Susie/Noelle (Kruselle)
- Ralsei/Kris/Susie/Noelle (Kruseille)
Most fans attempted to obey Toby's spoiler moratorium, though many prepared fanart and meta to post as soon as the 24 hours were up. However, several fics were uploaded to AO3 during the moratorium period. Due to the nature of the game there was wild speculation as to whether it was a prequel or sequel. After Toby's clarification that this is a different world, theorizing turned towards the events of the story and the nature of the characters.
Who the villain might be if this game has one, the nature of the Dark World and its relation to the Light World, what's going on with Ralsei, and how much more submissive Kris is to the player than Frisk and Chara (and how Chapter 1's stinger might fit into that) are common topics of debate and theorizing. Toby's previews of new Deltarune OST tracks on Undertale's fourth birthday, featuring artwork and screenshots of in-development content, brought Noelle's role in the full game into prominence for theorizing as well as general fan hype.
Deltarune's demo release also caused a renaissance for Undertale fandom, causing renewed interest in that game and fanwork for it, the return of several former fans, and the revival of varied and sundry old fandom drama as well.
Because Toby never created a bespoke NSFW tag for Deltarune, the Reddit fan community took matters into their own hands and attempted to come up with one together. During a poll between the top two contenders, "Deltarut" and "Deltaruin", Redditors reached out to Toby over email to ask if he had a preference. Toby responded that he would rather they use "Deltaruined" because Undertale's NSFW tag "Undertail" being a perfect homophone with similar spelling sometimes cause confusion in overseas fandom, and he hoped that "Deltaruined" might be easier to differentiate for global fans.
- Dropping the Ball of Junk - beullou
- Rudy and Asgore - wallywolf
- Seizure - shyyren
- OH MY GOD DELTARUNE: THE SQUEAKQUEL (Dreamwidth mirror) - Feral Phoenix
- Who discards the Wonderful Creation - lunacria
- Origin of "Gerson Boom" - Michael Brancato
Popular memes post-Chapter 1 tended to involve fans pointing to Sans' suggestive comments about Toriel to make "Sans Undertale fucked our mom" jokes and laughing about the comparisons between Jevil and Homestuck's Gamzee.
Only a few weeks after Chapter 2's release, however, a new trend developed across social media sites such as Twitter of pasting an unused Susie sprite and Kris' standard sprite into screencaps of various other games, with Susie exclaiming "GOD FUCKING DAMNIT Kris where the FUCK are we?!", seemingly having the pair take a wrong turn to the next Dark World. This meme caused the phrase "Kris and Susie" to trend on Twitter on September 27, 2021.
Beyond dragging old Undertale wank (mostly harassment of fans based on their ships/headcanons etc for that game) out of its grave, Deltarune's fandom is also hard at work raising a new crop of wank for this game.
Common wank topics include how Kris should be characterized, as well as shipping wank. Fans who ship Susie/Kris are often harassed by Susie/Noelle shippers based on the belief that Noelle's crush on Susie means that Toby is planning to set them up as a canon couple in the full release, and that therefore shipping either character with someone else is stealing representation from lesbians. Suselle vs Krusie ship warring also tends to involve undertones of transphobia, with the implication that F/NB ships are somehow "less queer" than F/F ships because the characters' genders are different.
Meanwhile, its amount of canon shiptease not withstanding, Kris/Ralsei is often framed by anti-shippers as being basically incestuous and therefore bad/gross/etc due to Ralsei resembling a younger version of Asriel, though Ralsei and Asriel's actual connection is still unknown.
- DELTARUNE Chapter 2 will release at 8PM ET on 9/17. Thanks for waiting. - Toby Fox via Twitter, 15 September 2021 (retrieved 16 September 2021)
- ...because I was waiting. - Toby Fox on Twitter, 1 November 2018, retrieved 5 November 2018
- Here are my thoughts on Ch 1 of Deltarune. This should answer some questions. - Toby Fox on Twitlonger, 2 November 2018, retrieved 5 November 2018
- DELTARUNE Status Update - Sept 2020 - Toby Fox, Undertale official website, 15 September 2020, retrieved 16 September 2020
- DELTARUNE Status Update - Sept 2021 - Toby Fox, Deltarune official website, 17 September 2021, retrieved 18 September 2021
- 🎵Welcome to the CITY🎵 - Toby Fox via Twitter, 15 September 2019 (retrieved 31 October 2019)
- Lost Girl (Noelle) - Toby Fox via Twitter, 15 September 2019 (retrieved 31 October 2019)
- Of course, that's not the only version of that song. Lots and lots of things happen. I just hope you can be friends with everyone someday. - Toby Fox via Twitter, 15 September 2019 (retrieved 31 October 2019)
- Statement from Toby Fox about NSFW name for Deltarune - Reddit Undertail community
- The Cutting Room Floor - Deltarune Chapter 1 & 2 Demo (2021) - retrieved 28 September 2021
- Deltarune memes have arrived, and they only continue to grow in power - Ana Diaz, Polygon, 28 September 2021 (retrieved 28 September 2021)