Deltarune

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Name: Deltarune
Abbreviation(s): DR, DTR, Δ
Creator: Toby Fox
Date(s): October 31, 2018 (Demo - PC & Mac); February 28, 2019 (Demo - Nintendo Switch/PS4)
Medium: RPG
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: https://www.deltarune.com/
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Deltarune is an 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[1], 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.[2] 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.

The game's arc words are "don't forget".

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. 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,[2] 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,[2] worrying that fans might not be able to enjoy Deltarune if we are too concerned with its ramifications on Undertale.

Major Characters

  • 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.
  • W.D. Gaster, a cryptid. Also appears in 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.[2]

Common Ships

  • Susie/Kris (Krusie)
  • Kris/Ralsei
  • Susie/Noelle (Suselle)
  • Seam/Jevil (Seavil)
  • Susie/Kris/Ralsei

Fandom

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.

Jokes comparing the bonus boss Jevil to Homestuck's Gamzee Makara also abound.

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.

While Toby has not personally released a statement about fan-created merch for Deltarune, Moa Hato confirmed that the merch policies for Undertale apply to Deltarune as well. Unlike Undertale, Deltarune does not have a bespoke official tag for 18+ works. Fans theorize that this may be because Deltarune has a more mature and less kid-friendly atmosphere than Undertale, because the main cast members are older than Undertale's, or because Toby himself may be less concerned about NSFW fanworks as a second-time game parent.

Meta

Wank

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.

References

  1. ...because I was waiting. - Toby Fox on Twitter, 1 November 2018, retrieved 5 November 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 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