Babylon’s Fall has had it pretty rough since launch. The live-service co-op action RPG developed by Square Enix and PlatinumGames was mired in both design and technical issues — so much in that I couldn’t finish the main campaign for our review we posted back in March. The paltry amount of players online for the matchmaking system and the struggle to complete missions poorly balanced for solo play made for a miserable experience.
Player counts further dwindled post-launch, despite launching collaboration campaigns with NieR Automata and deploying additional game modes… accessible in the later stages of a hard-to-finish campaign. These factors contributed to the chorus of derision that the game was Square Enix’s latest live-service flop, in what’s been a charitably tepid start to the company’s foray into the genre outside the MMO bracket.
In spite of all that, the Babylon’s Fall team is pushing ahead with updates and quality of life improvements presumably in hope that it will attract returning players or may intrigue enough outsiders to try a demo.
A new interview posted on Square Enix’s official blog, PlatinumGames alum and Babylon’s Fall co-directors Kenji Saito and Takahisa Sugiyama shared that the game’s visuals would be getting an overhaul based on the player feedback they collected – specifically to improve visibility. In the images below, you can see a before and after sequence where the after sequence significantly brightens, allowing you to see the level layout much easier. In matches with multiple layers, the minimal amounts of lighting paired with flashy visual effects on your attacks made for a nigh inscrutable gamescape to trudge through.
When developing the game, it was decided to use an art style evocative of European oil paintings that incorporate strong hues and contrasts into their aesthetic, and as you may imagine, the contrast created a conflict between aesthetic and visibility – echoed by Saito and Sugiyama, stating that it “caused a lot of stress for players.” They admit that not enough testing was done and that feedback post launch has largely guided them to their current understanding.
Outside of lightning, additional changes have been made including darker skin options for player characters following a questionable lack of selectable darker skin options. It wasn’t immediately clear from the interview just how many options are available, however. Updates to the user interface have also been implemented for greater readability.
It’s good to see some of the core issues with the game being assessed and addressed; whether it’s too late will be up to players to decide. Saito states that this is PlatinumGames’ first attempt at a live service title and that feedback will continue to shape the priority of updates the team implements. While Babylon’s Fall borrows a lot from their pantheon of action games, implementing the live service element that
Looking ahead, the commencement of Season 2 is scheduled to be “coming very soon” and will have players venturing away from the Tower of Babylon and a new weapon type to use. Limited-time events are also on the schedule.
Babylon’s Fall is now available on PC via Steam and PlayStation 4/5.