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Terraria 1.4.4: A Retrospective on this Labor of Love

Patch 1.4.4 is due soon and it is the supposed "Thank You" for the players as the game has won the Labor of Love award from Steam. With this, and the fact that it's 11 years old now, it'd be a good time to look back on how this game became so much more than just another project.

Terraria 1.4.4, a Retrospective on this Labor of Love
Terraria 1.4.4 is set to release within this year and it marks an important milestone in the history of the game. The update titled “Labor of Love” will include some quality of life changes along with some items. This update was put together due to Terraria winning the Steam awards of the same name. Let’s look at previous moments and updates that shaped the game to where it is now.

The Final Update Disease

If you’ve been following the game for some time now, you’d have noticed how many “Final Updates” there have been. First being the 1.3 update that brought a final boss with it. Then came the Journey’s End (patch 1.4) update years later, which was said to be the last major patch. But even now there have still been new patches for 1.4, though nothing super major. Even still, the refusal of the developers to let go and keep working on the game really shows the passion they have for their project.

Even now that there’s patch 1.4.4 coming, the developers can’t stop teasing about a potential sequel. Most people would say that love means being able to let something go, but in this case love is what prevents them from letting go. Their love for their game is what allowed them to make it what it is today, from being called another Minecraft clone to now making a name for itself.

Image of early Terraria 1.06 gameplay

Image of early Terraria 1.06 gameplay

The Humble Beginnings

If you took footage of Terraria on its release and now, it’d feel familiar yet with some things slightly off. This has been tackled by one of ChippyGaming‘s videos where he plays patch 1.0. During which, the first thing that hits is the overall quality of both the sprite works and the game itself. Some sprites looked blurry, while others were more simple in detail. A simple gaze at the backdrop showed how it was still rather cartoony and vanilla.

In addition to the sprite changes, a lot has changed in gameplay as well. With 1.0 having only Skeletron as the final boss, and without even having Hardmode, which is now a staple of the game. The enemy and boss variety also lacked a bit, since most of them were added in later patches. With these patches also came new weapons, items, and blocks that further diversified the game. Major patches had a full number at the end like 1.2, 1.3 etc. These were highly awaited by fans as they changed and added huge aspects to the game that made for a better experience.

Playing Terraria 1.0 in 2020... to kill time until 1.4 Journey's End

[Video by ChippyGaming]

The series of videos released by ChippyGaming focused around revisiting older Terraria versions, the videos were released in anticipation for the long-awaited Journey’s End update. Looking through the footage, the changes between then and now are ever so clear. For some, the earlier versions feel bare-bones; but this was at a time where not much has been fleshed out yet. For many, however, this’d be their first ever Terraria experience, and they’d still feel the nostalgia from its humble beginnings.

The game's planned cover art

The game’s planned cover art

The “Otherworld” that Never Came

Did you know that there was a planned spinoff for Terraria? If you don’t, the reason is probably because it never came out. It was already announced, with footage and soundtracks for it present. However, the developers announced that the project would not go further in April of 2018. The reason for which is said to be the developers not meeting the schedule they set out for themselves, along with them stating that the game isn’t living up to the experience they’re setting out for players.

That announcement was to the dismay of many, as the game has generated hype ever since it was teased. Though not all is lost since parts of the soundtrack are available in patch 1.4, being part of an Easter egg seed. Apart from that, no known mentions for a sequel/spinoff have been announced. But a few actions by the devs seem to be hinting at a Terraria 2, but it may just be them playing with the fans a bit, as they are known to do.

“Eye for an eye” update image from Steam

History with Crossovers

Along with major updates came some crossovers Terraria had with other gamesThese crossovers would exchange content between the two, like a boss or two going to the crossover game or vice versa. The first major one was with the game Dungeon Defenders II, wherein the game received a new event based on the gameplay loop of said game. The second was a recent crossover with the hit game Don’t Starve Together, where the games exchanged some bosses and iconic items. 

Both crossovers garnered praise from fans, bringing content from both games they loved into one another. The content of the updates themselves also did not feel phoned in at all, and felt like such a natural addition to the game. Especially with the Dungeon Defenders update, wherein the tower defense worked so well even in 2D, along with the already present weapons of Terraria, giving the game a fresh new experience.

Furthermore, both games also benefited from the events greatly, as the already iconic characters and bosses of Terraria can be seen in a new light. The Dungeon Defenders event added the Druid, an NPC, and the Eye of Cthulhu, a boss. While the Don’t Starve Together event brought a myriad of new content into the hand-drawn world of The Constant.

Re-logic logo at Terraria's startup

Re-logic logo at Terraria’s startup

What it did for the Developers

Re-logic is the game developer and publisher for Terraria. The game has done wonders for them, as now they’ve gotten worldwide fame thanks to their work. It was founded by Andrew “Redigit” Spinks, who is also known to be the creator for Terraria. Redigit is now married to Whitney “Cenx” Baird, who also became the company’s Vice President and game designer for the game. To this day, you can see the two of them tweeting out news and teases about the game, with Cenx even hinting at a sequel.

Apart from Terraria, there are only two other games in their catalog. Both of them are sadly not getting as much fame as their previous masterpiece. Pixel Piracy is another game they made that also had a mini crossover with Terraria. Aside from patch 1.4.4, there hasn’t been much word on what the company is up to. It’d be exciting to see what other plans Re-logic has in store for us, maybe even confirmation on the hints about Terraria 2? Who knows, but what we do know is that they’re a passionate company who strive for the betterment of not only their games but their community. Without that passion, would Terraria receive as many updates as it does today?

Cover for the Terraria Calamity Mod

Cover for the Terraria Calamity Mod

Modding and the Community

A game wouldn’t be complete without the fanbase that carries it, and Terraria has probably one of the most dedicated ones. The game still has a large concurrent player count on Steam alone. Along with that, hundreds of fan art and ideas, some of which are even added into the game. The way Re-logic handles community feedback and how they implement those ideas in future updates has made the fanbase respect the company even more. A quick look at their Twitter feed and you’d see community posts about changes being answered by Redigit. Another example was the vanity design contest where fans could design outfits to be put into the game.

Another aspect is the various mods added into the game. The most famous being the Calamity Mod, which held a huge amount of content even rivaling the base game. Even recently, Calamity has been getting new content updates, none of which would be possible without mod support. These mods also don’t take anything away from the base game and only add to the experience of playing it. Said mods have become so well loved, that they begun branching out into their own communities as well.

Moon Lord, Terraria's final boss

Moon Lord, Terraria’s final boss

Final Thoughts

Like all long-running games, Terraria has been through a lot over the years. Even now, the developers don’t know if Journey’s End will be its final update. But one thing can be said, the game deserves the labor of love, as truly the amount of dedication put into this game is extraordinary. Especially in the convoluted world of Triple-A games today, where a day one patch is what most people expect.

Re-logic shows us that for a game to succeed, it doesn’t need the best graphics, or the tightest mechanics. A loyal fanbase and a supportive developer is what carries games to live this long. Without the constant updates or the community, the game would not be where it is right now. In the end, this is also a thank you to Re-logic and how they made Terraria what it is today and for the years to come.

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