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Big Changes; Please Read

Hello there Wildlanders! Happy holidays, and long time no see.

I apologize for the long absence, and I appreciate your patience between updates. Life has gotten pretty crazy for me in the past few months, which is what I’d like to speak with you about today.

A Little Background

As many of you know, I’ve long pursued a way to develop Wildlander full-time. I’m quite proud of the progress we made towards this—and immensely, unspeakably grateful to y’all for your support through the years. That said, it became clear at the start of last year that my finances were not where I needed them to be, and so I leaned more into freelance to help ends meet.

Things went well enough the following year. I couldn’t work on Wildlander as much as I liked, but the team and I got to re-organize the project backend while I built my freelance client base. By mid-year, I was on track to earn a sustainable living by 2024, with Wildlander time to spare.

However, this all changed when the fire nation attacked—I mean, when the big tech companies started their layoffs.

At this time, my wife and I both lost some core, “food on the table” clients. Many of these clients' marketing departments were downsized, or eliminated entirely. I've been scrambling to fill this void for the past year and a half, but it’s been hard. By mid-2023 I was supposed to have more income and more Wildlander time; instead, I had significantly less of both.

These things happen, and they force us to look hard at our paths. My wife has pressed on to even greater success in her field—unsurprising, if you know her. I, instead, opted down a new path that I'd long considered, but never had the courage to execute: going back to school for programming.

My Current Situation

For the past two or so months, I’ve attended the Turing School of Software and Design: an online software engineering bootcamp that came highly recommended from some trusted loved ones. I'm happy to say that the experience has been amazing thus far; however, I'm also working 60-80 hour weeks, which obviously has implications for Wildlander.

The cold hard fact is that I've had almost no time to work on Wildlander in school. This pivot is a hail mary for me, and I need to give it the best possible shot that I can. That said, Lizzy and I have already put a ton into Release 4, and we’re still working to deliver it as soon as possible.

The bad news: there's no way we can hit the Holiday release date, and this re-scoped version of R4 will not contain the expansions to Missives and Religion, which I know is the primary draw. I am really sorry for this; we just cannot include these expansions in their unfinished state, and I never would've promised the features had I known I'd be back in school.

That said, I'm hoping the good news will help make it up to y'all:

  • The revised R4 contains 150+ fixes, features, and balance changes, including some modding marvels that dropped later this year. You can view several of these improvements in July’s R4 update, but we’d like to save the rest for release—both to avoid over-promising, and to maintain a sense of surprise.
  • We’re kicking off a host of community events: screenshot and writing contests (with prizes!), check-in streams, and more. We thought these activities could be great for keeping spirits high and keeping the hearth lit while I’m away. Keep an eye on our community spaces for an event calendar soon. And speaking of...
  • We’ve re-opened the Wildlander subreddit as of today. This was a hard decision, as we still have beef with Reddit corporate—but we need our community spaces now more than ever, and our subreddit is obviously a huge chunk of that community.

Thanks for Sticking Around, Bubs

I’m sure this is not the update many of y'all wanted, and I really am sorry for that. I never anticipated this situation, and I wouldn't have promised those features if I had. But if it's any consolation, I feel better than I ever have about my current path, and I'm excited to show y'all what I've learned once I'm on the other side. Programming was my first love back in undergrad, and Wildlander kept reminding me of that until I couldn't ignore it anymore. And I believe a more stable work environment will give me more room for Wildlander—practical and mental—than I've had in years.

Here's hoping things continue to go well, and I promise to keep working as hard as I can to ensure it.

Talk soon, and with infinite gratitude,

- Dylan and the Wildlander Team