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  • Writer's pictureAaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza

The Brew Barons: Expanding the Open World

In a genre where speed is life, moments where you can sit back and take in the sights of the world as it passes by make you appreciate things. Floating on the ocean's surface just a few minutes after settling your aircraft on the water, the ambient activity of civilization and nature just seems enhanced. It has been about 11 months since The Brew Barons by Lifetap Studios completed its Kickstarter campaign, and I still return to its demo for a taste of the experience.

The demo is certainly outdated by now. It has not received updates since March 2022, but it still represents the core of the gameplay experience and the overall concept. The developers have been heads down, working, albeit with seemingly few updates. While their social media accounts may not be posting a screenshot a day, they're hard at work. According to their Kickstarter updates and Discord conversations, the cast of flying brewers and bossy pirates has expanded with new skills, new characters, new side stories. Even a new ability for co-pilots to provide minor repairs while they are in the aircraft. Further visual upgrades to this already beautiful game have been paired with performance optimizations, resulting in a reduction of 2 to 3 GB of RAM usage. But between the VFX polish, new soundtrack and aircraft customizations, my mind remains focused on the ever expanding world.

The Brew Barons' open world seaplane gameplay still has me swooning over possibilities. Even more so with a series of updates about how the open world is still expanding.

WIP map function (Lifetap Studios Discord).

A proper world map is under development to assist players with navigation, managing quests, brewing orders and deliveries. It shows the locations like ports, towns, bars, salvage wrecks and areas with known ingredients. Even the general locations of known brew pirate divisions. It's a vital tool in any open world game.

The way the islands are generated in the playable portion of the open world. Using a random set of rules, all islands are generated only one time when a new game is started. Meaning each new game changes the locations of the islands and the locations of towns, ports, landmarks, salvage wrecks etc. This is an important step towards increased replayability. Also remember that some of these islands have the potential to have rather complex topography, an example of flying through caves was showcased quite some time ago.

WIP terrain (Lifetap Studios Discord).

The single landmark in the public demo was a way to both encourage players to explore and expand the lore of the region. With more of them confirmed in development, it gives players a good reason to occasionally set aside their brewing jobs and explore every island they see.

There is more life coming to the game as well. The already bustling towns with people traversing its walkways and boats sailing freely are being expanded with hot air balloons, ships at sea and even whales in the ocean. I'm especially interested in the floating markets that relocate themselves from time to time. After landing via sky hook, players can purchase uncommon goods and even have them shipped back to their base of operations.

Even the amount of "less-than-friendly" life has increased. In the demo, a few brew pirate aircraft appear, but that's nothing compared to three new pirate divisions centered around armored warships, submarines, massive flying boats and an armored blimp - each of them with smaller escorts using similar types of vehicles. The wider variety of baddies to bash further adds to the life in the islands.

On October 24th 2022 a delay moving the release date back into QI and Q2 of 2023, but

with the additions made and further expansions to come, this delay for higher quality is hardly a concern. As stated in our previous content about this upcoming game, its greatest strength is letting its players indulge in a true aviation adventure. Crop buzzing, island hopping, soaking in the scenery, occasional bouts of combat and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit - it's the type of stuff adventures are made of.


About the Writer

Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza

Co-founder of Skyward Flight Media. After founding, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating flight game-related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He explores past and present flight games and simulators with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers. Read Staff Profile.



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