Wow! It’s kind of amazing that we’re already a couple of weeks into 2016. How time flies.

I know what you’re all thinking.

“Where the hell have you guys been?!!”

We’ve been busy. Very busy.

Way back at the beginning of 2015, when we were developing the initial Early Access release, we had a vision of what the game was going to be. We thought we’d release a fun and competitive game that was focused on head to head asynchronous online matches. All of the feedback that we’d received at that point told us that we had a really engaging experience and that people loved playing tense tactical matches against other people. So that’s what we released in May of last year into Early Access.

Then we started to get a steady stream of feedback from the playing community. The general response was pretty consistent. Overwhelmingly, the feedback from the players was centered around 2 major topics: (1) we want a single player mode, and (2) we want more content.

While not a shock that people wanted more content, the momentum towards adding a single player mode was pretty significant. We had always planned to eventually do one, but the response was clear: we need to figure out how to deliver a single player experience to the player. It would enhance the user experience, it would add value to the game, and it would give people a way to learn the game in an engaging way so that they would want to play matches against other people. By not including this way to experience the game, we were in some ways preventing the initial vision of a competitive game from growing.

So the first thing that we started to do was set an aggressive update schedule to address player feedback. New maps became the initial focus. We released 4 additional maps in 4 months to more than double the number of maps to 7.

We last released an update for the game back at the end of September when the Ranch (a.k.a. Walker’s Mill) map came out. Since then, we’ve been busy at work adding a ton of new content and addressing a lot more of the feedback that we received. We even took our ever evolving game to PAX Prime in Seattle.

The PAX demo was just a little taste of something that we’ve been spending a lot of time working on: Mission Mode.

What is Mission Mode? It’s the single player focused game mode that a lot of people wanted to see in the game. We’ve added 30 missions across 10 maps. Missions are more than just “kill em all” missions. There are missions where you have to capture zones and hold them from the enemy. There are missions where you have to rescue some hostages. And there are missions where you just have to get outta dodge (i.e. escape alive).

What else have we added? Well, there’s 3 new maps:

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Carcel Verde – The decommissioned prison in the jungle that the Cartel has taken over as a base of operations.

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Hyades – The Swamp hideout where the cartel leaders are laying low

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Sierra Vista Mall – The Cartel-owned strip mall that’s being used as a transfer point for human trafficking

When we launched into Early Access in May of last year, we had 3 maps. With the addition of these 3, we now have 10 maps that look, play, and feel very different.

Unit Special Abilities (a.k.a. Perks) was a common request from the community of players as well. We were always planning on adding more eventually but the feedback from the players helped us get to that much sooner. And we’re glad we did. Some of the new abilities are a lot of fun to use. Here’s what we added:

Disarm Shot
When this unit spots an enemy, he immediately fires a shot that disrupts the enemy’s aiming

Flashbang
Flashbang causes all enemy units within the blast radius to be temporarily blinded

Vanish
This unit can become invisible for 2 seconds to evade enemies.

Proximity Mines
Throwable mines that explode when any unit gets within range

Sensor
This unit can throw out a sensor that reveals nearby hidden enemies

And to make sure you all know how to best use these abilities, we’ve added a series of short help/hint videos in the game. You can view them by clicking on the Help tab on the menu bar. We’ll be adding more videos in the future so if you’ve got any suggestions for more videos, be sure to let us know either by hitting the Steam forums or by sending an email by using the Contact link on our webpage.

But wait! That’s not it! We’ve added more new features as well!

ELO-based Monthly Player Leaderboards
Starting with the 0.9 software update, every match you play against another player will affect your monthly ELO score. Players are then ranked based on that ELO score. Novice players will get a bigger ELO score boost for playing and beating high ranking players, while high ranking players will not get much of a boost from squashing new low ranked players. We’ve set up a monthly leaderboard that displays the top players for each month. Leaderboards will reset at the start of each month so if you didn’t get the top spot one month, you can try again the next.

Online Player XP and Levels
Every match you play against other players also gives you some XP. As you earn more XP, you will be granted new levels which are represented with different badges that appear next to your name in the menus and in-game in the HUDs. This gives players a way of gauging how experienced their opponent is.

Share Replays
Players can already view their own replays of completed matches as well as the replays of any other player who has played the game. The new feature we’ve added is the ability to share your completed match replays with any other Lethal Tactics player. This is a great way to share those “oh crap!” moments with your friends and other players.

Challenge Players
Don’t want to wait for someone to set up a match? You can now challenge any player to an Asynch online match. Just find the player you want to play, view their profile and challenge them. They’ll receive an email notification so they’ll know to get into the match right away.

Now might also be a good time to remind everyone that they should make sure to Turn On email notifications so that you’ll be sent an email whenever someone challenges you to a match or when it’s your turn to submit a turn.

Steam Achievements
For all of you achievement hounds, we’ve included 42 Steam Achievements. Make sure you check out all of the game modes and play a lot of matches if you want to earn them all!

So as you can see, we’ve been quite busy working on all of the things listed above as well as some of the less exciting things like bug fixing and optimizing the code. We’re a very small team of really dedicated devs who made this game because we LOVE this type of game. It’s really a dream to be able to work on something we all enjoy playing.

We really hope you all enjoy all of the new stuff and we really want to hear from you. Send us or post any feedback or suggestions you may have on the 0.9 update. It’s the initial feedback from the community of players that helped us hone in on the key new additions. You are biggest supporters and we are grateful for all of the kind words and encouragement you’ve shared along the way. The journey’s not over yet. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

TL/DR? Watch the trailer: