Screenshot of the game Skytorn from the team behind Celeste

Skytorn was supposed to be a Metroidvania action-adventure game from the developers behind the rather excellent Celeste, but unfortunately it would appear that the project has ran into some significant trouble and has now officially been canceled. The reasoning, as is often the case with these types of games, was that the procedural world design clashed heavily with the Metroidvania gameplay.

"To its core it was a procedurally generated adventure game without permadeath, but the procedural elements always clashed with the Metroidvania themes, and I didn’t know how to design around that," reads the developer update. "Taking out the procedural parts felt like it defeated the purpose of what the game was, so as it shifted towards a more linear adventure, the procedural map stayed but simply got more and more constricted, until the proceduralness of it didn’t really mean anything - it was just… there."

Here's what the early version of Skytorn looked like

"If we were to finish Skytorn I believe it would require us to throw away a lot of the code & gameplay design. A lot of aspects could be kept — our story, the art, the sounds & music, the general theme - but the gameplay would need to go. As much as we all love Skytorn and how much it’s meant to us over the last several years, we’re excited for new things and new projects. I’m okay saying it was an amazing learning experience, and we’ll take all these lessons onto our next project."

While it certainly sucks seeing the project canceled entirely, I have to commend the developers for admitting that their ideas were deeply flawed and beyond fixing. So even though we'll have to wait for a while, I do believe the team will be able to come back with a stronger and more focused game at some point in the future. I can only hope it'll still be a Metroidvania because the world sure could use more of those!

Once more information becomes available I'll make sure to let you know, but until then I'll leave you with the news that Celeste will be getting a new batch of super-hard levels in the near future!