12 Days of Gaming: Two Voxel Worlds

Let us tell you a tale about the development of Cube World and Trove.

In a gaming landscape filled with gritty action, there's always room for a little light-hearted adventure. Enter Cube World and Trove, two games in alpha which revel in a voxel landscape of bright colors and cubes. Although Trove's recent reveal drew many visual comparisons to Cube World, the development style of these two titles couldn't be more different.

Cube World is developed by the enigmatic Wolfram von Funck (@Wol_lay), a man whose talent might only be eclipsed by his penchant for silence. Accompanying him is his wife Sarah von Funck (@Pix_xie), dedicated voxel artist, comprising the other half of the two-person dev team. When an old acquaintance released a fan-made trailer in February 2012, all eyes were suddenly on Cube World. The community grew wildly, basking in the glow of a new beginning. Before long, we were huddling around sporadic updates for warmth and whispering of days gone by.

After 17 months of post-trailer waiting, the day was upon us! Cube World had arrived. Although the launch was plagued with issues, many of us were finally playing the game we had desperately waited for! There was an update a few days after launch, and another two weeks later, but after that...silence. Wollay had seemingly disappeared. People quickly latched onto the idea he abandoned the game and clamored for a refund in frustration.

From the depths of Wollay's four months of silence sprung forth Trove which, upon first inspection, looked remarkably similar to Cube World. In fact, the game appeared to be Cube World + a communicative developer + promises of frequent game updates. What a dream! Trove's development process is already the antithesis of Cube World: Trion Worlds has taken the game directly to the fans on /r/Trove, imploring them to shape the game's future. Even further, the alpha has already received nearly a dozen patches, a solid sign for their "frequent updates" claim.

So where does this leave Cube World at the moment? Cube World still holds the same promise it always has; the only question is how long people are willing to wait for it to flourish. While hype around Trove is still low, and free-to-play often strikes a nerve, it excels precisely where Cube World has not. In many ways, Trove's launch seems to specifically target unhappy Cube World fans. Given that Wollay broke his silence on November 15th – the very same day Trove was revealed – we might be witnessing the start of a subtle showdown; if not for sales, for voxel world pride.

The big questions remain:

  • Will Cube World reach its full potential without being overshadowed by games like Trove?
  • Can Trove overcome the stigma of free-to-play while appealing to a wide audience?

...we'll just have to wait for 12 Days of Gaming 2014 to answer those.

Colt "ShdwFlm" Casey
Deputy Editor
Catch up on the other 12 Days of Gaming!


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