Terraria 1.4: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

When Terraria released in 2011, me and many other at-launch players were thrilled with what we got. Can it get better than this? This was my first time experiencing an open world, sandbox game of this type.

Over the years, Terraria has changed in many ways. It’s hard to believe it’s going to have been 9 years since it first released. With the final (for real, this time) update, 1.4 or ‘Journey’s End,’ scheduled to come out on May 16th, 2020, I figured I’d look back on how far Terraria has come.

May 16, 2011

Version 1.0 of Terraria is released. From pots that you can break, a Nurse and Arms Dealer NPC, to the Eye of Cthulhu, Skeletron and the dungeon, and hellstone: This update laid the foundation of everything.

Within its first 9 days, the indie game sells over 200,000 copies.

June 23, 2011

Terraria has received multiple updates in the past month. This one specifically brings 23 potions. In the updates prior, Terraria added the infamous wizard named Tim, the King Slime, and and the first vanity items. A mysterious enemy, the Voodoo demon, appears in the underworld for the first time. At that time, it was only used for killing the guide.

After a month, Terraria has now sold over 432,000 copies.

December 1, 2011

Terraria 1.1 drops. The Guide Voodoo Doll now summons the Wall of Flesh. Hardmode is added. New ores and items are added, along with mechanical revamps of old bosses. Players can equip wings, and items now have modifiers. Clowns blow up blocks.

This update changed everything people knew about what it meant to be in Terraria’s late game. I remember my old base being blown to bits, overrun with wraiths, my Arms Dealer fell down the hellevator – it was a hectic time. The best wings are the only wings available: Demon or Angel Wings. Hallowed armor requires all cobalt, mythril, and adamantite armor pieces to craft.

By this time, Terraria has already sold over 1 million copies.

December 15th introduces the Frost Legion and Santa Claus, along with presents, in the Christmas Update.

January 17, 2012

Terraria receives its ‘final’ update. Bugs are fixed. Pet Bunnies are introduced into the Collectors Edition. ‘Redigit,’ Terraria’s lead developer, announces that this will be the last update the game receives.

March 26 and 27, 2013

Terraria is released on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. It would later release on the PS Vita, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and various mobile devices.

September 15, 2013

From the silent void, a trailer drops: Terraria 1.2 is announced. The game looks completely new, with new biomes, new music, new enemies, and new backgrounds. The crimson is teased. The post-plantera dungeon is teased. In a trailer that lasts nearly 2 minutes, Terraria fans find out for certain that the game isn’t done yet.

By the time this announcement hits, the game has sold over 3 million copies.

September 30, 2013

Terraria 1.2 launches. Honestly, there’s too much here to list off. Over 1,000 new items are added. Summoning is added as a new sub-class. The Terra Blade becomes Terraria’s strongest melee weapon, forged from improved versions of the 1.0 strongest sword, Night’s Edge, and the 1.1 strongest sword, Excalibur.

Many people don’t leave their computer for a full day.

October 25 and December 20, 2013

Terraria receives its two hallmark wave events, with the Pumpkin Moon in the Halloween update and the Frost Moon in the Christmas update. Unlike goodie-bags and presents, these events are accessible year round.

May 8, 2014

Terraria receives new content, mostly aquatic. Pixel Piracy crossover content is integrated, along with the frightening new boss Duke Fishron. 22 new potions are added, and so is fishing. In a later update achievements are added, and to this day the fishing-related achievement Supreme Helper Minion! is still the least acquired in Terraria, with less than 2% of players managing to get it.

March 10, 2015

The Terraria: Otherworld trailer launches. The spin-off title would have its development officially canceled on April 12, 2018.

June 23, 2015

The Terraria 1.3 official trailer launches. Expert Mode introduces an all new way to experience the challenge of Terraria. Everything established in 1.2 is expanded upon, with new and updated invasions added on top. Terraria Youtuber ChippyGaming summarizes the feeling of the trailer long after the fact: ‘It’s been 4 years and this trailer still fills me with hype for Terraria.’

When the trailer is launched, the game had already sold over 12 million copies.

June 30, 2015

The 1.3 update hits. The end game is extended, with all new best armors and weapons. Throwing is introduced as a pre-hardmode player class. The new final boss, the Moon Lord, sparks wide discussion regarding Terraria’s hinted lore. The best melee weapons are the Terrarian, a yoyo-type weapon introduced in the new update, Star Wrath, a heavily upgraded version of an earlier weapon, and Meowmere, a nyan cat meme sword.

July 1, 2015 – July 30, 2018

Minor updates here and there, most notably Dungeon Defenders II crossover content. Terraria development is mostly quiet regarding big updates.

July 31, 2018

A new sound track, ‘Windy Day,’ is released on Youtube. This is the first of many spoilers to come, which are later teased in tweets, discord messages, and teaser clips.

June 10, 2019

The Terraria 1.4 trailer drops, titled Journey’s End. The final text teases for a 2019 release date.

The hype train is full speed ahead.

November 19, 2019

Terraria’s 1.4 release date is pushed back to sometime 2020. Team member Loki posts the following:

Re-Logic has never been about cutting corners or leaving things short of our goals throughout the history of Terraria – and with Journey’s End being the final update, that philosophy needs to be underscored even further as we do not necessarily have a 1.4.X update coming ‘to pick up content that we didn’t have time to finish’.

April 1, 2020

No, this isn’t an April Fool’s day prank: Terraria surpasses 30 million copies sold across all platforms. Nearly half of these sales are on PC. Terraria becomes the 13th best-selling game of all time, and the only one out of the top 19 best-selling games of all time not to be bundled with a console.

The release date for 1.4 is still unknown.

April 12, 2020

Redigit announces that Terraria 1.4 will release May 16th, 2020. Exactly nine years after Terraria 1.0.

To think that development might have stopped in 2012 is baffling now. Many features are confirmed, many are speculated, and many are completely unknown. A new title screen teases a ‘Journey’ game mode, right next to Normal, Expert, and the new ‘Master’ game modes.

Many believe this Journey mode to be the creative-esque mode developer Cenx has talked about. Some see this to perhaps be akin to Minecraft’s Peaceful mode. Others wonder about a sort of ‘story mode.’

What’s next?

Looking back, Terraria has come a long way. If you were to tell me eight years ago what the game would be now, I don’t think I’d believe a single word. Looking ahead, it’s difficult to guess how Terraria’s journey will end.

These nine years have been a journey for everyone who played and everyone who developed Terraria. You can never really ‘finish’ a sandbox game, and you can never really ‘finish’ your own journeys along the way. I initially suspected Journey’s End might finish off with a loose story – a connection between the lore elements of the game that were only hinted at. What is the Corruption? Why does it spread? Who is the Moon Lord? Why was the dungeon built? The more I’ve thought about it, the less I see this as the answer.

On May 20, 2019, Redigit and Cenx held an AMA about Terraria, in celebration of its 8th anniversary. When asked about piecing together Terraria’s Lore, Redigit had this to say:

Lore always took a backseat to gameplay in Terraria. There are some things I always envisioned being a certain way, but the game never really talks about it. Terraria is the kind of game where you make your own stories, and I don’t think that will change. If we make a sequel we will definitely plan things ahead of time so the story will make more sense.

 

This indicates to me that Terraria does have a loose story, just not one that has been capitalized on, so to speak. Maybe this Journey mode is about ending the lore-related conspiracies. Maybe it’s about saying once and for all what’s-what in the realm of Terraria. I don’t think so.

Journeys don’t end just because the travelling is done. That’s why I think Journey mode will be a creative-esque mode. Not just one where you can place blocks, but one where you can create your own dungeons, NPCs, and maybe even enemies. After all, a mode where players make their own adventures would be a great way to end this nine-year-long adventure we’ve all been traveling together on.

I don’t have any clue if this prediction is right, though. Re-Logic has always surprised me with the thoughtfulness and depth of their major updates, and I doubt 1.4 will be any different.

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