The Null Newsletter - March 2023

By Matthew Rorie


Hello, and welcome to another wonderful edition of the Null Newsletter! It was a busy month around these parts, so I’ll abbreviate this introduction and get right into the thick of things.

Athena Crisis Hits Early Access

While Athena Crisis has been playable on multiple platforms for a while now, March saw its entrance into the world of Steam Early Access, with hundreds of new players picking it up and giving it a go. A number of streamers also jumped on the opportunity to show the game off to their audiences, resulting in almost 14,000 hours of viewing time on Twitch alone.

A screenshot of Athena Crisis

It’s been fascinating seeing more people come along and give Athena Crisis a whirl! While Christoph works on finalizing the single-player campaign, the community has been pushing out a whole heaping helping of top-shelf user-generated campaigns, some of which feature 15+ individual maps, on top of a whole bunch of PVP and puzzle maps to play through. Even when you’re done with the official content in Athena Crisis, there’ll be dozens of hours of more content to explore, with more being added all the time.

Please join us on the Athena Crisis Discord if you’re interested in discussing the editor, balancing units, or anything else related to Athena Crisis! And if you log into the game, don’t forget to go to the main menu where you can spectate any number of currently-active PVP games!

Null Goes To Boston

Almost every Null team member recently made the trip out to PAX East in Boston for our first large exhibition of our games! We’ve been planning for this show since late last year and I’m happy to say that it largely went off without a hitch. There are a ton of logistics that go into staffing a booth at a show like PAX, from actually constructing the booth (big thanks to our contractor Lvlup for working with us on this!), to manufacturing pins and shirts and fliers, to getting builds together with our devs. And that’s all before we actually fly out and actually get to the show floor!

I’ve been to maybe 40 gaming expos in my time in the business, most often as press, but more than a few as an exhibitor. Exhibitioning is generally a far more strenuous task than simply attending a show, but the good part of it is seeing people playing your games in person, many of whom are getting their hands on with them for the first time. We showed off Tape to Tape, Athena Crisis, Demon Spore, and Streetdog BMX to thousands of interested fans over the four days of the show, to generally rave reviews. The booth rarely didn’t have a line in front of our kiosks, and the couch with the big TV always had a group of people playing four-player co-op matches of Tape to Tape and Demon Spore.

An image of PAX attendees playing Demon Spore

As our first large exhibition, we learned a ton from the experience, including a long list of stuff that went well (Booth layout was great! People loved our pins!) and things we could’ve done better (reminding everyone to pack really, really good shoes). In the end, though, it was a great opportunity for some of our devs to see people playing their games right in front of them - we came away with a lot of good feedback about each title that we showed that will result in them being better games when they actually launch. You can’t ask for much more than that.

At any rate, our first event is in the books, and we’re already looking forward to seeing where we can be most impactful in terms of our travel as a company for the rest of 2024 and beyond.

Speaking of pins, I managed to hold back a few for my own purposes, which obviously include some giveaways! If you haven’t joined the Discords for Athena Crisis, Tape to Tape, Demon Spore, or Streetdog BMX, join up today and we’ll be giving away some pin packs in the coming weeks on each of them.

An image of pins that were created for PAX East


The worst part of being at PAX was that Dragon’s Dogma 2 came out right in the middle of it! I’ve been a huge fan of Dragon’s Dogma since it first hit the Playstation 3 12 years ago, and as such I’ve been eagerly anticipating DD2 for quite some time now. I’ve managed to fit a half-dozen hours into Dragon’s Dogma 2 since I arrived back home, and it retains a lot of the charms and a lot of the goofiness of the first game, which is fine - bigger and better without a total reinvention is very much up my alley at this specific moment in time.

On PC, the performance is not fantastic, even on a 3080, but apparently the game is largely CPU limited. On the plus side, there are mods available, which I quickly took advantage of to increase my weight limit to be something around 50,000 kilograms for my character. One of my great frustrations about Dragon’s Dogma has always been inventory and weight management, so not having to constantly shuffle items back and forth between party members is a huge boon so far, allowing me to not have to worry about running out of stamina while I’m running around the fairly massive open world. There’s a ton of nooks and crannies to explore and although I’m definitely feeling the common criticism of “there isn’t enough enemy variety,” I’m still having a great time with the game so far and look forward to continue playing!

Here’s looking towards a fun April! We’ll have more news on all of our Null games as they approach their launch dates, so stay tuned!