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Kathy Rain: Director's Cut - What We Know So Far

When it released in 2016, point-and-click adventure "Kathy Rain" caught the attention of gamers, receiving a 77 Metacritc score and a 9/10 "Very Positive" rating on Steam. The title drops you into the role of the titular Kathy, a journalism major whose past catches up with her when she returns to her hometown, Conwell Springs, to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding her grandfather's recent death. She pieces together the truth, uncovering secrets hidden amongst over 4,000 lines of dialogue and dozens of hand-drawn environments that lead to a gripping and divisive conclusion.

Reviewers were taken with the '90s setting, complex heroine, solid voice acting, and intuitive interface featured in "Kathy Rain." While it has its flaws, it stands as an impressive feat of game development, partially due to the fact that it was created by a single person: Joel Staaf Hästö, founder and CEO of Clifftop Games. Though it struggled to move units, publisher Raw Fury told Polygon that it would stand behind the then one-man studio and its debut title, certain that it would prove valuable in the long run. It seems that gamble may have paid off: the game continues to draw in players and Raw Fury even greenlit an expanded version titled "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut."

The director's cut promises "the new and definite way to experience the rise of an iconic detective." Whether you're a dedicated member of the community anxious to revisit one of your favorite games or a newcomer to Conwell Springs, here's what we know about "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" so far.

What is the release date for Kathy Rain: Director's Cut?

Clifftop Games and Raw Fury announced "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" in late January. Though the companies declined to offer a set release date, they did reveal a launch window: 2021. Given the number of games that have already hopped aboard the delay train this year, you might wonder whether Clifftop can hit its target. Thankfully, the developer has left a few breadcrumbs that suggest the director's cut will arrive on schedule.

According to the official website, a second programmer, Andreas Wilcox, joined the Clifftop Games team in 2020. As the studio's most recent title, "Whispers of a Machine," dropped in 2019, this suggests that work on "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" may have begun sometime last year. The Clifftop Twitter page sheds further light on the remaster's status. In March, the account tweeted about its search for a freelance developer with Unity experience to help bolster the core duo as they work on the director's cut "this spring/summer." An even more illuminating tweet followed in April, asking for additional beta testers for the game, with the spots filling up within a couple of days.

Given the updates from the company, it seems "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" is well on its way to release. Beyond the challenges of developing during a pandemic, the main snag could be "Project III," Clifftop's third game, which has already entered pre-production. It's unclear how well the indie studio can handle balancing two projects at once, but a Steam post celebrating the fifth anniversary of "Kathy Rain" suggests that it has a positive outlook.

Is there a trailer for Kathy Rain: Director's Cut?

A teaser trailer accompanied the announcement of "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" at the start of the year. At only 40 seconds in length, the clip makes use of its runtime to establish the original game's track record while offering a taste of what new and returning players can expect from the remaster.

After highlighting the array of impressive critic scores accumulated by "Kathy Rain," the teaser trailer sets the scene with fresh artwork for the main character, along with narration from lead voice actor Arielle Siegel. Following Kathy's vow to uncover what really happened to her grandpa, the scene shifts to an iconic shot of the protagonist riding her motorcycle through the rain. The resolution increases before the eyes of viewers, providing a glimpse of the "improved visuals" promised at the conclusion of the video.

Though not a traditional trailer, a "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" gameplay presentation appeared as part of the March Future Games Show. The segment includes a much more in-depth look at the expanded remaster — all narrated by Siegel. It kicks off with a summary of the title's core plot before launching into an overview of the improvements it brings to the table. A variety of in-game footage accompanies this breakdown, ranging from moody shots of a lone Kathy in different environments to brief looks at some of her interactions with the large cast of characters.

What is the gameplay like in Kathy Rain: Director's Cut?

According to the official Steam page, "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" includes all of the central features that defined the original point-and-click adventure bundled alongside a host of upgrades and extras.

Typical of the genre, "Kathy Rain" consists of investigation, character interactions, and puzzle solving — a process that involves studying the objects in each scene, choosing your responses carefully, and a lot of potential notetaking. The director's cut expands the narrative with an extended ending, more dialogue, and fresh environments to comb through. You also have "several new major puzzle chains" to resolve, with some of the previous puzzles boasting small updates or alterations. For those who want to personalize their ride, the developers have also provided five new Katmobile customizations for players to unlock.

As Clifftop has completely rebuilt the game in the Unity engine, "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" offers major visual improvements that span aspects like character animations and weather effects. Further, it has abandoned the 320x240 resolution of the original in favor of a completely full screen experience. "Streamlined mouse control" and comprehensive controller support also make it much easier to take advantage of the refined interface and play the way you want. Barring any unpleasant surprises, "Kathy Rain: Director's Cut" could be on track to become one of 2021's best adventure games.