We should have seen it coming. Toby Fox is well-known for trolling people about upcoming details regarding his projects. We haven't gotten answers on the lore in either Undertale or Deltarune regarding some of the deeper questions, like who Gaster is and if there is a way to save Asriel. Yet, each new piece of information lures us in, like the shiny part of an anglerfish before it swallows you whole.
On September 15, 2022, Toby apologized that he didn't have a release date for Chapter Three of Deltarune. My friends and I have been joking that at this rate, we'll all be in our forties by the time the full game is released. Part of me likes the wait because we have reasons to look forward to each update. There is a sense of sadness when the game actually comes out and is exactly like you imagine. You then wonder what remains after the credits.
Toby did, however, have preview screencaps and soundtracks. Breakout character Spamton was going to host a special event in a few days. Spamton, from Chapter Two of the game, had broken out from minor boss status to the darkhorse anti-villain or villain, depending on how you play the game. Naturally, it seemed fitting that he had "taken over" the main Deltarune website, as he attempts a similar takeover if you either seek him out as a bonus boss in chapter two or go for the Snowgrave route.
Saturday, September 17, featured sweepstakes for Deltarune items. You donated a small amount of money, and you could win one item in theory. All the money would be going to charity, and more than seven thousand dollars were raised; I donated a small amount to participate and show solidarity. People could also buy items up for auction, like a statue of Berdly that last I saw was at the bidding for $4100 dollars.
That should have been it, a silly event that reminds us of our love for the game. Except it wasn't.
The Tumblr Sleuthers
Never underestimate avid lore hunters. Within hours, my feed exploded with details. Screencaps came out, as did links to secret pages that emerged if you typed in certain URLs on the Deltarune website on the day of the sweepstakes. Some images seemed innocuous, like Susie lying down and opening her eyes, looking like you just interrupted her nap. Others seemed bizarre, like a chair that disintegrates on a loop if you click on it, and the effects sound familiar to the Undertale Riverperson's sound effects. This video summarizes what people found.
Some pages, however, seem to carry hints about characterization and mysterious pasts. Noelle and her sister December contributed to a website that reported sightings of a sapient ICEE mascot, belonging to the local pizza chain. They said they encountered an ICEE head in a box that they tried to burn. It is a super weird tale. Asriel was also involved, according to them.
We see the main trio dressed in snazzy suits, and engaging in a boss battle with shadow men. One plays the saxophone to send bullets after Kris, Ralsei, and Susie. There are also hints of new backgrounds. A phone number reveals a secret message.
Of course, these indicators may also be red herrings. Toby has a history of messing with fans of his games, but always with a lot of love unlike say Scott Cawthon. It's highly likely that Chapters Three Through Eight will not feature homages to Five Nights at Freddy's.
Why Is Lore A Gift?
Not all games need lore. Some in fact work better if you don't have to deep-dive into a narrative to get your content down. If you go too far, putting in extra content that ultimately doesn't contribute to a whole, you get pretty frustrated readers. That's what happened with Five Nights At Freddy's, where Scott Cawthon said that he would have given the answers if people had figured them out after releasing game four, but then said that it wasn't worth it. Other games know they run a fine line of hinting at lore.
Deltarune is different because it's an ongoing story. We have two out of eight planned chapters according to Toby's updates. The mystery remains, about why the game's continuity has a different timeline from that in Undertale, and why Sans seems to remember the player. As a result, any clues may provide an answer about the whole.
We also trust Toby. He put his money where his mouth was by working on Homestuck, the Earthbound Halloween Hack, and Undertale. Toby knows how to tell a story, even in a tale where your choices impact the narrative and takes it down a drastically different path. So we wait and see what is next, whenever and whatever that may be.
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