Author Topic: New Release Date: November 18th. (edit: nevermind)  (Read 4650 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2015, 10:03:23 AM »
but no matter how I look at it it just doesnt seem like a very good situation at all.

That about sums things up! Wheeee!  :-[

In terms of past releases with market problems, we had two of note -- well, three:

1. Bionic Dues and the first Skyward Collapse expansion both released during very dead periods in August, and just gained no market traction because the market stinks then.

2. Valley 1 was doing great, but then when Diablo 3 came out about a month and a half after the launch of Valley 1, our sales dropped to 1/10th their prior value overnight and never recovered.  The game was doing super well before that.
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Offline Misery

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2015, 10:09:14 AM »
but no matter how I look at it it just doesnt seem like a very good situation at all.

That about sums things up! Wheeee!  :-[

In terms of past releases with market problems, we had two of note -- well, three:

1. Bionic Dues and the first Skyward Collapse expansion both released during very dead periods in August, and just gained no market traction because the market stinks then.

2. Valley 1 was doing great, but then when Diablo 3 came out about a month and a half after the launch of Valley 1, our sales dropped to 1/10th their prior value overnight and never recovered.  The game was doing super well before that.

Ahhh, that's right, it was Valley that went up against Diablo.   I kept thinking all this time it had been BD.

Still, it does kinda showcase the problem.  That really was a HARSH drop.


Feh, the whole thing sucks, really.  There's just problems no matter what direction you look in.

I swear, I just hate this whole damn industry around this time of year and going towards the holiday season.  Nothing but trouble.  Gonna be REALLY tired of hearing about most of those games, too, after a short time.  Bah.

Offline nas1m

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2015, 10:58:15 AM »
IF we were to do this, potentially the focus should be on polish and the early game experience, and basically avoiding completing Act IV and possibly even Act III prior to EA.  Instead a focus on tutorials, interface, clarity, and so on and so forth for the first two acts, which are quite entertaining on their own.  And then the release of subsequent acts can be a major point of excitement when those do happen.
You know, this really sounds quite good to me.
Definitely better than the November gauntlet tbh...
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Offline Rythe

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2015, 11:16:44 AM »
Rebel Galaxy is actually the only thing I'm interested in with the coming release slew, but then I'm weird.

Could never get into Fallout (structure), I don't have time or interest to master the next shooting twitch fest (America's Army/Unreal Tourny 1 were my shooter heydays), and I'm just not a Star Wars fan. I did quite enjoy KOTOR for its time, but Battlefront isn't my game.

I suppose I did preorder Legacy of the Void once upon a time, but I've mostly been playing SC2 because Kerrigan. Wings of Liberty was enjoyable for what it was. Heart of the Swarm lost the Kerrigan thread, badly in ways. And so Legacy of the Void is just for me to close the book on this one.

I'll throw a tentative Early Access vote in there too.

The danger about closing off Acts III & IV is that people might worry you won't deliver on them, so the first two acts will have to be darn good when they hit EA. The second wrinkle is that you'll want Acts III & IV pretty well polished before dropping them on EA too, so possibly inner testing crew and work vs the EA crowd on Steam.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2015, 11:33:50 AM »
Some notable indie games that have been in EA for months, many of them started when they were in Alpha, and have still received glowing reviews and praise from the Steam community and curators.

Grim Dawn.

Subnautica. (made by one of my all-time favorite developers)

Don't Starve Together. (I believe you've played this, they are still adding core features to the game after 6 months)

Plague Inc Evolved. (This game has been mentioned on our forums a lot. It's just a simple Flash game ported to a better engine and with a whole series of new added features. Yet people love it! It's been in EA for over a year)

Darkest Dungeon.

I encourage you to go and look at the reviews for these games. Many of them have been in EA for a long time, and from what I can tell, it hasn't hurt their reputation at all. Some of them are the most talked about games on Steam right now.

What I mean to say is that, as far as I can tell, there's no downside to releasing a game into Early Access. People understand the game's unfinished qualities, hence the Early Access warning. What they're looking for are that the fundamental features are there, and that the developer is releasing a consistent, goodly amount of updates every month that respond to player concerns.

Early Access also has a built-in "bug report" feature, so you'll probably be getting a lot more feedback and bug testing than you would be otherwise anyway.

One other thing to consider is that Early Access doesn't force you to give a release date. Most EA games don't have one anyway. The developer often just says, "When it's ready". People are okay with this. In addition, it might bolster your income to the point that you can keep on developing for many more months.

So you could curtail the release date of Stars Beyond Reach for when you're actually satisfied with the final product, and when it's a good time to be released, instead of trying to hit a release date which may have disastrous consequences.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:40:56 AM by Wingflier »
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Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2015, 12:32:09 PM »
I think I agree with wingflier going up against all those marketing nukes would be horrible and honestly with games like tlf that are never really finished because of the constant up dating it is effectively like playing an early access game the only other thing you could do is push back enougher month also wingflier forgot to mention broforce which has a shit ton of positive reviews although since the devs have enounced the release date so its effectively a finished game at this point.(its not a good comparison  to this though since that game is way way way simpler)
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Offline Bambusek

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2015, 01:39:01 PM »
If Stars Beyond Reach is mostly done, with all important mechanics in place and working, but requires polishing an balancing then going Early Access is not that risky. Of course, the press coverage will be limited and TB would probably ignore this game till true release (his coverage gives a boost to sales usually), but going on November, uh, even more risky. The press will be very likely torn between Fallout 4 and Battlefront. Blizzard and maybe Firaxis are probably the only companies that can release a strategy game in such hot period and still got good sale numbers. 

Offline Aklyon

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2015, 02:13:43 PM »
Blizzard and maybe Firaxis are probably the only companies that can release a strategy game in such hot period and still got good sale numbers.
Blizzards going right ahead and doing so, and Firaxis decided months ago they were going to skip the whole thing and release XCOM2 next year instead. (Well, for other reasons. But I bet this was part of them eventually.)

Offline mattymuc

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2015, 02:19:14 PM »
I don't think that Battlefront is a huge problem, it's a complete different genere and a Multiplayer game.
But Anno 2205 and Starcraft are a disaster for every other strategy game, at least here in Germany...

November is really challenging  :-[
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 05:42:20 PM by mattymuc »

Offline Bambusek

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2015, 02:29:58 PM »
Blizzards going right ahead and doing so, and Firaxis decided months ago they were going to skip the whole thing and release XCOM2 next year instead. (Well, for other reasons. But I bet this was part of them eventually.)

With Blizzard - I know. With Firaxis - well, they are about to release Rising Tide, right? It may be expansion only, but still. The previous XCom was released in hot period also (maybe not that hot, but Dishonored was released around the same date) and it sold.

@mattymuc - Anno is a strong competition, but it is published by Ubisoft, so probably around 2 weeks to month of patching before it will be really good. Competing against Legacy of the Void is a sure loss, people were waiting for years for this game.

Offline mattymuc

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2015, 02:41:55 PM »
Yes, I know that every Arcen game is awesome! I'm looking forward to playing it as soon as possible!
But Anno is a huge problem. Of course it's buggy as hell but nevertheless everybody will get it here...
All news will be full of Battlefield, Fallout and Anno bug reports, smaller games are easily overlooked :-(

I don't want that Stars Beyond Reach will be overlooked!

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2015, 03:31:45 PM »
We've had a lot of people weigh in for Early Access, so I'll play devil's advocate for a moment to explain the cons of doing so, and why I think EA is worth doing anyway.


1. Early Access success stories are planned around Early Access. Don't Starve, Grim Dawn, Prison Architect and rest of the sordid lot use Greenlight and Early Access to build their community and their brand over a period of years; it's as much the centerpiece of their marketing strategy as it is their product. Individual players will do for a huge amount of marketing for you if they feel attached to the game. It's slow and steady and gets you players (and payers) over time based on positive word of mouth.

2. IMPORTANT, THIS COULD BE DAMNING You don't have an EA content model in place. Ever notice how Terraria/ARK/Minecraft/etc have updates that include a bunch of new content for the early and midgame? This is to encourage players to start new games, which gets them to stay with the game longer. That won't happen with SBR. You'll be finishing the game (or making changes to the early experience rather than the content), so returning players will pick up from old save files to see the new content instead of going back to the start to see the new content. Going back to point one, they'll do less marketing for you because they'll spend less time with the game.

3. You're constrained in what major changes you can make without irritating the paid players. Early Access darling Darkest Dungeon added a "corpse" mechanic to prevent cheesing mage encounters, and the fanbase rioted. It got so bad that it made some longtime fans quit the game, and stayed gone even after the developers created a separate game mode without the difficulty features. Make major balance adjustments against the player and the monkeys come out of the closet.

3. As has been noted before, EA releases are treated like second class releases when put against "actual" releases. It makes sense since they aren't done. The immediate marketing buzz won't be as high as a one and done release and will detract from the buzz that could happen during the actual release. Like, is anyone even talking about Prison Architect asides from RPS?

5. Public perception of Early Access isn't good. There are individual successes but the average release quality is low and there have been a few incidents that poisoned the well (hi SBDF-9!). Lacking a EA-ready content plan as per 1 and 4 a lot of people will choose to pass on this until release, which could mean they'll skip it entirely without lots of glowing reviews.


I recommend Early Access for one reason: Stars Beyond Reach isn't ready for release. I certainly believe it can be finished by November, but there's more to a release than the game being done. I think we'll be testing right up until the 18th, and you've made very clear what you think of trendsetters and reviewers playing unfinished code. Same for marketing, you aren't willing to start until you have the release candidate in sight. That's a noble idea, but as it stands any marketing you attempt to do in advance of a November release is going to get whited out by the ridiculous release schedule. If it's part of an ongoing marketing plan then it stands a chance of catching attention.

November is TOXIC. So release EA now and do the final release in *deep breath* the second half of January. That gets you out of the way of the major releases and three whole Steam sales. You get a positive (if small) income stream and building word of mouth, more than enough time to do marketing on your own terms (though I'd still recommend starting soon), it gives reviewers a comfortable margin for reviewing, and enough time to squash any bugs that we don't catch.

If you finish early? Release early! Or keep to the date and just start working on Life at the End of the Universe.

Regardless. My $0.02.

EDIT: Holy mother of god this exploded.  :-[
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 03:35:06 PM by Watashiwa »

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2015, 04:36:37 PM »
i never considered the possibility of disparity happening between us(tester who haven't payed to play this game) and the people who would will theoretically play this game granted this isn't really making a game early access its finishing so as long as that is made clear and that this isn't just being started form the ground up I think that could end up being okay.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2015, 04:53:17 PM »
I'd like to see some solid evidence that Early Access hurt a game's final potential or reputation in any way.

Most of the game's that have exited Early Access and done poorly are simply games that were *bad games*. Games that were unfinished upon release and with or without Early Access would have been deemed by critics a complete failure.

There are dozens of EA success stories, so I'm not sure why you're presenting it in such a way as if it's a rare occurrence. I'm also not sure that an Early Access model is what the developers of these games had planned from the beginning. Grim Dawn is a perfect example. That game was first offered on Kickstarter (got a pretty good backing), then ported to Steam later through Early Access with a similar price that the KS backers paid. From what I've read of the developers, that wasn't the original plan, it's just kind of what happened when they ran into money and development constraints. They had originally planned a much smaller game than what it evolved into being.

From the Steam EA Grim Dawn page:
Quote
Why Early Access?
“We started as a two-man team and eventually grew to six, then eight after a successful Kickstarter and alpha release. Our early vision was to create a fairly small, somewhat rough game as a way to get our studio off the ground with very limited resources. Kickstarter and Early Access have allowed us to expand greatly on that original vision and to create a larger game with more unique features. We continue to use Early Access as a laboratory in which to test and grow Grim Dawn, with continual player feedback and the flexibility to add new features and spend time refining the game in a way that typical publisher funded development doesn't allow.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“We hope to have all core content completed by mid 2015. Beyond that, we will take as long as necessary to fix, polish, optimize and make adjustments based on community feedback until the game feels ready to call complete. We're estimating final release before the end of 2015 but ultimately, we'll work as long as it takes to get it right.”

In fact, Early Access is the only REASON the indie studio has been able to continue developing the game, which otherwise would have been rushed once they ran out of Kickstarter funds. So even though Steam Early Access was never part of the plan (I don't think it even existed when Grim Dawn was announced in April 2012), it's the route the developer eventually took, and it's worked well for them.

Furthermore, Grim Dawn I think contradicts your theory that unless you add early game content, people won't be as interested in going back and playing it again. Grim Dawn has consistently over the past year been working on almost nothing but late-game content, Act 3 and 4 respectively, and as far as I know the beginning of the game has received very little comparatively. It's still doing well. The reviews are glowing. I don't see how their situation is that much different from the one Arcen is currently in honestly.
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Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: New Release Date: November 18th. (edit: nevermind)
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2015, 04:56:12 PM »
I think chris has decided to go along with it because of the title edit.
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