Arcen Games

Games => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: x4000 on October 06, 2015, 09:15:30 PM

Title: New Release Date: November 18th. (edit: nevermind)
Post by: x4000 on October 06, 2015, 09:15:30 PM
First off, apologies for all the people who have sent me notes publicly or privately that I've not responded to yet.  I'm really trying!  I'm just absolutely swamped and overwhelmed right now.  I will get through the backlog, and I'm trying to make sure I read as much as possible (in particular PMs) to make sure I don't miss anything.  That said, I am steering clear of some threads right now just for emotional reasons; I'm really up and down right now.

Anyway, the core topic here: there is a delay coming up in the game's release date, pushing back to November 18th.  I just don't feel like it can get polished enough in the next two weeks to do right by the company in terms of reputation, and it also wouldn't be good for marketing reasons in terms of not having advance copies to press.  In the end I'd rather eat the extra expense of another month and run the risks associated with the gauntlet of games coming out in November than put out something that I know is not quite ready.

No way to really avoid this.  The guys at Valve point out that it's better to release a game that is good than one that is early.  Not that we're on course to be early by any standard known to man, but I'm paraphrasing.  We're hitting a good spot with the game in a whole lot of respects.  Things are feeling increasingly good with the interface, things that annoy players are dropping like flies, we're moving toward a complete experience very rapidly, etc, etc.

But what about my own extensive testing?  What about prerelease press?  What about fixing the things that people are finding in testing beyond the absolute bare minimum stuff?  What about tutorials and clarity?  Not just the obvious stuff, but the stuff that really gets people into it easily.  What about reviews anywhere remotely resembling at launch?

There's a lot we could do in the next two weeks, but I'm running myself down to the point of absolute raggedness, and I'm not sure how much quality output I can maintain.  It's putting some extreme stress on my family, too.  And I don't think it's good for the final product.

I feel like a broken record, but I think it's better we take our chances in the November timeframe.  The gauntlet we have to run:

- Anno 2205 is slated for November 5th, and is a big competitor in theory.
- StarCraft II: Info The Void is November 10th and is another biggie.
- Fallout 4 is November 10th.
- Star Wars: Battlefront is November 17th.
- Thanksgiving is November 26th, so presumably there is a lot of stuff of some sort in that time period.
- Just Cause 3 is December 1st.

My thought at present is maybe the 18th of November.  Initially I would have said the 13th, but that's so darn close to SC II's expansion.  I would have said the 17th, but probably all coverage will be Star Wars.  Maybe we should even do the 19th, but I don't like getting so close to Thanksgiving and press traveling, etc.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Captain Jack on October 06, 2015, 09:49:13 PM
I hate to say it but I WOULD advise at least one more day away from Star Wars. The release day coverage is going to be dedicated to everything wrong with the game and the day after will be all about inevitable server failures. If it's as bad as Arkham City then the entire week is going to be mudslinging and EA hate.

Well it should always be EA Hate Week but the monkeys and grognards will be out in force either way for a day after.  :-\
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Aklyon on October 06, 2015, 09:55:05 PM
I'm gonna second that strongly. Give Battlefront enough space for its big mess to show up, if it has one.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Captain Jack on October 06, 2015, 10:12:43 PM
I'm gonna second that strongly. Give Battlefront enough space for its big mess to show up, if it has one.
It's going to be the servers. EA's doing the public tests starting Thursday and the closed tests that're happening now are going well. If they were sitting on another Arkham City they wouldn't be holding the tests, but they're still going to be absolutely deluged by players come November.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Misery on October 07, 2015, 01:06:36 AM
I'll be completely honest here, this one doesnt sound good.  Waaaaaayyyyyyyy too many major games coming out around this time.

On one hand I can definitely applaud the fact that you guys are so willing to push things back to make sure you can fully and truly finish the product.  This has ended up resulting in great games from you, without exception I think.  Definitely expecting the same for this one once the balance is all... er.... balanced.  And of course, a far cry different from so many publishers rushing the heck outta things... And I can agree that the game probably wasnt ready for it's October release date, at least in certain ways.

But still.... that's kinda a nasty-sounding date. Heck, that whole month doesnt sound good. That huge clump of major games!  Battlefront (which frankly I'm expecting to be a disappointment) and Fallout are problematic enough, but... I hadnt even realized there were THAT MANY.

Kinda worrisome.  Though, pushing back release dates in general seems to cause alot of issues like this at times for any developer....

Though, running yourself ragged isnt going to help anything at all. 

This sounds really frustrating.  Wish I had something more useful to say here...

Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Wingflier on October 07, 2015, 01:37:07 AM
Pull the trigger. Release Early Access this October, get people involved and get the Steam community interested in the game while making it quite clear that there is another full month of work to do.

People are generally very forgiving and understanding of early access games, as long as the core ideas are there and the company is making good progress towards a full release within a reasonable time frame. I've seen a lot of early access games, and the only ones that generally fare badly are the ones in which the company isn't keeping their promises or listening to community feedback. Arcen doesn't have that problem.

In addition, Early Access will give you more revenue and more time (and vastly more feedback) to polish the game until you think it's ready instead of trying to hit these arbitrary deadlines that clearly have no value because they just keep getting pushed back and back and back. You can wait until you're actually ready and there's a dead zone happening and exit early access then.

I'll be completely honest with you, I don't think this game will survive a November release with so many big contenders coming out at the same time. This month is practically a dead zone, I believe you need to get it on the market and get the word out. Heck, you already do these daily blog updates which would be perfect for early access, it's exactly what the Steam community wants, all you have to do is transfer it to that apparatus.

There's tons of indie games on the Steam market right now that have been incredibly successful using this method and they haven't even released yet. Darkest Dungeon, Grim Dawn, and Crypt of the Necrodancer come to mind. I'm sure I could find a dozen more.

Don't hamstring your own game, give yourself a fighting chance.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: tuigirl on October 07, 2015, 02:35:58 AM
Uh-oh, this does not sound good at all.
Well, I have to say I agree with Wingfliers opinion to get the game out in Early Access format in October, but in any case, I guess it will be very close.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Captain Jack on October 07, 2015, 02:50:31 AM
You know, that's not a bad idea at all. I can't imagine that the game would undergo a fourth major change at this point, and this would get you into the news cycle at the better time and get you the time you need to finish. I'm in favor, for what it's worth.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2015, 09:25:16 AM
Hmmm.  Early Access is something that has been tempting, but then again it can be one of those "you only get one release on Steam" situations, and I don't want to be in a situation where people dump on it early, or where the press ignores it and then ignores it again later.  You do raise an awfully lot of good points about November, though.  I've been feeling like I've been trapped between two stupid decisions for a while now, and November has turned up feeling like the less-stupid of the two.

Early Access was something I had thought of, but consumer confidence in that is so low, and my confidence in our ability to have the learning curve clear and under control here by that time is not high.  It's sooooo tempting to me, because it seems like the easy answer.  But the easy answer tends to scare me, because often that's not the right answer.

I'm just not sure.  I will talk to my team some more, and also run things by Valve.   Thanks for your thoughts, and please do feel free to continue sharing them -- I can use all the perspectives possible on this, for sure.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Aklyon on October 07, 2015, 09:36:29 AM
Theres also some people on youtube who ignore EA games until they've released, because theres too many other things to give a look at to be doing it for unfinished games too. Not sure how important that would be for you guys though.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2015, 09:38:27 AM
Yep, it's hard to say.  Who are you thinking of on youtube, specifically?
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2015, 09:39:21 AM
So here's some other thoughts I wrote up to staff, and I figured I would share them here also:



Early Access is something that has crossed my mind repeatedly, but it's a scary prospect for a few reasons:

1. You only get one release on Steam, really (though if it's between an EA release and a no-press-time release, which is better?).

2. There's generally negativity around the idea of EA, although far less so than a buggy launch of course.

3. I figure that press coverage might be hard to get on an EA game in some respects.

4. I worry about our ability to really have this in a polished enough state that people can enjoy it by that target date.  Though plenty of people already are, so maybe I'm overthinking that.

5. There's no question of me being able to do enough testing by that point, so it's going to be all down to our testers.

I dunno.  When I write it out like that, the list of negatives is a lot smaller than I thought.  I don't think it's ideal, but it also does have some notable financial advantages... probably.

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.

Potentially that might let us do an EA release SOONER than October 21st, because we don't have to worry about those last two acts, balancing any of those buildings that are in them, doing achievements, doing the game start menu, etc.  Instead it's finishing all the buildings and whatnot on the Act 1 and 2 buildings, getting better balance in there on the economy, cleaning up a number of interfaces, getting tutorials and intro stories in there, and so on.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Aklyon on October 07, 2015, 09:48:50 AM
Yep, it's hard to say.  Who are you thinking of on youtube, specifically?
I know its more than him, but the only person I could think of on that description right now would be TB. Though I've also watched people like Wanderbots or Deluks Gaming, who play a lot of EA games as far as I can tell (or just a lot of games in general in wanderbots' case, I haven't watched more than a a playlist or two yet and he's made like, 3 more since then)
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2015, 09:57:47 AM
I gotcha, that makes sense.

We also had a good point brought up internally:

Quote
If it goes on early access, one likely outcome is a flood of unhelpful feedback. Kind of like tapping a well into the sewer.

Other groups just deal with that and it's fine (especially after a few weeks/months for things to stabilize) but I know that's been a struggle for us in the past.

My thoughts were:

This is true.  It would be extremely demoralizing to say the least.  I'm not sure what the lesser of the evils is, though.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Misery on October 07, 2015, 09:58:07 AM
Hmm, if it were up to me, at this point, I'd actually sort of be thinking that there isnt really much of a choice.  Now granted, I dont have all of the info and knowledge you do when it comes to stuff like this, but what I see is two possible issues:

1, you go with the EA route, and some problems may pop up of course... people that dont like dealing with EA, or people that dont understand what it means and flip the heck out when bugs appear.   Stuff like that.  Those are definite issues.

2, you go the November route.... and get utterly overwhelmed by it.   At least with the EA route, people can buy the game.  However, they cant do that at all if they just blew all of their money on the major releases.  Something like Battlefield in particular is enough by itself; that one is frankly going to be SO huge that even if it were JUST that game by itself, I still would say "there isnt really any choice here".   But even worse, it's NOT the only one.  This is sort of a "worst case scenario" here.

Though, again with Battlefield, my impression of it is that the time around it's release isnt going to be the only period of time it affects; it might stretch out for a loooooong while after that, as people get utterly addicted to it, and dont play/buy anything else for quite some time.   So that.... just sounds even worse, really.  Bah.


I mean, you remember how it went the last time this happened.  Bionic Dues, wasnt it?  A game that turned out really well, had the potential to do really well, and to me, SHOULD have done really well... but went up against a major release, and was ignored.  And that was a game with a shorter (much shorter) development time and smaller budget, yeah?  My concern is:  Can you guys actually afford to have this one go completely down the drain like that?  I know how bad that sounds, but this game has also had a LONG development time, and I mentally associate that with "massive spending".

It's not an easy choice to make, and I seriously doubt you guys are the only ones facing this particular decision and problem right now... these games are going to probably screw with a ton of other things that might have had the chance to do well, if left somewhat alone.  I dont think there's any easy way out of it, and what options there are, are both damaging.  But the second one doesnt just seem damaging to me, it seems more of a game killer.   There's just too much to go up against there, too many other very expensive things that have been hyped to hell for a LONG time, and that people will definitely be buying in droves.


So.... yeah, that's just my current thoughts on that choice overall.  Again, I wish I had something more useful to say, but no matter how I look at it it just doesnt seem like a very good situation at all.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Misery 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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: nas1m 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...
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Rythe 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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Wingflier 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. (http://store.steampowered.com/app/219990/)

Subnautica. (http://store.steampowered.com/app/264710/) (made by one of my all-time favorite developers)

Don't Starve Together. (http://store.steampowered.com/app/322330/) (I believe you've played this, they are still adding core features to the game after 6 months)

Plague Inc Evolved. (http://store.steampowered.com/app/246620/) (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. (http://store.steampowered.com/app/262060/)

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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: crazyroosterman 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)
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Bambusek 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. 
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Aklyon 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.)
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: mattymuc 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  :-[
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Bambusek 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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: mattymuc 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!
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Captain Jack 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.  :-[
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: crazyroosterman 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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th.
Post by: Wingflier 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.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th. (edit: nevermind)
Post by: crazyroosterman on October 07, 2015, 04:56:12 PM
I think chris has decided to go along with it because of the title edit.
Title: Re: New Release Date: November 18th. (edit: nevermind)
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2015, 05:00:09 PM
I've decided that there's no good option here.  So, with that in mind we're now looking at March 2016: https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,18040.0.html