Yeah, ditto. Just delayed, though, not dead!
Would this other project be Life at the End of the Universe or something else?
Yep! Although that will undergo another name change. And the description of it is pretty incorrect now, too. But I'm very excited about it, and it will be refreshing to work on something smaller and different for a while.
Oh No testing this weekend
But it was a good decision to not release the game in november!
And I am excited about the other game :-)
Wow. This is huge, and courageous.
I really appreciate it.
So the new game may hit alpha next month, but will only be sold through your site and not the early access program on Steam. So you will be doing things like we used to do them around here (with light of the spire and valley 1) where we buy the game early and you push updates through the arcen updater?
Yep, exactly! It was never the case that we completely gave up on that model, although I can see why one would think that. Keith has his own ways that he prefers to run his betas for the AI War expansions, which I respect. And with the other things that we have done in a more closed fashion on Steam, a lot of that has just come down to the nature of the game and what I felt like I'd need in terms of feedback. And/or what sort of volume of feedback I felt like I could take on.
This new game is more mechanics-focused in a lot of respects, versus having lots of huge interlocking systems (being systems-focused), and that has a big impact on my willingness to get a lot of feedback early. Hating some mechanic is cool with me, because it doesn't mean a cascading failure of lots of systems. With something like SBR, a failure in the economic system can bring down the whole game, by contrast.
I have no idea how this will turn out as a business decision,
I don't either, but I think that I can safely look at it and say that it is the least bad decision out of the ones available. I highly doubt I will regret this specific decision. It's entirely likely I will regret other decisions that I have recently made or will soon make, regarding either SBR or the new game, but the decision about dates and game shifts is hopefully not one of them, heh.
(Oh, don't say that Chris -- you're just tempting fate now.)
but I bet the players will all do all we can to make the new game great. And I am still very much looking forward so SBR.
Good luck! Can't wait to help when the time comes.
I really, really appreciate it.
I was gonig to ask if you could afford to do that, but then half the post is about why, likely, you would be able to later. And neither of those dates are February where xcom2 is showing up in, which is probably good.
It will potentially involve taking on about $30k to $50k of debt, depending on how Steam sales and whatnot go in the next few months. Or it might be as positive as having almost no debt and almost no cash, in the best of the likely cases. I tend to plan around the worst of the likely cases, as a way of helping errors not be disasters. But anyway, financially we've been through far worse before.
The thing I don't like about this is that it removes a lot of safety nets, and does potentially add that debt, and so if this interim game bombs in January then we are well and truly hosed. But I mean, what company can afford to put out lots of games that bomb and not be hosed? Most large game studios are one game failure away from closure. Thankfully we've weathered multiple game failures without closing, despite them causing layoffs (blaaah).
It's a tough business for sure.
Yeah, now lets hope that Sega does not decide that March is a great time for TW: Warhammer release.
Well, avoiding the craziness that will be November is a good thing.
Oof, yeah, I didn't even know that one. When is their current slated release? Anyhow, that's certainly less threatening than the lineup of November, so I'll take that over the other. The overall cash availability that customers have should be better then when the AAA glut isn't full-swing, too. In theory if the interim game does well, we might have more flexibility to finish SBR in March but sit on it until April or May if the market is hostile with things like Warhammer in March. Meanwhile working on an expansion to AI War or the interim game or who knows what.
I'm not saying I would want to do that, but the flexibility goes a lot higher in that time period is all I mean.
This is both surprising and not surprising at the same time. It was showing in some ways that SBR was a difficult project, and having been pushed back into November's gauntlet, trying to push through was probably not a great idea.
Big decision, but it sounds like a good plan.
I appreciate it. This turned out to be about double the budget and complexity that I expected. I'm not sure why I thought I could be so clever in simplifying a 4X and citybuilder hybrid, but there's hubris for you. I feel like it's going well at this point, but we needed to hit this point a few months ago, not now. And you guys are still finding various systems that have things wrong with them or that lack fun in some fashion, and that concerns me greatly. I want to have proper time to address that sort of thing, versus having to go "well the other parts are good, and they can just live with that one bit, oh well." Blah to that!
There is a polish game studio called Wastelands Interactive. They expertise were a niche turn based strategy games, usually in world war II setting. They were really good at it. Then they decided to make a spiritual successor to Master of Magic. It was the biggest project for them and they even went Early Access. The result is a disaster called Worlds of Magic that was "released" on March, but even now need serious patching. So if Stars Beyond Reach are the most ambitious project for Arcen it is for the best to put it in a freezer for some time and release polished in more calm period than try to rush it because of finances and get crushed by crazy competition on November.
Yikes! That is definitely the sort of story I wouldn't want to have, yeah. Then you are in an incredibly terrible spot. What do you do then, if the game is not selling, but is also kind of broken? Do you keep working on it, and lose even more money? (In the past when we had some issues with a project, I chose this). Or do you walk away from it because you have to, and then everyone calls you a crook and you kind of feel like one? That whole situation just has no upside, and there's really no escape from it once you start selling something like that.
Whew. Yeah, that is something I wholeheartedly want to avoid. But even more than that, I honestly think this game could be huge, a real watershed for Arcen, if I can just get some things figured out. It does a lot of stuff no other game does, and if all the kinks can get worked out of that, I think that could be really a special thing. I'd hate for that to get all thrown away and turn into the other kind of story.
I fully agree with the decision. You really had me worried with the November date yesterday.
This way SBR can be made into something great and you can look at it fresh after you take a break from it.
As a huge tester lately, I definitely am glad to hear that.