General Category > Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine

Whoa, this game is coming out in 2016 now? Well, it's for the best.

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Yesterday I said November would be the new release date, but that was met with lots of dire warnings.  Wise ones, I think.  So, here's the skinny:

I've been talking with my wife, and my mom (an excellent businesswoman), and listening to the thoughts from all of the staff individually and as a group, and thoughts from players, and just looking at how I feel about all this as well...

Here's what I come to:

1. Trying to do a release of a new game like this in 2015 is just plain going to be a shortsighted grab no matter how you cut it.  There's no scenario that really truly makes sense if you look at things in a three or four quarter window and you say "oh yeah, they totally should have released in that horrible period at the end of 2015."

2. The point about "if the game is great, it doesn't matter when you release" is somewhat taken, but I think that people do tend to overlook all the great "cult classics" that never caught on for one reason or another.  In other words, this smacks a bit to me of being over-confident.  Which I have certainly been many times, but am not really feeling in the spirit of right now. ;)

3. So, one way or another, we come down to releasing something in January 2016, best case.

4. When it comes to pushing on with Stars Beyond Reach at the moment, I am just not feeling like that is the wisest thing either.  Let's take away all other factors, and just look at money.  If we keep on with SBR and go for a release of that in January, that means that we've put ALL our eggs into the one basket of this game.  If it does poorly, then there's a big uh-oh moment.

5. But beyond just the money and eggs-in-baskets bit, I am personally just plain burned out with the game right now.  I need time to regroup and collect my thoughts and take things in a more timely manner.  I need time to work on the game without feeling constantly under the gun, and I need to not be SO emotionally invested in it.  After 14 months of just being on this game and nothing else, it starts to intertwine with my self image to a dangerous degree.  I need time to separate myself from that.

6. I do still believe very strongly in SBR, though, and I think that buying ourselves time to then work on that in early 2016 and really finish that up with a flourish rather than a grunt of exhaustion is the way to go.

7. In the meantime I am super excited about the other project, and I do believe that we can do it in the timeframe for a January release.  My goal with that will be to get it to a point where we can start selling it on our own site (and I guess Humble?) in November.  So skipping Early Access and all that jazz, and just building up a community outside of Steam, then doing a full proper Steam release in January.

Hold On A Second -- "Next Game?"
Right, so here's how it goes: we stop all work on SBR, and instead work on the next game, for full release in January.  I've been excited about this and planning it for more than half a year.  It's meant to be a project that can comfortably fit in that timeframe, with minimal amounts of the things that take us (as a company) the most time.  Interface is minimal, etc, etc.  And we have a pretty solid baseline of other games in the market that we can model on, unlike with some of our other titles.  It's a much less risky project because it's not so darn novel, but nonetheless still scratches an itch for me that I don't get scratched by anything else that's out there.

During that period, whenever there are some dead periods, if there are, then work can be done in spots on SBR.  But otherwise, mainly we just put it on ice until after this next game comes out, then resume working on it again after the next game is out.  At that point we're looking at a March release for SBR, but we've put out another game in the midst of that.  Then if the SBR release needs to slip AGAIN, we'd be in a better financial situation to weather that.  SBR is just a larger beast than I'd anticipated, and handling it properly is important to me.

I have hesitated on this because I worry about the "grass is always greener" effect when thinking about this other game we're going to be doing in the interim.  That said, there is a clear model of other games that do this same sort of thing for the next game, whereas that is not the case with SBR.  And there's been a massive market appeal for the other kind of game, too.  And we have a lot of code just sitting around that does exactly what we want in that realm, too.  So we're in much safer territory on a whole lot of fronts there.  Is there still a risk of schedule slippage on that game?  Of course.  But it's a much lower sort of risk than with SBR.

Overall I think that this is the plan that will be the safest for the company financially, which gets you another great game in the meantime, and which will let SBR have the funding to truly live up to its potential.  I hate walking away from a project even temporarily, but this is one of those times I'm super glad that we didn't do a kickstarter or sell preorders or whatever.  You guys would be pretty pissed at me right about now.  As it stands, hopefully this is something that instead is ultimately a positive message, even if delays are never something one exactly looks forward to.

Any questions, please do let me know.

Captain Jack:
Well nuts.  :'(

Would this other project be Life at the End of the Universe or something else?

well I certainly wasn't expecting this over all this was probably for the best though.

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.  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?

I have no idea how this will turn out as a business decision, 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. 


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