Previously I’ve spoken about the issues that have been cropping up with Steam greenlit/early access titles; namely the lack of motivation they have to push forward after making it big selling a half finished product. DayZ is probably the biggest offender here as it claims to still be in Alpha stages but looks to pull in close to $100 million by the end of 2014. The ridiculous amount of cash generated by throwing a mediocre product on steam coupled with an utter absence of consequences for not delivering on said product is a recipe only a mother could love.
Today I wanted to walk you all through a product that was literally just released today, 10/30/14. The title of todays experiment is a game called “Miscreated“. It bills itself as a “multiplayer online hardcore survival game set in a post-apocalyptic future”. Sound familiar? Well it should be because this genre was and still is an untapped gold mine waiting for someone(s) to get their collective shit together and blow our minds with zombies that don’t land shark and walk through walls. I’ll resist going on a tangent here about what I’d do if I were lead dev on a similar project but suffice to say it wouldn’t include the perks of setting off on a 30 minute walk to the nearest town only to break my legs on a pesky pebble along the way. What I am going to do is walk you through the information this game has listed and evaluate whether or not we think additional criteria should be necessary in order to separate greenlit/early access projects from ponzi schemes.
1) This is Steam’s early access page. It sums up what an early access title is and touches on what the company needs to do in order to sell their product as an early access title. For those too lazy to click, it states that the game is updated is often as the dev wants and pricing is completely negotiable. It also says that the developer determines when the game is subject to release and that some teams will be unable to “finish” their games. I’m not sure why it put finish in quotes, but there you have it. Essentially, releasing your product as an early access title on steam is a win/win for the developers and associated company. Regardless of how well or poor your game does, they aren’t beholden to finish anything. DayZ and Rust are under no more obligation to finish their game than any other title. It’s a kickstarter without a clause or a loan without a repayment date. It’s complete bullshit.
2) Miscreated’s early access page specifically states that if you aren’t comfortable playing a game that’s being acively developed, then they recommend purchasing at a later time. Well that’s great and all but I love the idea of supporting the small guys and throwing money at local business’s etc. I’d love to be part of a community that helps shape the nature of the game being played. Unfortunately, there’s no bright red bolded size 65 font that states: “regardless of whether or not you join said community, this game may or may not ever be fully realized”. Is there anyone here who would pay more than $5.00 for a title they knew had no guarantee of being created?
3) When asked how the full version will differ from the early access version Miscreated states: “…We plan to add customization weapons, vehicles, crafting, and base building into the game, as well as many more items for the player to find – weapons, clothes”. This is the same line of garbage DayZ has been feeding the brainless ding dongs who have chugged the Bohemia Interactive kool-aid for the last year. Adding in scopes and new weapons is not going to magically take your game from beta to a full release. Swapping in and out a few clothing spawns are miniscule game tweaks that play almost no role in the games balance, mechanics, functionality, or performance. Such reasons are why DayZ will never move to a full release because regardless of how many clothing or weapon updates they throw out, the games engine is completely unsuited to their their goal of a zombie survival sandbox.
4) Buy Miscreated now for $24.99.
Right now there’s a huge overlap between greenlit projects, indie titles, and early access. It appears as though we’re in something of the wild west when it comes to pushing new and smaller budget PC games. I still think it’s a great thing to support the little guys and indeed branch out and try genres or games that are foreign to you. I can guarantee you’ll be left with a new experience and perspective that will help you to evaluate future titles and you’ll have an easier time spelling out why you either do or do not like a certain game/genre. And that’s more or less how you turn a frown upside down.