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wih

Why wasn't the game released as an early access?

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I was thinking about this for several weeks and it seems other people also think this would be a good option, based on some remarks on the forum.

 

It is clear that such a complex game can hardly be released without bugs. Many, many games have been released in a rather buggy state. They only become relatively bug-free months after the release.

It has become a norm for the companies to release the game and then spend several months bugfixing to bring the game to where it needs to be.

 

That the games have to go through this process is in my opinion unavoidable. It is simply a reality of life. Tens of thousands of players will inevitably find more bugs than the internal QA team.

 

What I wonder is - why don't make this process official and simply develop it as an early access title?

 

Some players just don't care that much about bugs. They will be happy to test their builds, play with game mechanics, report bugs and give feedback to the developers. They are probably going to do at least several playthroughs and don't place that much weight on their first or second playthrough.

 

Other players are only going to play the game once and their playthrough must be perfect. For them it is simply a mistake to try to play the game in its current state. But it is hardly a defensible stance to sell a game for a full price to someone and then tell them to wait and don't play it for several months.

 

In an effect, currently we have a situation where the game is as in an early access state - it is not fully finished because there are still bugs, the balance is far from what will be achieved in several months and so on. On the other hand the game is playable enough to be Very Positive on Steam. The first group of players are already very happy with it. For me it has become my all time favorite RPG.

 

Not so with the second group of players though. Some of those that have bought the game are already disappointed and it is hard to convince them that it was their fault - that they had to be more patient. Some of them leave negative reviews, which hurts the game and is not really undeserved.

Those that are waiting cautiously are better off, but having a large portion of the potential buyers not buying the game is bad for the game success. New games are released all the time, so those potential buyers may end up not buying Deadfire at all.

 

With the early access model those players would also avoid playing it and that would be Ok, because the game would be officially in a development state.

Then, on release, the game would be much more stable and will fully benefit from the attention that the official release brings.

 

 

 

There was the backer beta, of course. It seems that the backer beta was several versions behind the main development version. It was good for gameplay feedback but it didn't really give access to the main portion of the game. And it was restricted - it wasn't enough to just be a backer or to preorder the game to play it.

So it's value was limited.

 

Having the game as an early access where everything in the game is accessible would be another thing entirely. I wonder why Obsidian didn't do it.

 

Was it because of fear of spoilers? This seems to be the only real disadvantage - but then, how is that different from the current situation where the plot can be easily found on the Internet yet most of the potential players are yet to play the game?

Edited by wih
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Pre internet (I remember loading Wing Commander games through Floppy disks) a game had to be bug free... now with all the different hardware / software configurations, its expected that a game will have issues, and be patched over time.  That practice has let developers get sloppier and sloppier, to the point that most people accept that a brand new game isn't going to work 100% out of the box.  Good publishers will have a solid game, that might have some odd hardware / software conflicts causing crashes, bad ones can release clunky games, where the issues have nothing to do with conflicts on the odd machine.

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Pre internet (I remember loading Wing Commander games through Floppy disks) a game had to be bug free... 

Haha no.

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Too bad. Even if they improve the game in months to come, and Deadfire will become a gem it has potential to be, luke-warm reviews and initial reception will stay. 

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Too bad. Even if they improve the game in months to come, and Deadfire will become a gem it has potential to be, luke-warm reviews and initial reception will stay. 

 

"A late game will eventually be good, a rushed game will be bad forever"

 

If only gaming companies and capitalism in general actually cared about the quality and the reputation, over squeezing out every last dollar of profit they can from the majority casual market who don't know any better, or just don't care.

Edited by whiskiz
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Too bad. Even if they improve the game in months to come, and Deadfire will become a gem it has potential to be, luke-warm reviews and initial reception will stay. 

 

Yeah. I'm a bit puzzled by the choice to be honest. They knew it wasn't done. Hell, they even admitted it wasn't done before the game was released. Surely they would have been better served by another 2-3 month delay?

 

Perhaps they literally ran out of money and had to get it out, but it does feel like they shot themselves in the foot by not delaying it.

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A story focused game like Deadfire wouldn't translate well into early access, in my opinion.

 

And seriously, this game wasn't/isn't more bug infested than any other equivalent game in the same genre.

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I'll do it, for a turnip.

 

DnD item quality description mod (for PoE2) by peardox

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RE: Early Access I believe the stated reason was the same as for PoE1, they didn't want the story to be spoiled.  Since the interactive narrative is a big part of the experience for the game, the beta mostly concentrated on fine tuning mechanics. 

 

BTW similar thread here if you want to read for more thoughts on the subject - https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/98847-why-was-the-game-realeased-when-it-has-so-many-bugs/

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A story focused game like Deadfire wouldn't translate well into early access, in my opinion.

 

And seriously, this game wasn't/isn't more bug infested than any other equivalent game in the same genre.

 

Personally, I wasn't too worried about the bugs. I didn't have anything game breaking, though I did have a couple of quest breaking bugs on my first runthrough. It's more the complete lack of difficulty of Veteran/PotD, which they've acknowledged was because they ran out of time. It seems like they could have avoided a large number of negative Steam reviews (which presumably actually do matter to sales) if they've pushed it back a month.

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A story focused game like Deadfire wouldn't translate well into early access, in my opinion.

 

And seriously, this game wasn't/isn't more bug infested than any other equivalent game in the same genre.

 

Personally, I wasn't too worried about the bugs. I didn't have anything game breaking, though I did have a couple of quest breaking bugs on my first runthrough. It's more the complete lack of difficulty of Veteran/PotD, which they've acknowledged was because they ran out of time. It seems like they could have avoided a large number of negative Steam reviews (which presumably actually do matter to sales) if they've pushed it back a month.

 

Well, you can't have early access for the sake of adjusting combat difficulty, without also spoiling the story.

 

And they did the beta, and apparently that didn't benefit the combat part of the game.


I'll do it, for a turnip.

 

DnD item quality description mod (for PoE2) by peardox

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A story focused game like Deadfire wouldn't translate well into early access, in my opinion.

 

And seriously, this game wasn't/isn't more bug infested than any other equivalent game in the same genre.

 

Personally, I wasn't too worried about the bugs. I didn't have anything game breaking, though I did have a couple of quest breaking bugs on my first runthrough. It's more the complete lack of difficulty of Veteran/PotD, which they've acknowledged was because they ran out of time. It seems like they could have avoided a large number of negative Steam reviews (which presumably actually do matter to sales) if they've pushed it back a month.

 

Well, you can't have early access for the sake of adjusting combat difficulty, without also spoiling the story.

 

And they did the beta, and apparently that didn't benefit the combat part of the game.

 

Probably made it considerably less buggy than it otherwise would have been though!

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I think and D:OS2 did EA, and that game sold well, and never really seemed to go away.

 

I wonder how Larian experience the EA process (and InExile for that matter with Wasteland 2).

 

Honestly, for me the notion of EA and RPG seems like a strange one - I don't like the idea of having my progress invalidated because of a milestone upgrade or having fundamental features being patched in later (Obsidian releases buggy games, no doubt about it, but at least I can play them from start to finish, that was not the case for D:OS2 or Wasteland 2).

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Too bad. Even if they improve the game in months to come, and Deadfire will become a gem it has potential to be, luke-warm reviews and initial reception will stay. 

 

From what I've seen thus far it's being fairly well received -- certainly enough to warrant further expansions and sequels.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Steam reviews are 80% possitive, maybe that is enought.

Metacrtic is 7.8. Not sure how much better it could be.

At some point there is a cost of delaying game endlessly.

2y of dev cycle is rather low.

There is Fig investment thingy, you cant promise and not deliver something. And something was ready.

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RE: Early Access I believe the stated reason was the same as for PoE1, they didn't want the story to be spoiled.  Since the interactive narrative is a big part of the experience for the game, the beta mostly concentrated on fine tuning mechanics. 

 

BTW similar thread here if you want to read for more thoughts on the subject - https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/98847-why-was-the-game-realeased-when-it-has-so-many-bugs/

 

the most annoying thing is that game mechanics haven't be tested enought when you see all the nerf that happen and some change like removing full attack from charge. Same for bugs related to abilities, they could have been tested during a spoiler free beta (and bug like invisibility and dot was reported during beta I think). There is problem with the inspiration/affliction too. Nice system but need more work (like brilliant).

 

All these things could have been tested in a spoiler free environment, like some sort of arena. Let's players fighting in arena, toying with builds etc and get tonne of telemetry datas.

 

The game will follow the exact same process of poe1 and the 2.0/3.0 will be a very different/more robust game mechanism wise. I prefer deadfire system, but if they change the mechanics each time they throw away all the balancing of previous game and every time we will get a balancing mess at release.

 

In my opinion Obsidian should develop a good and robust RPG system they can just use/adapt for all their games so they don't have to go through the same process of refining their game mechanism at each release.

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RE: Early Access I believe the stated reason was the same as for PoE1, they didn't want the story to be spoiled.  Since the interactive narrative is a big part of the experience for the game, the beta mostly concentrated on fine tuning mechanics. 

 

BTW similar thread here if you want to read for more thoughts on the subject - https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/98847-why-was-the-game-realeased-when-it-has-so-many-bugs/

 

Thanks, I wondered if spoiling the story was the main reason. 

 

It is true that story is important for such a game but it seems to me that our current situation is very similar to what it would be with early access - but with one critical difference. The official release is now in the past.

Obsidian will not be able to release the game again.

I mean, they will try to draw attention to the game by releasing DLCs but that won't equal the level of attention the games get on official release. Another trick the companies have tried is releasing Enhanced Editions.

But the most important moment in the lifecycle of a game is its official release and I feel it was somewhat squandered.

 

The story can be considered spoiled at this moment but all those people that intend to buy the game will just try to avoid spoiling it for themselves. And those people are many more than those who have bought and played it already. 

 

BTW, I read that other thread and I believe that delaying the game can only be a good option if they already have a list of gamebreaking bugs and they need time to fix them.

But if they have fixed all the gamebreaking bugs that they know about and the release date is nearing, then how can they justify more delays? Simply testing more is hardly the answer because they can never know when to stop. At this point releasing the game without more months of testing is risky but delaying it is also risky.

 

The game is simply never going to be really finished without throwing several thousands of gamers at it and that could have been achieved with the early access option.

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Pre internet (I remember loading Wing Commander games through Floppy disks) a game had to be bug free... now with all the different hardware / software configurations, its expected that a game will have issues, and be patched over time.  That practice has let developers get sloppier and sloppier, to the point that most people accept that a brand new game isn't going to work 100% out of the box.  Good publishers will have a solid game, that might have some odd hardware / software conflicts causing crashes, bad ones can release clunky games, where the issues have nothing to do with conflicts on the odd machine.

 

This is SUCH a case of rose-tinted glasses.  You think games released back in the day were (mostly) bug-free?  Man, go ****ing watch some speedruns and come back and tell me that.  Entire categories, entire GAMES, are built around exploiting bugs and glitches that never got fixed.  Baldur's Gate II, for example, takes less than 30 minutes to speed run because of exploiting bugs and glitches.  Games didn't ship without bugs, you were just ****ed WHEN they shipped with bugs and learned to play around them because patches didn't really exist in the land before broadband.  At best, you waited for the publisher to ship new copies of the game (which may have included updates - but not very often), or you could call or write-in (as in, snailmail) and ask them to send you a floppy or set of floppies.

 

Games are now also WAY more complex than they ever were back when.  If you compare to all the moving pieces and variables and gewgaws in Deadfire to the entire Baldur's Gate trilogy, Deadfire alone MASSIVELY outweighs them - so OF COURSE it's going to have more bugs, that's just how it works.

 

Now, Obsidian has their Bugsidian reputation for a reason, but acting like games back in the day didn't have just as many problems and bugs is a crock of ****.

 

EDIT: On topic, I don't think the narrative is really that important for these games.  I know Obsidian put effort into it, but Pillars didn't really get me interested in the plot past Act 1 (I enjoyed the Hollowborn thing and Gilded Vale), and Deadfire's narrative failed entirely to get me interested.  I don't think the writing is bad, by any means, but I think that the emphasis on both games is the gameplay - as evidenced by the almost total impossibility of talking your way out of or around fights in Pillars and rather few options to talk your way out of fights in Deadfire, and every square inch of the game being crammed full of combat encounters.  I take a pretty cynical view of early access, but if it were used as it's "intended" to be used (to gather feedback that will actually be acted on, and to gather bug reports) I think they'd benefit from it a lot.

Edited by PizzaSHARK

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