Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Folly Of Releasing Games Too Early

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

It comes as no surprise that with a growing community comes an increasing call for information on when everyone can get their hands on the Folk Tale demo. Today I'd like to shine some light on our current thinking.

For those of you who don't follow gaming news, there have been a number of high profile cases recently of games including The War Z and Towns where a significant number of vocal customers accused the games of not being ready for release or to have mislead them in some way. In the case of The War Z, Valve pulled it from sale on Steam and for the developers a PR disaster ensued. Towns has fared better and remains on sale, presumably because of their regular updates, supportive community, and smaller volume of complaints.

The outcry of the wider gaming community has echoed reservations we already had; that it would be a mistake to release the Folk Tale demo early, no matter how keen our community is to start playing. To do so would risk the 18 months of hard work all the team have put into development. So instead, once we consider the demo polished and ready, we're going to be contacting members of the gaming press to participate in first impression sessions. It will be these select journalists who confirm whether it's ready or not. If they do not, we'll head back for more development with our tail between our legs, but with our reputation in tact as hopefully no damaging coverage will be published. Of course we hope all our hard work in refining the demo will be well received, and there will be a modest fanfare and maybe even a little dance as a torrent of articles drives potential backers to the Folk Tale Kickstarter campaign that we'd launch shortly thereafter. At least that's how I see it happening in my delusional mind.

So when will the demo be released? That's still the subject of much debate.  We're considering providing a few months of alpha exclusivity to reward backers before commencing the demo closed beta.

Greater Communication
In the meantime, we have increased our regular communications in the build up to demo launch to help keep you up to date on Folk Tale news. The most significant step was the launch of our new monthly email newsletter to everyone who has opted in during sign up for beta. We plan to establish regular features including a summary of news from the previous month, as well as highlighting important questions that we hope to get answered.  At the moment we are asking you the very important question of what gameplay mode should we prioritize in development following completion of the demo. Transparency is as important to us as it is to you.

A few weeks ago we started posting a weekly image from development to www.screenshotsaturday.com via Twitter ( #screenshotsaturday ) which has already generated coverage on indiestatik.  Twitter ( @gamesfoundry #FolkTaleGame ) has the latest snippets of news and thoughts as they happen. The more significant tweets are posted on the facebook page.

If there are other ways you would like us to communicate, please let us know ( our email is at the top of the right panel on this page ).

Beta Signup
For those of you visiting for the first time, applications for closed beta are now open.  Please don't forget to opt in if you wish to receive the email newsletter.