Early Access release: Reactions and Discussions

A couple of days have passed since Satellite Reign has gone live as Early Access on Steam. Since then, interest in the game has spiked. A number of “first impression” articles have gone up around the web, twitter users are twittering their excitement, and the new discussion forum on Steam has seen a lot of action.

For example, @CThiefUK writes:

OK, @SatelliteReign definitely nails the feel of Syndicate so far. Well done chaps! […]

@JKashaar has this to say:

@SatelliteReign Congrats on the release! Finally played for the first time, loving it already! Very promising game :) Keep up the good work!

A consistent theme in the first reactions appear to be that this game looks great and has a lot of potential, but that it is indeed still very Early Access at this time. For example, the piece on Gamestar (German) asks whether the game is already worth buying. Their answer (my translation):

No, because too much of the gameplay elements are still missing. The controls and the interface are not yet mature, furthermore there are many bugs and significant performance problems. […] Therefore we recommend: Wait a few months and see how the project develops.

The reviewer even mentions it may be ”tight“ for the developers to release in the first half of 2015. However, it should be added that the reviewer has likely not seen all that the game has to offer at this point, as he reports that he was unable to advance after the first mission (rescuing an agent). That may have been because of a bug, or he may have simply not found out how to do it. It is easy to guess that he may have come to a different conclusion had he seen the full content of this build.

Three other news sites that have covered the release are VG24/7, Eurogamer.net, and PCGamer. You can read their pieces here, here and here. (As always, these are also added to our press coverage page).

The discussions whether it made sense to go to Steam already with the game in its current state has also been ongoing on the Steam forum. In one of the threads, a 5LS developer (I am guessing it is Brent) has given a detailed reasoning for their decision to release as Early Access at this point. The post is given in full below, as it may clear up some questions that people have at this point:

WetWired [developer] 16 Dec @ 10:37am

Early Access provides us with 3 major benefits as developers.

1) It brings in extra funds, which contray to your concerns aren’t being spent on money hats and yachts. It all goes straight back into the game to make it better, this means keeping some of our contractors around a bit longer to work on the game, none of it goes in our own pockets.

2) It allows us to extend our tester base with literally thousands of combinations different computer specs and setups, something we just can’t do on our own. The amount of bugs reports we’ve recieved over the past few days has been amazing and we’re squashing some of them already.

As an aside I’d also like to thank the people who have submitted bugs, I’m surprised at the level of detail and explaination in some of them in how to reproduce the bugs, I’ve seen less professional bug reports from people who’ve been game testers for years.

3) User feedback has been incredible and much needed, some of the feedback is based around things we’ve yet to implement but there’s been some great new ideas put forward by the community in just the few days it’s been out publically.

As a developer we can often get used to certain features or the way the game operates just because we’ve been living with it every day for the past year and a half. So it’s good to get fresh takes from people. Watching some of the youtube video play throughs has been eye opening, We here in the office will play the way we intended it to play, whereas the end user doesn’t have the bias of how it’s meant to play, they just play it the way it’s been laid out in front of them, doing things we never intended or thought could happen (this includes some of emergent gameplay and inventive strategies we hoped would come from the way we’ve designed the game). So when we see someone new playing it, it allows us to see the gaps we need to fill and flesh it out to produce the experience we have in mind.

Rest assured we have enough money to finish the game and won’t be abandoning ship halfway through development, we formed this studio to make THIS game and unlike other studios you mentioned our attention and budget isn’t fragmented between multiple projects. It’s in our best interest to make this, our debut title as a new studio as best as it can be and earn the trust of our players.

Other discussions which are ongoing at the moment are for example an achievement ideas thread, or a combat feel PROs/CONs thread, to name just a few.

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