I haven’t done a 2020 predictions post. I should, and most likely will ‘soon’. Today I want to talk about two games that have been a feature of said prediction posts for… 7 years? Crowfall and Camelot Unchained. Two Kickstarter MMOs that I backed, and that all these years later still aren’t released. Hell, they still aren’t CLOSE to being released.
TAGN has his latest post about getting a refund for CU, now that Mark Jacobs and company are working on a second game alongside the forever-delayed CU. I’d also ask for a refund, but I don’t care that much, and the principle of it isn’t that important to me now. Kickstarter is always a gamble. Sometimes you win (Pillars of Eternity), sometimes you lose (CU, Crowfall).
I’m at the point with both games that I just don’t care. I don’t care how they are developing, I don’t care about the details of what is happening, and I have pretty much given up on the idea that either game is going to be something I play. When they go into formal beta I might try them, but perhaps only if word-of-mouth is positive. Or I have nothing better to do. I certainly am no longer hyped for either, or have any hope of either game being something exciting or great like I once did.
Games that are in development this long typically don’t pan out, and the delays and broken promises are the result of ideas failing or things not coming together. Scope creep is no doubt a factor, but there is zero chance that is the only culprit here, or even the main one. Simply put if either Crowfall or CU had a really great core right now that was fun and functional, they would be out. They would be out and charging money and telling people that the other stuff is coming, and if that core was solid and fun people would be playing and happily looking forward to the future. But neither game has that after 7 years or whatever; the fun core of the game is missing, and that’s why the delays happen and things keep changing. And now after 7 years, do you really thing suddenly things will turn around and it all comes together into a game that is awesome? Again, not likely.
I can easily compare the story of these two games to other early access titles I’ve experienced. Some games, like Battle Brothers, release with only a complete core, but that core is awesome so it works. Then over time they expand and become even better, but it’s all built on that initial successful core. Other games, like say Castle Story, start with a core that feels off and doesn’t click, and even though more ‘stuff’ is added and tweaks are made, the game never comes together to be great, in large part because that ‘meh’ core is what everything else is built on.
I’ve played some Crowfall, and I’ve seen some CU. For both, the core is very much ‘meh’ right now, and odds aren’t great that things will truly turn around.
I have sooo much pessimism here but your outlook is the right one. As long as you went in with the expectations that most of these fail, or at least fail to deliver on expectations, it can still be a fun thing to watch. Like a car crash! In slow motion… with stretch goals.