In months following the rushed release of the game Fatshark had a difficult time keeping it afloat. Player retention was lower than anticipated given the sales figures, yet nonetheless the team decided to freeze their progress on finishing the game and focus on an Xbox port. Said port brought more sales but also features bugs unique to it. As rumors of a potentiall PS4 port arise, the team could potentially end with three separate versions of the game sporting different issues. This would divide their bugfixing and development efforts three ways, while they struggled with fixing the product on just one platform.
Would this happen, there’s a risk of the game becoming financially unviable. If the playerbase is irked and you can’t fix the game on time, you can’t add things like cosmetic microtransactions either, as they will only serve to stain your reputation further for negligible profits. Similarly, attempts at redeveloping the game’s placeholder features and introducing the missing aspects of the original promise on multiple machines will take a toll on their ability to develop DLC’s. This in turn means either a horrendous release schedule or meaningless amounts of content like the already unpopular Bogenhafen DLC.
What I’m saying is…Fatshark has literally no incentive to further develop the game after porting it to new systems, like the PS4 and maybe Switch if they feel fancy. To maintain all the versions of the game and actually make it leave the undisclosed state of early access they would have to grow their team considerably and pour a lot of their resources into the project, while the potential new revenue out of Vermintide 2 would be minimal. Likely, further development of the game will have them running at a loss and needlessly bleeding the money they already reaped.
But, assuming their artistic dedication to the craft and moral obligation do indeed inspire them to work further on the game like they did with Vermintide 1, and in months or a year’s time we arrive at what we expected the game to be at launch or even beyond that, what do we, as a community, do?
It’s similar to the problem No Man’s Sky faced. If a game releases in a negative state, at a -5, and then after considerable amount of time is brought up to 0, is the developer deserving of praise, and if so, what should be praised about them. The dedication to finish the work they rushed in the first place? The integrity to deliver on a product which was in a dubious state for months? Do you praise the apology, or do you shrug at the developer for it was their own fault?
The problem here is that Fatshark has no incentive to finish the game. Not a monetary one, and not necessarily a PR one. Can they even still appease us, or is it indeed much more effective decision for them to just run with the treasure and lie low until their bad reputation is forgotten about enough as to not affect their future sales? Three months of silence and a half-assed apology letter did wonders for publishing companies long before Fatshark decided to pull a Vermintide 1 twice. What will you, and what should you do, would the game actually get where it was supposed to be?
© Post "The Issue of a Negative development stage" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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