Hands in Jar

Too Many Hands in the Cookie Jar

It’s nothing new, to develop a game with kickstarter, or early access. A process where you purchase a game early in development that promises a complete and finished game on the word of a company you often never heard of. But what happens when they start developing two, three or more games at once? Does it hurt development? Its it right?

While the Developers will swear that “Development will continue on <insert game here> don’t worry” in reality development slows on all fronts of development. Even with multiple departments working separately on the games, creative development is usually centralized to one department or person, and thus ends up being juggled creatively all at once.  Indie developers usually have less than 10 employees at any given time, and some even less than that.
A good example of multi-development is Space Engineers, who announced the launch of Medieval Engineers (early access) before the original game was even any where near complete (and still not complete to this day). While the developers took a lot of flak for the announcement, they calmed the storm by claiming that development would not be slowed, hindered or otherwise impacted by the new game. However, updates to the original released game began to noticeably slow (not stop mind you), but obviously development had indeed been impacted by the new launch of another developing game.
Another example of this is StoneHearth (not Hearthstone) . Working feverishly for years on StoneHearth, Radiant Entertainment made great progress. Major updates were monthly, with weekly progress reports as well as several bug fixes during the month. Making it to steam Early Access, the games development suddenly began to slow just over a year ago, and weekly updates started to be replaced with (more often than not) Sorry no update this week, or Here’s an update, sorry we didn’t have time to make a video with it like we usually do, or sometimes no word at all.

I began to wonder why the sudden bottleneck in development, why so short on time? Had they reached a point where they could not figure out how to develop the game properly are they getting ready to pull a Code}{atch (Star Forge) and call it complete when it is no where near ready for release? Then one day while searching for the latest updates from Radiant Entertainment, I see a new video for Rising Thunder, a new game they are working on. Dated… almost a year ago. Now it all started to make sense. Developers are taking our money and using it to fund other games., games that the support money was NEVER intended on supporting. Early Access is intended to give developers money to FINISH THE GAME. Spreading themselves too thin, developers are experiencing a case of “too many hands in the cookie jar”.  Everyone thinks it’s the most efficient way to get the cookies (all at once), but in reality the cookie jar get jammed full of hands all fighting for the same thing.

UPDATE: Rising Thunder (a game obviously no one wanted to begin with) was canceled and guess what? Updates started to become more frequent again.
Developers should stop trying to work on several projects at once, and devote its full attention to the project that has been backed by devoted gamers on nothing more than promises until COMPLETION. Starting development of other titles with the backing money from another game when your original title is not yet complete is a slap in the face of the people that put them in the place they are in right now, by backing your original concept.

I for one am tired of these indie Developers using my early access money which was intended to support a game I was interested in (and supposed to be used for), to develop a game I did not intend for that money to support. Better yet, I am tired of Early Access, kickstarter, and indiegogo games all together. I’d like my complete gaming experience please. I think we as gamers need to stop buying into pipe dreams and wait for the dream to come to reality before we spend our hard earned money on them. Maybe then we can get more than a pile of rubbish on the steam storefront?

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