For the last four days the public had its very first chance to play the game I’ve been working. The free multiplayer beta was designed to be a small taste of what players could expect when the game hits the digital and physical shelves in February.
Whenever the public first plays a game you’ve been involved with, it’s difficult to know what to expect. I maybe biased but I think the game is pretty good. I’ve made a few games in my career now and this one certainly is up there in terms of quality. It’s not perfect but I’m proud to have been part of the development.
As people started playing the game though, I was initially a little bit surprised to see some negativity from parts of the Internet. Based on just a few hours of playing and a fraction of what the full game offered, some people were already categorically declaring the first game was better in all respects. I’m not sure who reads the first chapter of a book and then decides the previous book was better, including the end.
Other people complained that we added too many new characters. I’ve rarely witnessed players complaining that a team added too much content for a sequel. From that complaint, I can only surmise they wanted us to actually provide them with less content. Really?
Some people said that they were confused by the new maps and they didn’t know where to go and where the best paths were to objectives. They said they preferred the first game where they knew exactly where things were in the old maps. I wasn’t sure if I was even reading this correctly. We gave them something completely new and they were complaining they’d never seen it before and thus the first game was better because they already knew those maps.
I could have easily become disappointed by all of this but then I reminded myself of all the lessons I learned from the previous games I worked on. People who write comments on the Internet are more motivated to do so if they have a complaint. If something works or people enjoy something, they are more apt to just keep enjoy that something instead of putting it down and getting on the Internet and telling the world how great it is. I’d like to think that for every one negative comment we got, ten people were busy having fun.
I then saw some of the more useful, constructive criticism that other people began to write. This is the stuff that is like gold for us developers. I saw comments on character balancing, tweaks for the HUD, and suggestions for the maps. These are actual actionable type items and stuff the whole team appreciates.
The real reviews will come in February. I can’t wait for those!