“Blindness” Caused Elemental Release “Fail”

By John Walker on September 3rd, 2010 at 2:46 pm.

It looks quite nice from here.

Stardock’s Brad Wardell has given an extraordinary mea culpa in response to the furore surrounding the release of Elemental. Posting on the official Stardock forums, he explains that he doesn’t think people have yet to “fully realize the completeness of Stardock’s fail on Elemental’s launch.” He goes on to say that, “Elemental’s launch is the result of catastrophic poor judgment on my part.” The problem, he says, is not one of having released unfinished or buggy code, but of the development team having lost sight of the game, of “blindness”. It’s a fascinatingly honest comment, and one that must surely affect so many teams after years working on a game. Wardell has gone on to write more on the subject, while still on his holidays, here. In it he explains that there will be no new Stardock game next year – just more Elemental content. He promises more on this matter when he gets back to a proper internet connection.

You can read the original comment below. Don’t forget Kieron’s thoughts on the game, over here.

(I’m up north on vacation typing on an extremely slow connection so bear with me)

I don’t think people yet fully realize the completeness of Stardock’s fail on Elementa’s launch.

I’m going to write more about this but not only did we think v1.05 was ready for everyone but we felt v1.0 was too. That’s the level of disconnect/poor judgment on our part we’re talking about.

If the game had come out in February, it would still have been a disastrous launch because lack of time wasn’t the issue. It was blindness, sheer blindness. We felt the game was finished. And I speak of v1.0, not v1.05. Blindness.

There will be massive consequences for Stardock’s game studio. I’ll be talking more about this when I get back. But the game wasn’t released early. The game was released poorly. Head in the sand syndrome imo. I’ve read the reviews as much as possible given my hideous internet access up here and I agree with them. We just didn’t see what they were talking about. We thought any complaints would be about polish points or something.

The point is, the issue here is far far worse than many of you think it is. I wish it was an issue of the game being released too early. That’s an easy thing for a company to “fix”. Elemental’s launch is the result of catastrophic poor judgment on my part.

EVERY competent software developer knows that the programmer must never be the one deciding whether the program is done. Yet, my love of Elemental broke my self discipline and I began coding on the game itself in vast amounts and lost any sense of objectivity on where the game’s state was. I normally only program the AI on our games so I can keep a level of distance from the game itself to determine whether it’s “Ready”. On Elemental, I was in love with the world and the game and lost my impartiality.

We’ll do better.

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123 Comments »

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  1. MCM says:

    Then you utterly failed to learn anything from this.

    The sad thing, really, is how bad Gal Civ II still is. Even in GC2’s latest patch there are still core gameplay mechanics that make absolutely no fucking sense. Worst offender: the econ sliders.

    Brad Wardell is not a good game designer. End of story.

    • MCM says:

      Also, could RPS one day fix their incredibly fucking shitty comment system? That post was meant as a reply to someone else, but became its own post instead.

    • pipman3000 says:

      no buy they can write an long tearful apology about it then promise to fix it later.

    • Whosafail says:

      I have for > 3 months now replied to posts. None of them were misplaced. I have no idea what people are failing at.

  2. YeahRight says:

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