SOTS 2 A “Turnip” Admits Dev, Vows To Fix

By Adam Smith on October 31st, 2011 at 12:55 pm.

The Kerberos forums, yesterday

It’s hard to find the right word to describe the launch of Sword of the Stars 2. Troubled? Early? Turnippy? Kerberos CEO Martin Cirulis says the game will advance from “a turnip to a jewel”, which does unfortunately involve calling it a “turnip” in its current state. Both Kerberos and Paradox have released statements apologising for the state of the game, with the developers going into more detail about their hopes for the future. The original built up a strong fanbase in large part because Kerberos improved it over time, but with the sequel initial reports of an accidentally released beta and then an update with serious problems of its own have caused, let us say, a furore.

The comments I’ve read elsewhere split between frustration that there was no suggestion that development had been so problematic right up until release and a belief that all will be well at some point in the future. It’s amazing how many people are willing to wait, fully believing that the game will eventually be the one they thought they were purchasing in the first place. I don’t actually fall into either camp, having not spent enough time with the first game to be a true devotee. However, reports of missing tutorials and tooltips, a lack of some basic functionality, and features missing from the game that are described in the manual don’t inspire much confidence at the moment.

It’s also worth noting that many of these issues are very similar to events immediately following the launch of the original Sword of the Stars. I can think of two ways to look at that: the previous game improved massively so this one should as well, or why were the right lessons not learned in the intervening years? Certainly, the stories (in comments) of forum-based hostility suggest what could be described as “trenchant stubbornness in the face of criticism”.

Martin describes the current build as containing “a pile of blown apart code and unstable features” and promises that all effort will initially go toward fixing stability. His final word is on refunds and other forms of recompense.

“If you demand a refund then I completely understand and you can be assured, the cost of that will make it directly to us. We will feel your “voting with your dollars”, you can be sure about that and we accept that as fair play. On the other hand, if a free copy of the orginal SotS will help tide you over while we get this game shined from turnip to jewel, then please write to “contact@kerberos-productions.com” and we will set you up. If nothing else, if you are not familiar with how we support our products, you can play it and then ask the old-timers how much it changed over the years and that may reassure you.”

Personally, I often purchase pre-releases to support development and encourage others to do the same, but in those cases developers are usually careful to ensure the customer knows what they’re buying, in terms of the current product and the long-term intent. Here, as far as I can tell, that hasn’t happened until after the release. Do I think Kerberos will do their best to deliver the game they have always intended to? Yes I do and I imagine they feel fairly awful right now. But this launch means even people who loved the original would be advised to hold back for a while, unless they’re entirely happy seeing their purchase as funding further development.

We’ll have detailed thoughts on the game in the near future, with review code arriving at the end of the week. Hopefully, that means it’ll be in a happier state for everyone soon enough, but it would have been remiss not to comment on the launch itself. It’s just a shame it has to be like this. I’m reminded of excitedly reading the Master of Orion 3 manual on the train back home from Game, ready to immerse myself in strategic bliss. At least updates do have the potential to arrive thick and fast in this digital age.

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110 Comments »

  1. Kelron says:

    It’s a shame that so many interesting games get released in a state that scare off potential fans. Stalker, RO2, New Vegas, Arma 2, NWN2 and plenty of others. Some of them go on to become quality games with a strong following, but many have their image irreparably damaged.

    • Kdansky says:

      And often, piracy runs quite rampant on these titles, because people don’t feel obliged to pay for a flawed product, and then they never get around paying later. Sad, but true.

    • PodX140 says:

      Agreed a thousand percent. What makes it even worse is that pirates have less access to updates then your regular customer, so what may become an excellent product in the end stays a garbage product in piracy rings, and the developer is treated as such.

    • Jabberslops says:

      In my opinion, Fallout New Vegas is more fun and generally a better game than Fallout 3 despite the bugs that made it constantly crash as i played it. I logged over 100 hours in a week. It’s too bad it doesn’t have online coop.

      Seriously people, if you liked or loved Fallout 3, you should buy New Vegas.

    • Prime says:

      This is an absolute bloody shame – it’s tragically true that so many games nowadays are being released in appalling condition, one of the main reasons I don’t pre-order or Day One purchase anything these days although I very nearly did for this title. I understand from reading some of the threads around the web that it was either a ‘release now or go under’ decision, which is alarming, and doesn’t bode well for the future.

      More developer transparency would have been nice; this way it feels as if they kept quiet to avoid scaring off customers.

      Also: I fear for the future of Northstar, the game they should have been making instead of this one.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Why on earth do developers release games in a broken state? Surely they would suffer less damage to their reputations and attract less ire if they took an extra month or two to make their games better.

      That way they get a good release and all the pleasant PR that entails and their staff doesn’t have to deal with abusive nerd rage on the forums or make embarrassing apologies.

      As for ignoring your beta testers; what on earth are the testers for if you just ignore them!?

      Madness.

      Edit: I know they probably ran out of money but, you know, still irritated.

  2. Belsameth says:

    Paradox strikes again…
    They do make release amazing games, but they all take quite a bit to mature after starting out… rather buggy (there! I restrained myself, I wanted to say turd…).

    See Magicka, for instance, which is amazing now as well after a more then dramatic launch.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Magicka was lucky in comparison. I’ve played the HoI 3 expansion For The Motherland, which is really goddamn awesome, but in the first release was a goddamn mess of game-breaking bugs. One example: one of the prominent features was the theatre control window, in which you could give directives to the theatre AI. Say, I’m USSR, I want the Leningrad front to hold and the Ukraine one to counterattack, set that and the AI would manage operations including building requests and deployment. Sounds awesome, right? Too bad it CTD’d 3 out of 4 times when you clicked on the Theatre tab.

      Must add, Paradox’s awesome in after-release support. They usually patch the hell out of anything they release and listening to the users, so I don’t mind the actual beta-testing. And that’s why I’ll get SotS 2 as soon as it gets a price drop, being a miser XD

    • The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

      Magicka still has a lot of problems. It crashes fairly often, which is made all the more frustrating by a lack of ability to save mid-level.

    • Myros says:

      Exactly right.

      While the SotS devs dont have a great track record for releasing ‘finished’ products (see fort zombie and as was mentioned the original SotS) they have now paired up with a publisher who has an awful history of releasing games before they’re ready also.

      Not a combination to inspire the clicking of pre-order buttons. A lesson I learned previously with Paradox titles and looks like it continues to serve me well.

      Thanks to those who continue to pay-to-beta for me. It’s a little sad that you have to pay premium prices while I will reap the rewards later at half the price.

    • theleif says:

      To be fair. Paradox have improved a lot. Both Victoria 2 and Sengoku was released in a very good state. The state of FTM at release was ridicoulus though, even if they released a patch in a week or so to fix the theatre CTD.
      I’m probably stupid, but i’ll keep preordering anyway, because they are my favourite game company/publisher by far. But i really wonder why they don’t start a pre order to get the beta sceme. That way they would get money influx during the development and more playtesters.
      To be fair, that didn’t help Elemental at all, so… But still, i think it would be worth a try.

      Edit: what abremms says.

  3. bitbot says:

    What happened to delaying games that aren’t ready for release?

    • abremms says:

      I get the impression from reading various posts and blogs that it came down to Kerberos simply not being able to afford to delay the game further, they had to release it, kill it, or close up shop.

      now, what they SHOULD have done is given pre-release access to an unfinished build (you know, the one they released) in exchange to pre-orders like the Minecraft model. Fans of the series would have happily supported them, we’de be in the same situation we are now except minus 80% impotent internet rage.

      that said, there is a brilliant game there under the surface and I really hope they get the time and resources they need to polish the turnip. (btw, “polish the turnip” sounds dirty.)

    • Biscuitry says:

      abremms is right, in my opinion. It’s just a shame we can’t go back a month or two and tell them that when it would have helped.

      On the plus side, this whole thing has got me playing the original Sword of the Stars again.

  4. ZephyrSB says:

    Almost makes me glad I don’t have Win7 yet. I pre-ordered without hesitation anyway, as I’ve always been a huge fan of SotS, knowing full well actually playing it might be some time off. Seems like those who actually have the OS to play it are in the same position too.

  5. AmateurScience says:

    Is it me or is this something that’s happening with increasing frequency?

    EDIT: by ‘something’ I mean releasing a half-baked ‘turnip’ and iterating on it for the next decade. Or worse just assuming that your fan base will fix everything for you (I’m looking at you Bethesda).

    • Baines says:

      I’d say it has been common practice for perhaps the last decade. Publishers and developers ship broken and/or unfinished games and customers decide to stick through hoping that patches will eventually put the game into a form similar to what was originally advertised. Games seem to routinely ship with broken or even absent features, and plenty of crashing to go around as well.

      The main difference here is that the CEO admits their code is shot, instead of just staying silent or passing the buck.

    • alinos says:

      Yup the Internet has spoiled them no longer do they need to ensure a serviceable game on release because they have an avenue that allows them to easily make patches available for large sects of the population.

      What’s more absurd though is the fact that most of these games have half the content we used to get because apparently 90% of gamers don’t finish their games so why bother.

  6. Devilturnip says:

    I am insulted.

  7. Vinraith says:

    There’s no excuse for its release state (though Kerberos’ financial state seems to get most of the blame, there) but I will say that underneath the rough edges there’s a positively brilliant, genuinely unique, and absolutely gorgeous 4x game. By all means wait a bit, but don’t write this one off.

    • Vinraith says:

      You’re misreading me. The bugs and missing features, right now, keep it from being fun to play. The design, were it complete and free of the more problematic bugs, clearly would be fun to play. Clear?

      The short version is that this is not Elemental, where the problem was the design itself. This is a good game that’s not finished, give it a month or two and it’ll be well worth a look.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Did elemental ever get good? I bought it and after a week or two, uninstalled and just haven’t been able to bring myself to reinstall it again.

    • kibertoad says:

      2Shgengji: Elemental itself – no, it’s still bland and boring.

      “Fallen Enchantress” reimagination by the creator of Fall From Heaven (which should be coming somewhere around the December, and if you bought Elemental during the first year, you get it for free), however, is shaping up to finally achieve greatness we all expected from Elemental.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Ohhh, that’s good to know, thanks!

  8. Dowson says:

    I was actually really contemplating buying this, but held off because I was worried over the fact no real footage or news has actually been published for a long time.

    Looked like a good call, I’m sure I’ll pick it up in a year or so when its fixed and up to scratch, it would have been better for them to admit it wasn’t fully up to scratch beforehand.

    • Hanban says:

      I advise that you do. It is at the moment a chore to play due to crashing and unhelpflul UI and missing features. But I personally think it has greater potential than the first game.

  9. nrvsNRG says:

    how does this happen? I’m baffled.

    edit.
    i probably sound stupid saying this ( i havent played any SotS), but Lords of Winter? This is set in space right?

    • Dowson says:

      Its space winter.

      Like normal Winter, but Spacy.

    • abremms says:

      i hate to say “its in the lore” but well… its in the lore. apparently when the Suul’Ka come into thier full powers as giant space whales, i repeat: GIANT SPACE WHALES, there is a lot of ice and cold and icie cold psycic bidnis going on.

      or something.

      GIANT SPACE WHALES!

    • Plopsworth says:

      Space whales you say? (Not a spam or an adbot. Just a massive cyborg-whale-spaceship-thingie from Jodorowsky’s completely manic Metabarons series)

    • Caleb367 says:

      Space winter is coming.

    • dontnormally says:

      Dear Paradox:

      The Incal / Metabaron / Jodorowsky-Moebius universe needs a game from you.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      this sort of game appeals to me.space whales are very cool.

    • Arathain says:

      If you’d like a little more detail in the (actually really good) lore, there is a species of sentient psychic whales called the Liir. Normally they’re empathic and pacifist and quite lovely, but once in a great while one of the enormous, powerful elder Liir decides he actually just doesn’t want to die. This is a radical sort of decision and one which requires (or follows from?) a profound mental shift- the elder stops giving a shit about anyone but themselves.

      They then enslave the entire Liir world with mental powers and force-march them through assorted technological revolutions so that they can have built an enormous space-suit, which they climb into and teleport themselves into space to be a colossal god-like sociopath space whale. The combination of the icy birth of their new space-bound form, caused by the ocean that teleports along with freezing and shattering, and their cold, uncaring minds led the Liir to call them Suul-Ka, which means Winter-Mind.

      Fun stuff.

  10. Maxheadroom says:

    Will anyone be taking the free SotS1 offer? You’d think fans who’d preordered will already have it and newcomers would have been scared off by the claims of it being a turnip. (and it turns up in every other Steam salf for just a couple of quid anyway doesnt it?)

    Still, the gesture is nice i suppose

  11. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Hopefully the game and it’s following will recover fast.

    Go Paradox!

    (And Stardock!)

    • Commisar says:

      me too, i got it on release day, and although it is bugged to hell, I still enjoy it. Also, Kerberos and paradox are know for great post release support, So in a few weeks, it should be quite playable, as they have promised nearly constant patches for a month or 2.

  12. Hypatian says:

    I won’t be demanding a refund in this case. However, I hope Paradox is satisfied that the result of these shenanigans is “it will be years before I even consider pre-ordering a Paradox title again”.

  13. ChainsawHands says:

    It seems, according to the writer, that they had to release it now because they needed the money. “The release … had to happen, and because of it the game and the team now have a chance to live that they would not otherwise have had.”

  14. Quine says:

    While I’m getting crashes on every combat, the actual game potential is definitely there, and what I’ve seen of the graphics looks lovely. I can’t say I’m convinced by their account of launch builds mysteriously going wonky, but I’ll see if the game realises its potential in the near future.

  15. Metonymy says:

    Remember how terrible Moo3 was? It can’t possibly be as bad as that one was. And still is.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Damn, if the cheap-assed Infogrames just released the code and let the fandom work at it, we would have THE space strategy game of the freaking century, man. As unfinished, unpolished, un-AIed as it was, MoO3 had the potential of a Dwarf Fortress in space, and yes, I’m an avid Aurora player.

    • jRides says:

      Aurora has ruined every other 4x for me, they all seem so lightweight and lacking after playing Aurora. If you like 4x games, and are willing to learn a complex and non-idiot proofed game then you should really give it a go.

    • Commisar says:

      it could also be as bad as Elemental: War of magic, “shudder’ but it isn’t, and there is a great 4X game hiding under the bugs :)

    • LintMan says:

      @Commisar – If you think Elemental was the worst, I’m guessing you didn’t play MOO3 at release.

      IMHO, Elemental was a buggy unpolished mess at release, with the worse sin of also being rather boring. But it still pales in comparison to the awfulness of MOO3.

  16. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    How does this game compare to SoaSE or Galactic Civilisations? It certainly looks a lot more stunning than either. Is it turn-based or real time?

    EDIT: Also is it worth playing the first one beforehand?

    • abremms says:

      It is turn based in the grand strategy, but real time in combat. sorta like total war in space. I’m not sure it can be compared to either SoaSE or GC. it is quite different.

      As far as playing the first game, ABSOLUTELY YES. it isn’t a visualy pretty game, but it is a very good game once you get through the learning curve. I do recomend turning off random encounters when you are learning though, they can be extremely difficuly and frustrating. I have rage-quit many times after losing my capital to one alien invasion or another. don’t leave them off forever though, some of them are quite good.

    • jonfitt says:

      I can only speak for SotS1, but on a 4X style-continuum I’d put it between GalCiv and SoaSE. It is less of an RTS than SoaSE, but less of a Civ-like than GalCiv. But that’s not to say it’s worse than either.
      .
      Like GalCiv, you have a tech tree and moderately complex economy to manage, but it’s all centred around building a fleet; war and conquering are the goals. The strategic map is turn based, but not done on squares, the map looks more like SoaSE.
      Unlike SoaSE, you’re not limited to space lanes (unless you’re Humans), each species moves through space differently. For example the Hive drag a gate to their destination at very slow speed, but then they have a teleporter they can use when it gets there.
      .
      Battles play like Homeworld-lite, and are satisfying. Better than both others they actually model all the parts of the ships and they can be directly targeted and destroyed. Even the shots are simulated, there’s no to-hit percentage, if a shot hits, it hits. If someone wanders in front, it hits them!
      .
      If you’re a fan of the genre you owe it to yourself to play SotS, it’s not just another throw-away wannabe.

    • The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

      Ooh! Sounds really good!

      EDIT: Just got it in the sale on Steam in time. Seems kind of ironic that this debacle has resulted in me buying a game from them.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      I will also say that it has a tonne more strategic depth than either of those stardock offerings, which I found rather shallow number crunching exercises and rather unimaginitive under the shiney facade.

      Whilst in SoTS, planetary development is still a little basic but tech trees and fleet composition and the actual real time combat have so many possibilities it’s mind boggling, none of that boring “every tech is the last tech +10%” ethos. Not to mention races that have strong enough differences to actually matter, though none of them play like a different game or anything.

    • Arathain says:

      Something else SotS does really well that doesn’t get mentioned a lot: the strategic AI is actually really solid, and doesn’t seem to cheat on medium difficulty. It may not expand quite as quickly as it ought in the beginning, but it does a fine job of assembling fleets, attacking and defending. It’s particularly good at responding to the ship designs you use and researching and building specific counters

      The tactical AI is not quite so hot, unfortunately, but it does the job.

  17. jonfitt says:

    I bought SotS1 Complete in a cheapo sale recently, and I was most pleasantly surprised. It has several features in it that I’ve never seen before in a 4X+RTS such as
    - Unique interstellar drive mechanics
    - Somewhat randomised tech tree (certain non-key techs might not be available in any one game, also different races have different techs available).
    .
    I’m sorry to hear that SotS2 is not ready, but I have plenty of time to wait as I’m going to be playing 1 for some time.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I got SotS1 before any expansions but, from what I can tell, after they’d actually finished patching it up to a decent state. It was a little barebones feature wise but still pretty fun. The expansions turned it into a fantastically entertaining game, however, which is what you’re playing now. Diplomacy, trade, more techs, orbital stations and more were added by those, as well as two new races and a slew of random encounters designed to ruin your day.

      As for SotS2, it’s a horrific mess right now. It’s not even the bugs that get to me, it’s that it’s plain unfinished, unintuitive and with absolute zero guidance when it comes to playing it. SotS1 didn’t have much of an in game tutorial, but basic commands were readily apparent and tooltips helped you figure the rest out. As Vinraith says there may be a good game buried in that mess, but it’s going to take a tonne of work before it becomes one. Releasing it in its current state and not bothering to inform people that they’re going to be beta testers is a pretty shady move on Kerberos’ part. A lot of the anger directed towards them would be mitigated if they confessed before it came out, rather than leaving people to (quite rightly) work themselves up over being sold a £30 pile of crap.

    • Biscuitry says:

      Actually, I don’t think it’s the first game to do differing interstellar drive mechanics. I actually stumbled across the original SotS while trying to find another game I’d heard about with mechanics like that. (It had such things as a race with a stardrive that is faster on smaller ships, and with no FTL radio they passed orders around using tiny, super-fast messenger ships.) Never did find out which game that was, but SotS is everything I wanted anyway, interface niggles aside.

  18. Biscuitry says:

    The lesson here is to never, ever preorder anything. I have been burned without fail every time I have.

    To put things in perspective, the last game I preordered was Spore, a mistake I swore I wouldn’t repeat. Or rather, swore about a lot and decided not to repeat. But given how much I loved the original Sword of the Stars, I figured one exception couldn’t hurt, could it?

    Hah.

    • alundra says:

      I would go farther and say that not only do not pre order but wait a week after the release until the first bugs are ironed out, or in contemporary languages, wait until the game is patched out of beta stage.

    • diamondmx says:

      Yeah, I’d agree – at least as a PC gamer who has no ability to return even the most clearly broken products (a blatant violation of our consumer rights which we are effectively powerless to stop) – it is just plain foolish to preorder things nowadays. Wait at least a couple of days to a week, to let the public and the press get a hold of a real copy of the game, and find out what the real screwups were before you commit to a purchase.

      Conversely, the indie ‘buy-to-get-beta’ model is at least palatable as many of these companies are using the funding to keep afloat while they try to put out a game that’s worth buying. Although I would say that they would be better having a ‘deposit + rest of payment on release’ system than the ‘full payment to start with’ system they have now. It would allow them to fairly price their games both for the pre-release version and the full version.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Although I would say that they would be better having a ‘deposit + rest of payment on release’ system than the ‘full payment to start with’ system they have now.

      Too complicated, both to set up with a payment processor (nevermind the additional fees) and to explain to customers. Besides, the “full payment” with most such games isn’t particularly large. And the idea that you’re getting it at a discount for buying early on is a big part of the attraction.

      I still like the Mount&Blade model best: start selling an early beta for a low price, and crank it up gradually as you make new beta releases until you’re at full price for the 1.0.

      What’s absolutely crazy is asking for payment before you’ve released anything. Don’t do that. Make a playable alpha at least.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      That’s solid advice, that I heed myself after a pre-ordering a couple of root vegetables in the past. Which is why I hate the pre-order bonus shenanigans so much.

      I don’t mind losing the pre-order discount just to know the game’s actually solid before I buy, but if it does turn out to be a game I want not getting that tiny sliver of extra content somehow irks me.

  19. Megadyptes says:

    Heh, knowingly released a game that is broken as hell and then write an apology a few days later when everyone calls them out on it. Good job!

  20. milonguero says:

    Right before the release, Cirulis said this about the state of the game:

    “Do I consider it perfect? Gods knows I wish but we all know that the reality of big games is that there is always something”

    This what he said after the release:

    “Thanks to various factors we are now sitting on top of a pile of blown apart code and unstable features.”

    and later:

    “I know this does not make it all right but at least it should make it clear that no one wants to use you as a beta tester nor was that ever the intent.”

  21. cairbre says:

    I do want to try this game because it sounds like something I would like but I don’t mind waiting for them to patch it up I have another game to play that was released this week.

  22. Colton says:

    Which eventually begs the question: There doesn’t seem to be anything to stop Devs from releasing half-finished games anymore. They fully admitted that they were forced to release a half-finished product or go broke; and in turn hope the modding community would help out (for free) to finish the game.

    I’m 1/3′rd the way through Dead Island now and it ONLY works for me now that it’s been modded by dedicated gamers who bought it for $59.00 and then fixed it themselves so their money wasn’t wasted.

    • Barman1942 says:

      They didn’t say anything about relying on the modding community to fix the game, they said they’d churn out 2-3 patches a week.

    • wu wei says:

      Which eventually begs the question: There doesn’t seem to be anything to stop Devs from releasing half-finished games anymore.

      Anymore? This shit has been happening for as long as there’s been a video game industry, unfortunately.

  23. undead dolphin hacker says:

    Kerberos going under could only help the gaming industry at large.

    It’s clear they have some great ideas trapped under a terrible team. If the whole turd diorama that is that company fell apart the shining gems under it might get a chance to shine in an established devhouse (or start a brand new one hopefully free of whatever company ethos has kept inept project leads/programmers/testers/UI designers around since the start of the company).

  24. Judas says:

    It’s a sad excuse to release a game in this condition. To NOT know it was shit is a LIE. To make excuses later is FAIL.

    Pass on this developer.

  25. Heliocentric says:

    Turnip is tasty eating, I’m buying this the very day I buy win 7, but I’ll admit after this debacle I’m not in such a hurry.

  26. Heliocentric says:

    Hi early adopters, how’s them grapes?

  27. SoggySilicon says:

    I pre-ordered this trash.

    Saturday, in response to CEO Paradox offer for refunds, I opened a trouble ticket.

    Opened a trouble ticket with Steam, whom BTW, has yet to offer CD-Keys for this beta build, as they seemed to have been in a knee jerk fit to take my money, who could be bothered with that…

    No refund, no email, no nothing… Come Wednesday, I reverse CC/DC charges. It is THAT bad, morons who want to sit around and make believe “patches” are coming, are delusional. This thing is alpha/beta broken last minute patched garbage soup, half the game is “allegedly” on the floor, and at least a third of the “key” programmers have left the company.

    This is fraud, everyone knows it.

    *So as an edit…

    CD-Keys are in, a step in the right direction.

    In response:

    I am aware of what will happen to my steam account. It is unfortunate but I am not obliged to have an account held hostage with steam or any other “Store”. Steam will be on the hook for a “product” they sold, to me, and have that loss if I reverse charges.

    They can my account, it is certainly within their right to do so.

    As I said, I think 72 hours is plenty enough time to at-the-least get back to me on the issue. Certainly there is room enough to assume that “they” know about the issues, have read my CS-Ticket, and are sitting the fence on it. Paradox is the same way.

    As far as being a douche for saying it is Fraud?

    Your entitled to that opinion and you are correct, however, “blown apart code”, and “20 hour shifts covering for people that have left”, “making the tough decision”, is simply that.

    Knowing it was broken, patching a beta build on release day, only to sell it on anyway to meet his own deadline. What else is it?

    I could’a should’a all day long.

    I would not know about the patches, I dumped the thing Saturday night and spent Sunday cleaning up the mess the “patches” and “caches” made of my HDD. To my knowledge it is, of course, still as broken as ever.

    Even with Paradox stating “refunds to those who want em”, the developer stating “refunds hurt us”, there has been no refund issued.

    Now I get waiting it out, truly I do. At-least in theory.

    However, this thing is beyond saving without some serious months of work. I am not interested in signing up for that, and it is plainly obvious, that the decision to go that direction, was made without my fore’knowledge.

    It is not a matter of “some” bugs. Large sections of content and functionality simply do not exist. It is up to, maybe, the state I would expect a project to be in for graduation from a development school like Full Sail.

    I would be hard pressed to “quantify” what is retail software, however this thing, is without a doubt, not even close to a “retail” state. Waiting around hoping, wishing, prayin’ for a good show’n, only distances one from any possibility of compensation.

    • Vinraith says:

      Paradox has made it quite clear that anyone requesting a refund should contact them. Steam support is notoriously worthless. The lead dev at Kerberos has personally guaranteed that anyone that wants a refund will get one.

      The game has already received several major patches and is in markedly better shape than it was on Friday. My guess is it’ll be pretty solid in about a month, and pretty brilliant in a couple more. If you don’t want to wait, by all means request a refund and take your business elsewhere.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Reversing a card might see your steam account disabled, think carefully.

    • Barman1942 says:

      Except for the fact that a patch was released on Friday, one on Saturday and another one is supposed to release today. You’re way overreacting, and being a bit of a douchebag calling the whole thing a scam.

    • Commisar says:

      wow, that is ALOT of anger OP. also, don’t even bother with Steam support, it sucks.

    • LintMan says:

      Dude, don’t let your anger cause you more problems. Yeah, they screwed up, but there’s a decent chance they’ll fix it if you’re willing to give it some time. If they held off on releasing it like they should have, you’d be waiting just the same.

      But go ahead and get your money back if you want – just don’t hose your Steam account because of it. The game just came out and they’re probably bombed with complaints so it’s gonna take a bit of time to straighten out.

  28. vecordae says:

    This is a real shame. I pre-ordered the game and found the state of its release to be disappointing. I decided I’d at least put some time in and see if I could divine what sort of game the devs were hoping to make.

    It looks like it will be pretty good once its finished. The intent seems to be to pick up where SotS1 left off, with six races and most, if not all, of the gameplay mechanics introduced by the expansions. The engine is gorgeous and the ships are interesting to look at. When it is properly finished it will be a blast to play.

    But it’s not done. Not done at all. But, in its current state, you can see what the game will be once it’s put together and that’s intriguing enough for me to want to stick with it for a bit longer.

    • Hanban says:

      I am too a big fan of the ships. I love how the human ships have gone from looking a bit like frail prototypes to looking like proper ships of war.

      The overall ship design in sots2 is grand. And the graphics are real neat. If they fix the crashes, make the game run smoother at the strategic level and iron out some of the unhelpfullness I think it’ll be just great.

  29. Gyro says:

    Man, it’s too bad the Congo isn’t a game developer with a rocky release. Otherwise people might actually care about what happens there.

    • vecordae says:

      Which would be a wholly appropriate sentiment were this a site dedicated to healing all the troubles of the world.

    • Gyro says:

      Mostly I was trying to put this into perspective. The drama over this is astounding, especially considering how likely it is to be fixed.

    • vecordae says:

      To be fair, most of the drama is the direct result of poor management of customer expectations. While Mister Cirulis is very chatty on his message boards, the majority of his potential customer base don’t read them. They were made aware of a game that sounded neat, bought the game when it was available, and it obviously wasn’t finished. The game descriptions that they read on whatever digital download site they patronized did not indicate that the game would ship in a less-than-ideal state, but would be rigorously updated until it was finished. People can get a bit funny about this.

    • Gyro says:

      Sure, it’s annoying and unprofessional and I can agree with being miffed. Paradox’s track record in this regard didn’t help either.

      But with some of these posters, you’d think they were going through an extremely painful breakup instead of a poor game release.

  30. Fiyenyaa says:

    Steam CD Keys are available now.

  31. MythArcana says:

    I was right there for release, but decided to hold off on this game until I heard word on the quality first. Good thing I waited because this was one messy release and Kerberos wasn’t exactly honest with their fans about the state of the game.

    AI War and Distant Worlds (albeit 2D games) are much, much better packages to get involved with generally and provide the type of fun that I think players were looking for in this game. No more pre-orders and beta-panderers for me, thanks. Minecraft showed me that even if 4 million people contribute, the game will still not be right even after 2 years.

  32. barelyhomosapien says:

    I was really on the fence about buying SOTS2 especially never having got into SOTS1 but the more I read about the features the more I thought “This is game for me” so I had no preconceptions other then my own self hype and I eventually caved in and pre-purchased on the day of release.

    I got it on the american gamersgate website so it ended up costing me £26 which was a nice bonus.

    Of course the release version of SOTS2 is a shambles. I’m one of the lucky ones that can actually play it without it crashing. But in it’s current state it’s too frustrating. In the end I bought the SOTS1 ultimate collection on steam, determined to get some 4x fun out of my weekend.

    I’ve had so much fun with the first title. For some reason it finally clicked and I love it. I won’t get a refund because although they could have been more honest about the state of the game, it seems self defeating to snatch away the funding for a game I can see (from curious poking around the current build) being the 4X that fits the slot in my psyche nigh enough perfectly once it’s in the shape it should be.

    If this was another company would we have had offers for refunds, free games, apologies and frank honesty (at least since release) as we’ve seen here? With the track record Kerberos and Paradox have of shoddy releases but consistent follow up support until a game is as it should be or better I do believe it’ll get fixed, fixed again, then re-fixed all over.

    I am no Kerberos fanboy. Or at least I wasn’t before the end of the weekend just gone I might be now, what are the symptoms?

    Just now a patch with lots of bug fixes has just installed itself on my computer so I’m going to go take a look. If you haven’t got SOTS2 yet, do hold off for a few weeks. But I feel confident that with some polishing it’ll be amazing.

    tl;dr Sure it’s crap now but judging from past efforts it’ll be more then a worthy 4x.

  33. nimzy says:

    I got taken for a ride myself. This is worse than your usual ‘beta-and-patch’ — this is ‘paid alpha’ and I spent $40 to find that out. Oh, and for those who are wondering what it’s like, it’s exactly the same as the original in a way that is rather jarring.

  34. Droniac says:

    Kerberos just released a new patch that fixed the most critical issues. The game now actually starts in 64-bit Windows, the most common crashes are gone, and they’ve added a bunch of tooltips.

    It’s still not really in a proper release-ready state, but at least the game is actually playable now. I just played 3 hours straight without crashes. Now they need to fix the sound cutting out and the sluggish interface and it’ll actually be fun to play.

  35. TailSwallower says:

    The thing that confuses me is, they say that the beta was uploaded to Steam, and they make it sound like it was a mistake… But instead of removing the beta and uploading the final version of the game to Steam, they release a patch. Which to me seems to be them admitting that the beta is the game.

    I only just bought SotS recently when it was on Steam for $5 and haven’t had a chance to play it much, so I’m not really invested in this conversation, but that’s one aspect of this that seemed really strange to me that nobody else seemed to point out.

    • Rythe says:

      Oh, this is a pretty standard PR, slight-of-hand move for them. Release what you have, pretend it wasn’t the right version, quick fix what you have into something slightly better by burning the candle at both ends. Eventually admit what you have isn’t near release ready. Yada.

      Just trying to delay the storm long enough to get a few more sales in before everyone knows the truth.

  36. Rythe says:

    I eventually managed to boot up SotS 2 once for about fifteen minutes Saturday. Half the interface was missing, the other half was unintuitive, and it seems like this game will have the same problems as SotS 1. Slow beginning, tedious end game, but with a meaty middle.

    On the other hand, the core engines look damn impressive beneath the buggy and inept top layer. If I ever imagined that the engine would let you zoom into the star systems without fiddling through menus and then waiting on load times, I’d call it brilliant.

    I’m also going to predict it’ll be worth a purchase down the road a bit when the most glaring problems are more or less fixed.

    That said, I’m also going to add my two cents and say that unless you’re a dyed in the wool fan, don’t bother with their forums. I’d a run in with Arinn Dembo (their writer) about two months before release that made me realize she was more interested in cultivating a community around her ego than letting the fans play around with her universe. Reading the bit about Tom Chick and the other one just makes me think that they, as a company, really don’t know how to deal with other people intruding on their vision of things.

    Oh well, no great loss to me. As much as she’s a technically proficient writer and has done (mostly) good things with the races and universe, I’m not convinced she’s much of a storyteller if the sample I got was any indication. I might also be a little bitter still.

  37. sneetch says:

    Perhaps I’m just terribly unreasonable but, for me, an apology like this comes too late. How is that a worthwhile apology? It truly baffles me how anyone can have the audacity to expect that an apology like that will do? They knew it was broken but they released it anyway with full knowledge of just how broken it was and without a word of warning to their customers. They then waited until people had bought the game, until the shit-storm hit hard on the internet before they admitted it.

    This reminds me of the half hissy-fit, half apologies that came out following the release of Elemental.

  38. caddyB says:

    Elemental wasn’t fun and bug fixes didn’t bring the game any fun. Sots 2 is fun but unplayable because of crashes. Don’t buy it yet, but in a few month’s time it should be good to go.

  39. jonfitt says:

    I was waiting to buy Elemental until I heard from the community that all was well and it was fun now.
    Sadly, I’m still waiting.

  40. caddyB says:

    It’s a shame indeed.

  41. abremms says:

    The comparison to Elemental seems obvious, but I don’t think its accurate. Elemental just wasn’t good on a basic level. It wasn’t fun and none of the mechanics were enjoyable.

    SotS2 is in really rough shape, but even so I played for over eight hours on Saturday. I pushed through the crashes, patiently waited on interface lag, and turned a blind eye to missing or inoperable features… And had a great time. Everytime it crashed, I genuinely wanted to reload it and keep going. If they follow through on the promise to fix it, It’ll be a truly great game.

    Elemental was beyond saving, they had to burn it to the ground, abandon ideas of expansion and start from scratch with Fallen Enchantress to make it (hopefully) worth playing.

  42. caddyB says:

    Exactly abremms.

    When might first Leviathan entered combat, tears of joy streamed down my cheeks. That graphics engine is worth every penny. Someone should buy it and make a space rpg out of it.

  43. Archonsod says:

    I pre-ordered SotS II while in the beta, based on what I’d played of it in the beta. So that wouldn’t really apply :P

    To be honest, niggling crash issues aside (most of which should hopefully be quashed in todays patch) the game itself is pretty good. I think the huge problem it has at the moment is if you didn’t play the original to death you’re going to be pretty much completely lost playing this one. It’s not so much a steep learning curve as a precipice.

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