Wardell On “Unfinished” Controversy

The Stardock logo is nice and uncontroversial.
Following yesterday’s energetic discussions of Elemental’s release state, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has issued a statement which can be read in full below. In it Wardell addresses comments made on the Quarter to Three game forum, saying that the remarks about people not buying Stardock games if they disagreed about their state of completion were simply a heated remark to a friend: “This comment was totally out of line and I apologize for it. It was made in the heat of a ~2000 comment long thread and is not how I honestly feel.”

On the issue of the Gamer’s Bill Of Rights, which we initially thought deleted from the Stardock site due to a broken URL, Wardell says: “We stand by it. It is, with some irony, our commitment to no DRM on our DVD release that ultimately caused the rough pre-release experience of Elemental. Several retailers broke the street date and we felt we needed to release our gold version to our customers who had pre-ordered from us as well as to our beta community that helped make the game the outstanding strategy game that it is.”

RPS remains uncomfortable with industry practices that involve shipping incomplete gold code, requiring – and assuming – day zero patches as a standard.

Stardock’s Response to PC Gamer UK and RPS
By Frogboy Posted August 25, 2010 1:52:32 PM

There was an article posted earlier today on PC Gamer UK outlining some of the frustrations that the reviewer had with the pre-day 0 version of the game as well as a problem he was having with tactical battles.

In the article, he quoted an inflammatory forum posting I made on a site I participate in called Quarter to Three. This is a site I’ve been a participant in for many years and many of the people I discuss things on there are personal friends of mine.

During one such exchange with my friend Ben Sones, I angrily responded with a statement “Ben, please stay away from our games in the future. I consider it ready for release and if others disagree, don’t buy our games.”

This comment was totally out of line and I apologize for it. It was made in the heat of a ~2000 comment long thread and is not how I honestly feel. Ben’s a friend of mine and his comment that the game felt like a “beta” to him upset me and I responded inappropriately. I post a lot on many forums and unfortunately, sometimes the things I say are inappropriate or inflammatory.

As the CEO of Stardock, I want to be clear that my comments on the Quarter to Three forums do not reflect my team at large. They were words spoken out of frustration and sleep deprivation and I am truly sorry. We stand behind what we feel is a great product, one that we will continue to support for a number of years.

With regards to a post on Rock Paper Shot Gun, which picked up the PC Gamer UK story, they erroneously point to a 2+ year old URL to a Stardock news item that is no longer active (we switched news systems a year or so ago). Their article falsely implies that we have stepped away from our commitment to the Gamer’s Bill of Rights.

The site, www.gamersbillofrights.org was set up and is run by Stardock. We stand by it. It is, with some irony, our commitment to no DRM on our DVD release that ultimately caused the rough pre-release experience of Elemental. Several retailers broke the street date and we felt we needed to release our gold version to our customers who had pre-ordered from us as well as to our beta community that helped make the game the outstanding strategy game that it is.

However, it also became clear that the pre-day 0 version of the game was problematic as outlined in the PC Gamer UK article. The official day 0 version of the game, what is available right now, should address most, if not all the issues that have been described. That said, as is our long-standing policy, we will continue to release updates and improvements Elemental just as we do for the other titles we develop.

I anticipate us putting out regular updates for Elemental for months or years to come based on player feedback, suggestions, and yes, bug reports.

I hope this offers some explanation as to the events that have come up. I sincerely apologize and feel terrible for the effect my forum posting on Qt3 may have had not just on our fans but also my team that has worked incredibly hard over the past 3 years to produce what we hope, is a game that you will enjoy for years to come.

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