Modern multiplayer military manshoot Insurgency: Sandstorm won't be fully launching until December 12th. While partially available now as a pre-order beta, the final release (featuring more maps and playmodes) has been delayed for additional tuning, polishing up and optimisation on top of a bonus round of bug-fixing. Developers New World Interactive have provided a checklist of things they hope to have tightened up and locked down by release, which you can see below.
The choice to release the game this way is a strange one. While it may not technically be early access, it seems functionally similar - players money down early for a discount and a work-in-progress build of the game until launch. One thing that does differ from official early access is a lack of Steam user reviews until the game fully launches in December. Whether intentional or not, it bypasses the usual flood of negative initial reviews that multiplayer games tend to be hit by if their initial launch is a rough one.
Problems aside, here's what New World Interactive want to nail down before they stick a Version 1.0 label on the game and call it done:
- Upgrade to Unreal Engine 4.20 and continue optimizing
- Improve the character models, textures, and animations in the game
- Improve the “scoped” experience for both high and low-quality scope settings
- Improve the level visuals, gameplay and optimization
- Add more cosmetic item variations and a new forearm tattoo cosmetic type which can also be seen in first person
- Expand in-game server options to include a server browser, community-run server support, and a custom games system allowing users to specially configure games hosted by our server infrastructure.
- Refine the game to the point it has far less bugs, glitches, visual inconsistencies and other issues.
While Insurgency: Sandstorm has walked a rocky road to get this far (including dropping an ambitious story-driven campaign from its feature list), it remains an interesting game. Sequel to the original Insurgency (which in turn began life as a Half-Life 2 mod), Sandstorm puts a heavy emphasis on realistic weapon handling and ammo management. Do you spend that extra moment reloading 'properly', or do you just eject your magazine onto the ground and hurry the process? Adam found the whole experience rather intense when he tried it back in February.
Insurgency: Sandstorm will be launching on December 12th for £26/30/$30, although you can pick it up early on Steam and Humble at a small discount now if you'd rather not wait. As of the end of August the beta contained four of the six planned maps for launch, and four different modes to play them in. Player progress will also be wiped at the end of beta.