I am confused, noble readers. Perplexed. Stumped, somewhat. Running desperately out of synonyms. Not by Life is Feudal: Your Own itself, to give it its slightly odd full title. That's a fairly cool if definitely-still-alpha-looking medieval-ish hardcore multiplayer sandbox with severe death penalties and all the other survival systems you'd expect. What's raising my chainmail eyebrow is its popularity. It's been locked in the top five of Steam's best sellers list since release despite (perhaps because of?) the wealth of options within its steel-to-the-bollocks brutal genre. It's certainly a new wrapper for the formula, but the first time indie studio behind it freely admits it's as broken as the rest of them.
Not that I don't understand the appeal, I'm just surprised that after one, two or five experiences of big promises and long development times, people are still coming back. Between Kickstarters and Early Access, this is the tenth or so massively ambitious game of its type this year. Big budget blockbuster first-person shooters generally space themselves out a bit better than that, and they're actually finished upon release. Even those who've not been warded off by bad experiences with The Stomping Land et al should have enough regular updates to games they do own to keep them going.
It's certainly a well presented example, at least. The Steam page is informative, with big warnings that you're supporting development of something far from release. Updates are regular, with a patch on Friday fixing memory leak issues and assorted other bugs. The trailer is slick too, mostly showing off what's possible right now and featuring a rather amusing mathsplosion without descending into wild promise territory:
The number is roughly as mighty as the sword, but honestly they just work great in concert.
But that's not enough to convince me that this one is special, or that it can outdo its peers developed by larger, more experienced teams. It's hardly cheap either, £24.99 on Steam, with the promise that this will give you premium access to the MMO version of the same game - in the far, far future. Perhaps I am the (23-year) old man, shouting at the cloud he does not understand.
We'll have alpha impressions next week, but in the mean time, who's out there playing it and what's the plate-armoured goss?