Space Pirates and Zombies 2, the post-apocalyptic space sandbox shoot-o-strategy with a deceptively bad name, has scrapped plans for a multiplayer mode. Developers MinMax Games had planned to add Arena mode on SPAZ 2's journey through early access but they say multiplayer progress has ground to a halt as they upgraded to a newer version of the engine they're building it in. After four weeks of work without any real progress, they've given up. They are extending refunds for player who consider this a dealbreaker, mind.
MinMax explained their technological trials and tribulations in a blog post on Thursday:
"Between Unity 4 and 5.1 Unity's multiplayer backend fundamentally changed, but we always thought we could transpose our multiplayer code into the new system without too much difficulty. But we can tell you after 4 weeks hard at it, we have made no progress... at all."
After trying four new multiplayer solutions, as well as having a crack at porting Unity 4's networking over to 5, they're calling it a day. They believe that Arena wasn't worth continuing to struggle with.
"There has been considerable interest in a coop multiplayer mode. In the past we have posted why that would not be possible, as it would be like running a 300 player server on a local machine. So coop multiplayer wasn't part of the plan, but Arena was...
"The Arena multiplayer which we had hoped to deliver was at least something, but so far it has received very limited interest on the forums. So now we have hit this multiplayer upgrade road block and we need to make a hard decision.
"Do we keep pressing ahead on Arena multiplayer which likely will only have a small following and will take many more months than expected, or do we spend that time making the single player better. We think it is more important to make the game better."
It does also sounds a bummer for the few players who were stoked for multiplayer. SPAZ 2's Steam Early Access page had always stated "Please do not purchase for multiplayer until multiplayer is ready" but did say it was coming. They've opened a manual refunds process for people who've played less than two hours, no matter how long ago they bought SPAZ 2 (Steam usually limits refunds to within two weeks).
Still a bummer for folks who've played more than two hours but whose decisions were influenced by the promise of multiplayer to come. Hey, that's early access for you. Don't buy early access games unless you'd still be content if it were never updated or even became something else.