Cop management sim This Is the Police [official site] was supposed to be released today but has been pushed back because the publisher forgot to press a button on Steamworks - the publishing side of Valve's digital store. The game will now be released next week, the developers have said. And the folks responsible seem very, very embarrassed.
This Is the Police is a decision-heavy story of precinct management. You play as a chief of police who has been forced into early retirement by a dodgy mayor and who has just 180 days to gather the money he'll need to survive. Cue corner-cutting, layoffs and corrupt deals with the mafia. All the while you'll have investigations to carry out, not to mention those pencil pushers down at City Hall to deal with, always breathing down your neck to fire all your black police officers or hire more women or serve whatever their political whims are that day.
If that sounds good to you: sorry. You'll have to wait. Because one of the developer's publishing partners, EuroVideo Medien, forgot to press the button that puts the game through some final checks on Steam, which is a process that can take a week. As a result, the official release date has been moved to August 2 and the releases on GOG and Humble have also been pushed back to match this date. The director of the company responsible explained what went wrong.
"The reason for the delayed release was a mistake by us here at EuroVideo. When releasing a game on Steam, you have to hit a button in Steamworks saying "ready for final approval from Steam". Steam then proceeds to check the game, and makes sure it complies with their quality standards. Usually this approval process takes 2-5 business days, and you can not release the game without passing it.
"We were responsible to hit that button and unfortunately we missed this window, as we realized it yesterday, i.e. too late for a July 28 release. We made a mistake and feel very sorry about it. Weappy has nothing to do with this - it was just a personal mistake on our side.
"Again: We are really sorry about that."
Whoops. Meanwhile, the reviews for the game are being published regardless, with some saying the design is an unbalanced drag and others saying it fails to say anything of importance on social issues that are currently engulfing the US. The Belorussian developer, Weappy, responded directly to this latter charge a few days ago in an open letter.
"This Is the Police is not based on any actual incidents, nor does it try to portray them either directly or indirectly. We are certainly talking about problems that exist in the real world, but all the characters and their actions in the game are fictional from start to finish.
"This Is the Police is not about the United States or any other individual country. We deliberately did not specify when and where the events in the game unfold — not because we were being cryptic, but because it doesn’t matter. In our understanding, the world is a seamless space. The word “geopolitics” fills us with sincere disgust, and any boundary walls and barriers, both physical and socio-cultural, drive us to depression."
Whether you agree with that or not, I don't know. Without seeking to exonerate them completely, it's important to note that Belorussian creators often stay clear of overt political messages, what with it being a dictatorship and all. Years ago, I spoke to someone from Belarus in a bar in Moscow. "In Belarus we have a saying," he told me, "Only sharpshooter can save our country."
I asked him if they don't protest.
"Oh yes, we protest," he said, "but in quiet voice."