Why Planet Nomads Release Date Moves to May 25th and How It All Went Down
Every developer knows the nightmare of deadlines very well. Hitting a launch date is the biggest deadline of them all. Missing a launch date is the worst nightmare of them all. Planet Nomads was scheduled to launch on Tuesday 18th April. On 17th April we announced it would be delayed until May. Couple days after we agreed the new Early Access launch date to be 25th May.
What Pushed Us to Delay
In the week preceding launch, Alpha Nomads, the testers of PN's closed-alpha, started to show signs that the game was simply not ready for public release. Poor performance and poorly explained game mechanics marred the game, as well as bad experience with building. We bravely, and somewhat blindly, defended the state of the game, knowing we still had one patch up our sleeves until launch.
Should we postpone? Company-wide discussions ensued. We didn't want to be one of those developers. By taking pride in our determination to deliver on our promises we lost sight of what's truly important - the future of the game. And that was at stake, because bad ratings, gamer backlash and bad reviews can break a game's neck. Would people realize the game's Early Access? Would they be patient enough for patches? We couldn't know. It was a 50-50 bet and the odds seemed a lot better if we faced a postpone backlash rather than failed launch.
And So the Hard Decision Was Made
During the weekend it became clear we wouldn't be able to put the necessary improvements into the game by the Tuesday launch patch. Planet Nomads risked being perceived as another overpromised Early Access title. That's not what the game deserved.
We owed it to ourselves and we owed it to our early backers and Nomads who trusted us and our vision for the game. A grand vision for which we need more development time and more manpower - the things that cost money. The money that can only come from a succesful Early Access.
On Sunday we knew we had to postpone and started forming the plan, informing all the parties involved and bracing for the impact.
Only the Sh*tstorm Never Came
On Easter Monday we announced the delay. To mitigate the rage and keep to our promises as much as possible we sent out game keys to all the remaining backers and preorder Nomads who had been originally supposed to receive the game together with the gaming public. It took time to get it ready, hence the Monday announcement, but it was a smart idea.
Because boy did the community stood with us and our decision!
We're not saying things were all flowers and unicorns. We're saying that for the every sceptic questioning our trusworthiness there was an army of Nomads defending it.
Thus concluded the craziest Easter holidays ever.
What Did The Extra Five Weeks Buy for Planet Nomads
We've decided to focus on three core aspects of Planet Nomads that will greatly improve the game's first and they are optimization, playability and immersion.
Optimization is pretty straightforward - we want higher FPS numbers and we want to remove the stuttering of the game by spreading out CPU load more evenly. First steps will already be tangible in the next week's 0.5.2 update.
Playbility means a more smooth boarding process. Tutorial, in-game hints and generally the game communicating more to ease the process of getting to know all its game mechanics.
Immersion in this case means that you can relate to the main character and share his pains and unfavorable fate. Includes camera shakes, screen effects, more intense survival and generally the game's feedback when things go south.
The individual aspects are explained in finer details in our latest blog post announcing the new launch date.
You made it to the end! We're glad our adventures and escapades caught your interest and hope you will learn from our mistakes.
Planet Nomads is a sci-fi survival game of planetary proportions which launches on 25th May as an Early Access title on Steam and a Game in Development on GOG. We also have a new website explaining what's possible to experience in the game.