“When is Crashlands coming out?” This is pretty much the only question we get asked these days. It’s frustrating for us, because the answer is “we don’t know, but soon!”
But hey, that’s our fault, because we’ve now passed our original “summer/fall” release date, which was when we thought the game would be out. Oh, and we’ve also passed our June 2014 release date, which was also when we (hilariously) thought the game would be out.
So what happened? Why didn’t Crashlands come out this past summer like our trailer
said it would? Why didn’t the beta start two months
ago like we planned?
The answer is a simple one: inexperience. We’re pretty dang new to the game dev scene. We have never done a project of the size and scope of Crashlands. Before Crashlands, we had never made a crafting game, and we had never made a game with a more than a superficial story. Crashlands has both crafting and
story, plus a ton of other things that we’d never done before (cross-platform save syncing, an infinite and reproducible procedural world, story creation via the Crashlands Creator, etc). So our ability to estimate how long each component would take has been consistently wrong!
At the end of development, a game looks complete even though it still has a long list of needed tweaks and improvements. The larger and more complex the game, the longer is that strange period of looks-complete-but-actually-isn’t. We’ve been there for months now. For the entirety of that period, we always thought that the end was just two weeks away. (We still think we’re just two weeks away!)
Indeed, if you were to play Crashlands right now, you would think it was done. Because it basically is. All of the content is in and all of the systems work — mostly. But you would also notice some rough edges: confusing UI elements, some weird creature behaviors, some balance issues (things getting too hard or too easy as the game progresses), graphical errors during the game’s nighttime, the occasional crash, etc. All of those things need to be fixed before we can call the game done. Fortunately, it is way easier and less time-consuming to fix those little issues than it was to build the content and systems for the game.
BUT! Even when the game itself is truly done (very, very soon) we can’t launch it immediately. We still have to run a bunch of players through the game for beta testing, to figure out what devices it works on and find any bugs we missed. We’ll then have to get approval from the various app stores, so we can then find a launch date where we won’t be competing with other highly-anticipated games for feature spots, so that we can make the announcement and have enough time to get the marketing/PR/hype train rolling.
So, all that said, when is Crashlands coming out?
We don’t know! It’s nearly November already, and we still have to do all those things listed above. We have no doubt that the game will be done by the end of the year, but it’s looking less likely that we’ll be able to launch it by the end of the year. It’ll be a close thing. [EDIT: Crashlands is done and comes out January 21, 2016!]