'FIRST!' I get the honour (with a U cause we're Canucks) of dropping THE HOTTEST MIXTA-- The FIRST post-launch devlog, so buckle up cause as the Marvel vs Capcom 2 announcer has burned into my memory, we're gonna take you for a ride.
As most/all of you know, the launch was a bit of a hot mess. Price was a little steep for Early Access, game was a little busted for launch, Devs were a little unresponsive for launch, but you know what they say: hindsight isn't just checking out posteriors. To be completely honest, the launch (or failure-to, rather) was hard on us. Really hard. It was difficult to put our emotional attachment to the game aside at first, and we took the rocky start as a sort of personal failure. It hurt. It still hurts. A great relative-of-man once said “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” and goshdangit that's exactly what we're doing. We have to put our pride (OOOOOOOH MIND THAT DECADENT PUN) aside and keep pushing on.
So you may be thinking 'alright, that's cool and all, but what does it mean' as if you were staring into an empty turtle shell full of leaves and spices. It means we're recalibrating how we're both, developing and releasing SPECTRE. It means more community involvement. It means a stronger developer presence. It means trimming our scope to provide current and future players a more robust, polished experience.
Here's what we're working on:
Dedicated servers, allowing for ranked mode and leaderboards with global and regional statistics.
conditional matchmaking based on rank and player stats. (And cosmetics to flaunt that are awarded at each rank)
polished, performant maps with improvements to traversability.
improved animations to accompany heavier/more meaningful traversal of maps.
Enhanced Steam Deck support
Enhanced controller support
UI revision for better communication
Spectre & Reaper training missions
Why wasn't this done already? Time is money. We'd only received funding about a year ago and while we've been able to make great strides since then, our money isn't unlimited. As the end of our budget began creeping up, we needed to put something out that would allow us to keep working on SPECTRE.
As has been a common theme in SPECTRE development, we were inexperienced, incredibly ambitious, and rushed things a little. (The whole hindsight and not needing glasses thing pops its head up once again). With our final vision laid out, we realize it's still a pretty tall order, but everything's easier when your break it down into more manageable chunks.
So. Just how are we going to achieve this?
Continued Frequent patches, frequent / regular community updates throughout development and post-launch. And I mean at the same rate as we were patching the week after launch.
Transparent communications with community and a stronger online presence.
Feedback-to-Patch communication loop as we've been doing since launch (short of the whole Perforce issue)
Discord member events, weekly Discord SPECTRE nights. These can be divided by skill (Noob/Dev nights vs. Competitive nights) or locale (NA vs EU) or both! This is something we'll ask our community for input.
Possibly most importantly, while the game is in Early Access, we're going to trim it down a bit to focus our attention on key points to work on as we develop.
For example, we may reduce the maps to two, so that we can focus on polishing those and really nailing the feel of the game before opening another, and then another, and then another, etc.
REDUCING THE PRICE OF SPECTRE TO $10 TO MAKE IT MORE APPROACHABLE
We realize now that we were priced wayyyyy too high, but at the same time, we don't want to 'punish' our early adopters for paying full price, so this is a tough one that we'll need to chat more with our community on.
FREE WEEKEND EVENTS! This'll be a chance for us to welcome new players to try SPECTRE without a commitment to buying.
We're going to take the weekend to enjoy a couple days of rest before hopping back out of the frying pan. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ping us!
Neck-snappingly yours for the long haul,
- Jordan (zsg) Crawford