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Last week's PC Gamer Show featured an Early Access game, which prompted a larger discussion around the PC Gamer office: how do we feel about the rise of paid pre-release? Since Minecraft made us more comfortable with the idea of selling incomplete games, we've seen dozens of PC games embrace paid alphas and betas as part of their development process—everything from MechWarrior Online to H1Z1 and Heroes of the Storm. But as studios benefit from early feedback and funding, are they giving back enough in return? Tom and Evan sat down to talk it over.
Share your thoughts on Early Access with us in the comments.
The PC Gamer Show appears every Friday. Hit us with PC gaming questions in the comments, and we might answer them in next week's episode! Or tweet @pcgamer with a question using the hashtag #AskPCGamer.
A game’s launch is usually such a happy affair, all streamers and balloons and fruit punch and jelly and ice cream and cartwheeling clowns, but it’s a little bittersweet for Spacebase DF-9. It’s not the game Double Fine wanted it to be, nor the game advertised to Early Access purchasers. DF scaled plans down last month as announced they couldn’t afford to keep making the sim space station, and would simply get it to a stable, finished-ish state then release the source code.
Spacebase DF-9 version 1.0 launched this week, also bringing players a virtual party bag containing the source and a free copy of Hack ‘n’ Slash. HnS owners were given a copy of Spacebase too.
As of yesterday, Spacebase DF-9 is now in version 1.0, and while it's not quite as feature-packed as many were expecting, developers Double Fine have thrown in a little treat for current owners that might help to smooth things over a bit. If you bought the sci-fi base construction management sim during its Early Access phase, you should have just received a copy of Double Fine's Zelda-like Hack 'n' Slash on the house.
The same is true in reverse, meaning that owners of Hack 'n' Slash have just been given Spacebase for free on Steam as well. Moreover, the two games are now available in a double-pack, if you want both and have neither, and you can live with DF-9's dialled down ambition. There's a healthy 40% discount in place for Spacebase on Steam over the next week, and this applies to the double-pack as well.
We weren't too fussed on Hack 'n' Slash in our review, stating that it "starts as a clever game about game design, but ends up feeling like homework". You'll find our thoughts on Spacebase DF-9's Early Access version here.
What does update 1.0 add? Well, it adds a tutorial mode, a new goals screen, and a "Pirate Megafleet", in addition to the following list o' stuff.
Last week Double Fine announced that Spacebase DF-9 development was coming to an end. The issue was that hundreds of features that had previously been listed as “maybe possibly” coming to the game were no longer to going to be delivered, replaced instead with the release of the game’s LUA codebase so the community could add content themselves.
People are understandably peeved. Tim Schafer has now commented on the game’s Steam discussion forum in response to some of the common questions about what happened.