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Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues

The Kerberos Productions website and Paradox Interactive Forums have posts about issues surrounding the recent launch of Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter, the space-themed 4X strategy sequel (thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun). There's a State of the Game post from Paradox Interactive CEO Fred Wester who talks of the game's issues on Steam, which helps explain a pair of patches over the weekend. There's also a post on the Kerberos Forums from Kerberos Productions CEO/Creative Director Martin Cirulis on what they plan to do about this going forward, starting off by saying: "Welcome to the perfect storm of cockup made up of 40% Murphy's Law, 30% Chaos, 20% Overambition and 10% wishful thinking. And you have our deepest regrets for what it is worth as none of this was part of the plan," and that: "This plan means that you folks can expect at least 2 or 3 updates a week over the next month or so that will gradually make this game into what it should have been when the switch was pulled on Friday." The post is quite lengthy, but comes with a convenient summary:

a) cockup
b) my fault
c) will be Completely fixed
d) fun stuff in many updates
e) Understanding of your position
f) Apology again and underserved request for faith and patience from people who don't know us.

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27 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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27. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 22:45 Mad Max RW
 
I don't get who is going to work on the game when apparently most of the team was laid off before release.  
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26. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 20:05 Nate
 
Droniac wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 18:37:
They released a massive patch today that fixed the most critical issues. The game now starts properly in 64-bit Windows and the most common crashes have been eliminated. I just played 3 hours straight without a single crash.

They still NEED to fix the sluggish interface, the inaccessible options menu, the sound cutting out randomly, and the lack of tooltips (which has now been partially remedied) but otherwise it's playable and almost enjoyable. The sluggish interface makes things unbearably slow, but there seems to be a good game here.

I tried it for 4 hours. The strategic interface is awful. The combat controls were awful. Major things are not explained. Trading is missing apparently. The wait for AI vs AI battles to resolve is very irritating.

I speculate that the strategic AI is brain dead and possibly also the ship battle AI. Since these are some of the hardest things to code and often get left to the last minute.

Very much doubt the game will be fixed and made fun in a month. Looks like a 6 month job to me. I've asked for a refund. If there are no consequences for bad behavior, you'll just get more of it.
 
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25. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 18:37 Beelzebud
 
ASeven wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 18:20:
Raven wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 16:47:
That's what 90% of people should do. Just avoid this until it is fixed. When it is, it will be awesome.

Problem on this, Stardock said the same thing this guys are saying for SotSII. Elemental is still a terrible buggy game even today.

But hey, Stardock has the Gamer's Bill of Rights! That means they care! They'd never take your money and give you a crap product, and they'd certainly never sell Impulse to a company like Gamestop!
 
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24. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 18:37 Droniac
 
They released a massive patch today that fixed the most critical issues. The game now starts properly in 64-bit Windows and the most common crashes have been eliminated. I just played 3 hours straight without a single crash.

They still NEED to fix the sluggish interface, the inaccessible options menu, the sound cutting out randomly, and the lack of tooltips (which has now been partially remedied) but otherwise it's playable and almost enjoyable. The sluggish interface makes things unbearably slow, but there seems to be a good game here.
 
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23. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 18:21 mag
 
ASeven wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 18:20:
Raven wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 16:47:
That's what 90% of people should do. Just avoid this until it is fixed. When it is, it will be awesome.

Problem on this, Stardock said the same thing this guys are saying for SotSII. Elemental is still a terrible buggy game even today.

But Stardock is dumb and Paradox is awesome.
 
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22. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 18:20 ASeven
 
Raven wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 16:47:
That's what 90% of people should do. Just avoid this until it is fixed. When it is, it will be awesome.

Problem on this, Stardock said the same thing this guys are saying for SotSII. Elemental is still a terrible buggy game even today.
 
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21. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 16:47 Raven
 
That's what 90% of people should do. Just avoid this until it is fixed. When it is, it will be awesome.  
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20. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 16:39 Shok
 
It might help if they released a demo once it is patched and in working order. I might consider buying it at that point.  
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19. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 16:25 Prez
 
Launch issues and screw-ups like this matter less to people who know they'll be buying the game eventually once it's fixed (4x Nuts like myself, for example). The real damage is done when people who otherwise might have considered buying the game hear nothing but the negative buzz the basically unforgivable launch issues generate and write it off completely.

A crappy launch like this most certainly has to hurt the final sales numbers of a title, which is why it is mystifying to me publishers keep letting it happen.
 
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18. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 16:10 ASeven
 
Good grief, this game makes Elemntal's launch look bug-free in comparison. Paradox always had a reputation of releasing broken games but this one takes the cookie.

This may hurt Paradox like Elemental hurt Stardock and that would be a shame since Paradox is the last great publisher that does grand strategy games in mass.
 
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17. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 16:09 Creston
 
Welcome to the perfect storm of cockup made up of 40% Murphy's Law, 30% Chaos, 20% Overambition and 10% wishful thinking.

I think this can be far more easily summarized as:

80% no testing.
20% released too soon.

Creston

 
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16. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 16:08 Warskull
 
Verno wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 14:27:
I don't understand their attitude that this is some kind of accidental mishap or something. Some of the stuff people are listing on the forums is basic shit you'd know about if you ever played your own game at any point during development. I don't care how large or small a developer you are, it's inexcusable behavior and in other industries would probably be borderline fraudulent if they didn't process refunds.

From what they've mentioned elsewhere, this seems like it may have been a case of releasing an unfinished game because they had no money and their choices were release it now or release it never.
 
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15. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:34 Flatline
 
Verno wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 14:27:
I don't understand their attitude that this is some kind of accidental mishap or something. Some of the stuff people are listing on the forums is basic shit you'd know about if you ever played your own game at any point during development. I don't care how large or small a developer you are, it's inexcusable behavior and in other industries would probably be borderline fraudulent if they didn't process refunds.

As my friend would attest to (He's in QA with a music program/game right now) all it takes is one asshole in a decision making position to fall in love with the "vision" of some bad idea in the game and shit like that starts accumulating. It's almost certain that QA bugged those issues if QA was any good, but it was overruled because someone liked it the way it was and overruled QA, someone thought it was going to be too much work to fix before launch, or some cocked up programmer or another insists it's not a bug, it's a feature.
 
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14. Re: Sword of the Stars Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:29 Parallax Abstraction
 
Mad Max RW wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 13:50:
This year for PC gamers has been one disaster after another. Next up: Skyrim.

I'm fully expecting that at least. Bethesda is rarely able to launch a game in a better than clusterfuck state. Even some of their first titles from back in the early 90s were disasters when they came out. They either are completely inept at QA or just put out stuff when it isn't ready cause they know people will buy it anyway (and they do, look how well New Vegas sold).
 
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13. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:23 JohnBirshire
 
This year for PC gamers has been one disaster after another. Next up: Skyrim.

Unfortunately he might be right. When you start with a mandatory deadline, 11-11-11, and you're rushing rushing rushing rushing to get it completed on time, mistakes inevitably happen. Even if the game was still a huge unfinished steaming pile of crap by 11-11-11, they committed themselves so fully to that release date that they'd release it anyways. I'm hopeful that Skyrim comes out without a hitch, as Arena is my favorite game of all time, but I remember all the issues Daggerfall had so I'm nervous.
 
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12. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:22 Wolfox
 
spindoctor wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 15:14:
Reminds me of Magicka earlier this year... same publisher, same kinds of problems at launch. They do this deliberately... get it out no matter what and then patch the game later.

To be fair, Paradox has been moving away from that lately, or at the very least trying to. Cities in Motion had little or no problems at release, and the Sengoku release was pretty stable and smooth, and patched quickly to solve (mostly) minor problems.
 
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11. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:19 Wolfox
 
Cutter wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 15:17:
How about g) Refunds for those who want them ?

If you had read the full posts, you'd know it's in there.
 
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10. Re: Sword of the Stars Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:18 Wolfox
 
Mad Max RW wrote on Oct 31, 2011, 13:50:
This year for PC gamers has been one disaster after another. Next up: Skyrim.

It had its share of launch disasters, yes (Magicka, Dead Island and Rage come to mind), but it had a lot of big, mostly smooth launches, like Dawn of War 2: Retribution, Shogun 2, The Witcher 2, Portal 2, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, to name a few. I don't think this year has been particularly bad - I tend to think the opposite, in fact.

Now, will Skyrim be a "flop"? I'm a bit cautious after Oblivion, though Fallout 3 was much better than I expected it would be. Most videos I've seen about Skyrim make it seem like a graphic update to Oblivion with some gameplay changes, which can be both good AND bad, depending on the implementation. I'll guess we'll have to wait and see.
 
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9. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:17 Cutter
 
How about g) Refunds for those who want them ?
 
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8. Re: Sword of the Stars II Launch Issues Oct 31, 2011, 15:14 spindoctor
 
Reminds me of Magicka earlier this year... same publisher, same kinds of problems at launch. They do this deliberately... get it out no matter what and then patch the game later.  
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