Starbound's main problem, according to what the lead dev said on Reddit, aside from their inexperience, was Early Access. They wasted a ton of time on placeholder features that have since been replaced, removed, or will soon be replaced. They implemented and even made rudimentary balance passes to entire features knowing full well those features would be removed. Placeholder progression, etc.
These features were put in because they needed to make the game more playable since they were selling it on Steam. Silencing critics on Steam was more important than delivering the end product that was pitched. Just goes to show you that Early Access, while it can be an infusion of cash, can also be an enormous waste of time that actually eats up that cash.
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