The lights are on
Dark Matter, a science-fiction platformer, released on Steam recently, and players were caught off-guard by the game's abrupt ending. Players are claiming that the game is incomplete and InterWave Studios released an unfinished product, but sold it for a full price. Erik Schreuder CEO of Dark Matter publisher Iceberg Interactive, has released a statement offering an explanation.
You can head here to read the full release from Schreuder. Dark Matter was originally conceived as a self-funded game, but a Kickstarter campaign was undertaken in order to expand the scope and release the game at a $30 price point. Unfortunately, that campaign did not meets its goal:
The idea was then formed to make Dark Matter an episodic series, with
episodes selling at a budget price of $14.99. Any further episodes
would, however, need to be dependent on the success of the previous
instalment. The first instalment is what has launched recently on Steam
and is simply called Dark Matter.
Schreuder then goes on to address players who have claimed that the game is incomplete:
We would like to stress that the game is exactly as described on Steam (including that it contains 14 levels) – it is simply not true that the game is unfinished, or unplayable. Some people have misquoted the developer as having admitted that the game is incomplete; we should reiterate that what was meant was that this is not the $30 full-priced game, but the episodic budget version (currently selling at $13,49 at 10% off).
Schreuder does not completely dismiss player concerns, however, and admits that that game's ending is confusing:
It is true however, that at present, the end of the game may cause confusion and is not satisfactory. We sincerely apologise for this, as it is not of the standard we would expect. We are working to offer a more conclusive and satisfying ending to the game as we speak and expect a fix to appear as soon we are able to.
As the game functions currently, players make it to a seemingly innocuous point in the game where they are meant to move onto the next area, and the text seen below appears on the screen.
On Friday, before Schreuder's statement appeared online, this statement appeared on the game's Steam community page:
No, the full story is indeed not complete yet because originally we wanted a longer game (12-16 hours) but couldnt finish it completely due to time and money (and Kickstarter failing). So, we choose to go with a 6-8 hour game instead to bring something out to the world and show everyone the world of Dark Matter.We are going to change the "to be continued" text to something else, to make sure this will be the end of the game as is in a clear msg to everyone.
[Source: Dark Matter on Steam]
Our TakeLooking over the game's Steam description, which you can see here, there is no mention of this being the first chapter of the game, or any indication that Dark Matter has any kind of episodic future. Gamers are all too familiar with disappointing endings and cliffhangers, but this all feels very suspect. A wall of text with the words, "You have reached the end of the game, but there may be more left to explore," is a much different statement than, "to be continued." As the game stands now, it does feel unfinished, and I can sympathize with players who feel slighted.
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I guess they should have been more clear with the episodic thing, but as long as it has all the promised content, I don't see too big a problem.
But are they really slighted? Sure, the ending is absolute crap. But they paid $13 for a 4-6 hour long game. That seems perfectly fine in my book. Thousands of people shell out $15 for 3 new Call of Duty maps every year. Is it a bad ending? For sure. A scam? Not so much.
The release sounds like this project is dead, so episodic installments are not really the case then....
InterWave is just straight up lying by saying that the Steam page says the game was supposed to be episodic. Nowhere on Steam is any such thing mentioned.
When you can't be honest with gamers and consumers from the get go; you deserve the backlash that comes afterword.
And then they can't afford to make episode two.
I'm sorry but if You don't know if You can afford to make the second episode than You need to offer at least a partial resolution. Look at how TV seasons do, they finish a story arc but leave some things unresolved. Just in case they get cancelled. The only way they leave on a cliffhanger is if they know they'll get funded. If they're smart at least. And They should have been clear from the get go that the game is episodic and has no real ending.
Or they could just call it an ode to classic NES games. Kmsl
Well, they could've stated their intentions a bit clearer.
So glad I didn't impulsively buy this last night. Probably going to pass on this in the future as well now. What a let down.
That's a half-ass excuse if I've ever heard one.