I finished up my time with Gratuitous Space Battles 2 the other days and posted my review. I felt bad, but I had to not recommend it. I try to save my negative reviews for the games that truly deserve them, and this game was right on the border of it.
After posting it, I decided to read the other reviews to see if I was in the minority with my disappointment; I was not. In fact, some mentioned that the developer had abandoned it and some even said he was somewhat abusive to people who had pre-ordered. I decided to see if I could find the posts they were talking about. My opinion of the dev from the few months of blogs I read was that he was kind of a jerk, but I didn’t see anything that was particularly abrasive. I don’t know him and I’m sure I’ll never talk to him, but he just seemed pedantic, like he was overly worried about sales and money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but why would you put specifics out about your sales and your thoughts on people who gave you money?
Regardless, I got it from a bundle (or it was crazy cheap somewhere) and can’t complain too much. My point in this is that I feel like the gaming community has hit a very important moment. Independent developers have more avenues to get funding for their games than ever before, and I feel that this is a good thing. What isn’t good is when people clearly abuse these avenues. When a game has pre-orders and is abandoned like this, it’s sad. Steam’s Early Access and Greenlight can be powerful tools to help honest people, but so many times it seems like it allows people to get money for promises where there is no penalty for failing to fulfill those promises. By the time word gets out about someone taking advantage of the system or their customers, it’s usually too late.
It’s clear that GSB2 is riddled with bugs and is an unfinished shell of what could have been. There is virtually no single-player campaign to speak of.
Times like this make me lose faith in pre-orders, paid early access, Greenlight, crowd-sourcing, and any programs of the like, which is extremely unfortunate. I like the feeling of funding a game and watching it progress. I like voting with my money and telling the system which games I want to see out there. When these programs are misused, I feel personally cheated, like I was taken in by a con man; that’s not a good feeling.