Grim Dawn - Interviews @ IncGamers
PY: It’s been a bit weird watching this develop. It was a Kickstarter, then Steam Early Access, and now… how far would you say that you are into alpha, or before beta? I know you’re saying you’ve still got Act Two to put in, but on your development timeline (which is probably impossible to figure out!) whereabouts do you roughly think you are, now?
AB: It’s really a strange project because normally you’d be developing a lot of tech alongside producing the content, and you’d be building up to some sort of a single release. At least that’s the way it was done back in the old days, back in 2006, when we released Titan Quest! [Laughs] It seems so long ago, now.
But now we’ve tried to get the game out as early as possible so people can start playing it and giving us feedback. On one hand, it’s technically far along in terms of development – it’s pretty playable. There are still some bugs and there are performance issues as it’s not fully optimised yet, but it’s pretty playable! On the other hand, content development is still lagging behind, and we still have a ways to go on that.
In terms of playablity, I’d say it’s close to beta. Maybe it is beta! It’s probably not far off a finished game in terms of playability. But in terms of actually finishing all the content, we’re technically not at beta yet. We have a ways to go, so it’s kinda weird. I feel like there’s a schism between the technical terms and the way that we use them in development now, where they’re more general estimations of where the product is.
PY: Looking back at how you developed Titan Quest, do you think things have really changed in terms of the way you approach this, and have you had to adapt to the way the industry is now and how things have changed in terms of development? Especially with indie titles like this.
AB: Yeah, it’s definitely changed a lot. The biggest thing, really, is that once the game is out there in the wild and people are playing it, you have a burden to keep the game highly playable – to squash bugs, to fix major balancing issues or things that just aren’t working for people – and that tends to slow down your forward progress because you spend a lot of time polishing before the polishing phase.
People want to have fun and they want to enjoy what’s out there, and you want them to enjoy what’s out there as it’s the world’s first impression of the game! So you end up doing polishing while you’re in the middle of development, which slows things down a little bit. You also have to be more careful as you try to introduce new things into the game. In normal closed development, you release something into the closed company version of the game and it may break all kinds of things, and you spend a month fixing it. We can’t really do that. While we have people playing the game we have to keep it playable, so it’s more… delicate, trying to release big changes or new features. You have to keep constantly testing, instead of having one testing cycle towards the end of development.
Information aboutGrim Dawn
SP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash