The War Z is back on Steam
Following customer complaints over misleading information on The War Z's Steam page, Valve removed the unfinished multiplayer zombie survival game in December. It's back, and Valve has explained the decision to give the controversial shooter a second chance in a brief announcement:
"Valve and Hammerpoint Interactive collaborated to address community feedback, update the Steam store page, and make the title available for purchase worldwide. In addition, a patch has been released to update existing customers. As such, the special refund offering extended for The War Z Steam customers who previously purchased the title has concluded."
Below is a comparison of the Steam information from when The War Z launched in December and now.
Original Steam store page
New Steam store page
Details that are not yet implemented or not available in the Foundation Release, such as areas as large as "100 to 400 square kilometers," have been omitted. The phrase "single purchase" is also gone. While it's technically true that the game can be played with one purchase, microtransactions extend to individual bullets, making it only technically true, with italics.
Selling bullets was one of many problems we dissected in our review of The War Z. The lack of voice communication, poor sound design, homogeneous landscape, exploits, hacking, and even spawn camping were among the criticisms that resulted in our 30% verdict. On that note, the new Steam store page also displays the game's now-available Metacritic score of 23/100.
The War Z's Steam forum is filling with the expected mixed reactions. A thread titled "Petition to remove 'The War Z' from Steam" sits next to a thread inviting new players to a private server. Another thread trolls with "Should I buy War Z or Aliens: Colonial Marines?" while others take issue with specifics of The War Z's return to Steam, arguing that the screenshots remain misleading.
The question, as I see it, is: should Valve be responsible for curating Steam, making judgments based on a game's reception, or should it take a laissez-faire approach and let us decide (given accurate information) what to buy on our own? Given the introduction of Greenlight and some of Gabe Newell's recent comments, the latter approach seems to be the direction Valve is traveling.