At The Gates not ready to open; Jon Shafer's turn-based strategy delayed to 2015
Alpha testing is a bit like inviting a barbarian horde to ransack your city. Sure, you might think you've built sturdy walls and impenetrable defences, but sooner or later the throng of testers will find a crack. That's what happened to Jon Shafer's appropriately named turn-based strategy At The Gates. Its alpha testers, having breached the early code, went on to make a number of reasonable and sensible design requests based on the issues they identified. The savages! In response, Shafer is extending the game's development past the planned mid-2014 release date and into 2015.
"I've noted in both the original Kickstarter pitch and subsequent updates that the goal with AtG is not just to make a strategy game that not only breaks new ground but also one that is polished at release," Shafer writes in his latest backer update. "This recipe calls for one key ingredient which has no substitute: time.
"AtG could be released as originally planned in mid-2014 as a 'good' game. But would it be one of the best strategy games ever? Probably not. As such, I've made the decision to push back AtG's release until 2015."
Based on the testers feedback, the game's alpha build has already incorporated changes to give the early game more purpose, and tweaks to the game's economy. Beyond that, Shafer notes that the biggest problem is a lack of structure and goals. The aim, he says, is to focus on AI diplomacy, letting your opponents needs and demands become a driving factor.
"I know this is disappointing news," Shafer finishes, "but at the end of the day what we all want is a great game, and our team is willing to stick with AtG as long as it takes to get there. This kind of flexibility is only possible because our funding comes from your generosity, and while painful in the short term it will no doubt pay off over the long term. I think I speak for everyone in saying that what we want is an amazing game, even if it means a longer wait."
For more on At The Gates, check out our interview with Jon Shafer from earlier in the year.