Earth: Year 2066, a $20 early access game, pulled from Steam
For better or worse, Steam is becoming an open publishing platform. That does wonders for the variety of games we get to choose from, but, as is the case with the mobile app stores, it also creates issues of quality control. Steam lets you pay for some pretty bad games, so when it removes one like Earth: Year 2066 from the store, you know that something went terribly, terribly wrong.
“On Steam, developers make their own decisions about promotion, features, pricing and publication,” Valve said in a community post. “However, Steam does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games. We have removed Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access on Steam. Customers who purchased the game will be able to get a refund on the store page until Monday May 19.”
We've seen Valve take extreme measures like this before with The War Z. As was the case with that game, it sounds like Valve pulled Earth: Year 2066 more because of how it presented itself than its overall quality.
Earth: Year 2066 sold for $20 on Early Access, and by all accounts was a broken hot mess. Developer Killing Day Studio, who goes by Muxwell on Steam, claims it’s a first-person open-world game inspired by Half-Life and Fallout, but it is barely recognizable as a game in videos. Another similarity with The War Z case is that Muxwell used images he didn't own to promote the game without the artist’s permission.
Worst of all is that Muxwell deleted complaints from users about the game from its community page, eventually wiping all discussions and renaming the forums “the troll tavern.”
There are a bunch other painfully bad decisions on Muxwell’s part that are chronicled in this video from The Escapist’s Jim Sterling.
The lesson here, as always, is that it’s better to be honest about your mistakes than to try and cover them up. Ashes Cricket 2013 is another game that was pulled from Steam recently, but in that case publisher 505 Games explained where it went wrong and apologized. It doesn't make publishing a broken game okay, but at least that way we can maybe forgive.