"I lose sleep over it." That's what executive producer Chris Wynn told me at GDC when I asked if he worried about a bug disrupting a King of the Kill pro tournament with money on the line. After all, while King of the Kill is a global top seller on Steam and one of the most highly watched games on Twitch—and has been holding its Invitational tournaments with cash prizes since 2015—it's also still in Early Access.
Daybreak Games recently announced its Fight For The Crown team tourney scheduled for March, in which $300,000 will be up for grabs. And, when not losing sleep over the possibility a of an Early Access bug affecting the outcome of the tournament, the King of the Kill development team is working daily to prevent such an occurrence.
"We have all of the PCs that we use in the tournament in our office," Wynn said, "and we set them all up and we do two, three playtests every day where we get 75 people down there playing the game. We track the bugs, we look at the bugs, and we prioritize them to get the one fixed that we can get fixed. And then we try to put in safeguards that, if something happens, we can deal with it or we have a system in place that can recover."
Wynn also told me there are rules for competitors, where "if something catastrophic happens at the beginning [of the match], it's a fresh start, everyone out."
King of the Kill was originally scheduled to leave Early Access on September 20, 2016, but just a few days before its official launch, Daybreak announced that the game needed more time to "bake" due to the complicated nature of the multiplayer battle royale shooter.
"It turned out to be a little harder to balance all that than we expected," Wynn said on the decision to remain in Early Access. "Ultimately, it's complexity. So, when we were looking at what we had in September, when we were planning for September, ideally we really thought we could get everything we wanted to get [into the game] to a certain level of quality in that time."
Update: Chris Wynn added, via email, the following clarification about the decision to remain in Early Access longer than originally planned:
"When it came down to it, it wasn’t meeting ours or our players’ expectations. We want to make sure the game hits a certain level of quality, and when we do launch out of Early Access, we want to make sure the game is fair, consistent, predictable, and fun."
The Fight For The Crown tournament will take place in March but you'll have to wait for the results until April, when it will air on The CW.