Dev Diary #22: Launch delay, QA and beta

Hey, remember that time when we were going to launch Legacy of the Elder Star in April? You know, the month that's ending today? Yeah, that was a nice plan. :(

The good news is, the game is essentially feature- and content-complete. I still need to add a few things to the settings menu, and there are plenty of balance and polish tweaks to make (there always are) but as of today the game is basically "done".

The bad news is, nobody knows about it. Well, not nobody, but not nearly enough people yet to ensure a successful launch. After pouring almost three years of my life and well over $100k into this project, it's imperative that I spend some time building up pre-launch awareness so that when launch day does arrive, there are enough customers ready and waiting to justify that investment. It would be a huge waste of all that time and money if I launched prematurely, with no awareness, and we ended up sinking into the bowels of Steam, never to be seen again.

So when ARE we launching? When it's ready, but probably in June. More to come.

There's one more challenge: I've pretty much spent myself dry getting this game done, which means I'm not in a position to hire a professional QA firm to do comprehensive bug testing. But an untested launch is absolutely unacceptable, so while Erik and I are going to be doing as much of our own QA as we can, I'm also opening up a call for beta testers.

All approved beta testers will receive a Steam key which will grant access to both the beta AND the final launch version. You'll also receive a free copy of the soundtrack (when it launches) and have the option to be listed in the credits as a tester. It's our way of saying thank you for providing this important support. <3

I know our industry has a sordid history of releasing broken games that make you feel like you paid $60 for the "privilege" of being some rich AAA studio's QA department. I hate that as much as you do, which is why I refuse to release an untested game... but it's also why I feel a little weird about crowdsourcing QA like this, because this should be the studio's responsibility.

But as a solo, bootstrapped indie who's running a company for the first time and didn't always make the very best decisions about scope and finances, I find myself without any other options right now. There are definitely some lessons-learned here, and I'm hoping we can launch with enough success that I'll get a chance to apply those lessons on the next game. ;)