‘Dark Matter’ Publisher: Game is Meant to be Episodic
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 16:10
“Dark Matter” has had a bumpy road to development. The game was originally slated as a Kickstarter project, but secured less than one third of its goal of 50,000 British pounds. The game has since been released on Steam for $14.99 as of last week, but there’s a problem.
As the 2D survival horror game stands now, there is no real ending. Instead, after 14 levels of progression, players who “complete” the title are treated to an abrupt non-ending, a wall of text and an admission that the story is not yet complete. It’s an unsatisfying “to be continued” curtain call in a game that makes no attempt to inform players of what they’re getting into.
“The idea was then formed to make “Dark Matter” an episodic series, with episodes selling at a budget price of $14.99,” Erik Schreuder, CEO of “Dark Matter” publisher Iceberg Interactive said in a Steam forum titled “State of the game: Clearing up any confusion.”
“The first installment is what has launched recently on Steam and is simply called ‘Dark Matter,’” he added.
According to Shreuder, the original plan for the game was to release a finished project at $30—back when it was still part of the Kickstarter campaign. Instead, the game is being split into multiple parts, “a la Telltale Games,” “The Walking Dead” and “The Wolf Among Us.”
However, the Steam store page for the game makes no mention of the fact that the game is not a complete story. That means anyone purchasing the game from the digital distribution platform is not being given the proper details about what their money is going toward.
This issue has angered many in the games industry, most of whom are concerned over “Dark Matter’s” certification on the Steam platform while other, more deserving games languish in the store’s Greenlight voting program. Many are wondering how the game managed to slip past certification without the proper documentation on its store page, especially after bypassing Greenlight completely.
Former writer and current marketing director at Inceptor Entertainment and Managing Director at Universal Resources LLC said over Twitter: “That ‘Dark Matter’ story pisses me off. And it takes a lot to piss me off. There’s indie devs all over the world who would KILL to be on Steam[.]”
Several months ago, Steam launched an “Early Access” program. In this subsection of the service, developers may put up unfinished alpha and beta builds of software for purchase. The idea is that anyone purchasing the build knows what their money is going towards—helping to finish an incomplete project.
“Dark Matter” does not appear in the Early Access of Steam’s storefront.
Schreuder freely admits that the ending of “Dark Matter” in its current state “may cause confusion and is not satisfactory,” (possibly because it doesn’t have one and they forgot to tell anybody) and that they are working on a “more conclusive and satisfying ending.”