Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
In this update we will wrap up what have been going on during the last few months, and celebrate the new 1.1 release. But I also want to take some of your time to give you a status from me personally.
As we mentioned back at release time, we wanted to pledge towards adding some new features. This grew fast into a “lets give everyone a small xmas gift as well”.
Our level designers took it upon themselves to create some new sectors, more story and more quests. Russian and Polish localization has been added, and the public level editor is updated with the latest content. They also added the new lighthouse mechanics which is pretty cool.
To show our good will and commitment, we decided to give this all away for free to all of you. So not only did we add all the pledged new content and features, but also more cool gameplay.
Take a look at the changelog here to see all the features, content and other details of what has been added since launch:
Launch and Reception
As most of you by now have discovered, JAF launched end of October. The reception has been all over the board ranging from “Absolutely love it” to extreme hatred by a small rabid core group.
While we do love the positive feedback, it is the negative one that has taken up most bandwidth online and internally at our end.
The entire situation simply makes me sad beyond words. Not only for us and our own future, but also for you and the future of Jagged Alliance.
Besides some rough edges in the game where most of those have been fixed by now, the major feedback issue really stems from expectations. And I think expectations from “outsiders” that have not been following JAF development as a Kickstarter project on a small budget, but expectations from hardcore JA fans expecting JAF to be the next JA3.
As you and we know, this project was never meant to be a replacement for JA2. It was a project where we as a fan community could in unity get JA back to its core roots of great TBS combat, modding and create a foundation for keeping the brand alive. It was deliberately set as a prequel, but it is measured as a sequel.
Stepping back and looking at JAF as a game, I think it’s a great little JA game. Its not a 9/10 – not a 8/10 either. But it has a good solid combat system that screams JA, and an ok story that has good elements. Modding wise it is miles ahead of where JA2 was when it was released. From a full blown level editor to external accessible dialogs, quests, access to LUA scripting etc we really think there is a great basis for lots of content updates in the future through community efforts.
But – we failed to do expectation management towards people expecting JA3. And there is nothing we can do at this point to please those guys.
What we can do and what we have done over the last months since release is to do our best to address whatever else has been coming up as negative feedback.
There is now improved stealth, more weapons, weapon attachments, better initial levels, a nice shop interface, improved AI and lots of smaller bugfixes and improvements.
Looking down the list of issues brought up and improvement suggestions, we have been able to improve on almost everything in the last months.
But at the same time, the gamers or even you as backers have not yet given us credit for this work by revising your reviews on Steam. We still have user reviews that are at this point hurting sales – and thus the possibility of doing future updates. Things hang in a thin thread due to bad sales with bad user review. Heck – I would not buy a game myself that has 40% positive on Steam.
If you really think JAF is only worth 40% positive, then so be it. I cannot change your mind then, and we will be forced to stop here. But with only a few changed reviews or a good handful of more positive reviews, the new gamer perception would improve a lot and possibly gamers will give the game another chance. And with improved sales, we can again do more updates and features.
Give the game a fresh look and a positive review if you like it!
Digital and Physical Rewards
The rewards are the next thing on our list now.
For digital we will get those up for you on Humble as they get produced and finalized. That will happen ASAP.
Physical is as always more tricky. Read on.
As we are getting ready to put in the remaining orders for the manufacturing, we have been working hard on the logistics of quantities, production of goods, getting quotes and finding cheapest shipping options.
Let me just say, that this is utter nightmare to go through. And if we ever do another Kickstarter, we will keep it extremely simple and preferably digital only.
As mentioned in the last newsletter/update, we have to lock down production of goods and shipping.
This means that the 81 people NOT having responded yet with their address, and who were given a deadline back a month ago for this, will forfeit their physical rewards if they don’t reply NOW. We cannot produce and ship stuff individually in the future no matter your backer level or the reason for you not responding!
Together with this update we are turning off the option to change physical address. This means there is now a 48 hour window to still give us your address. We have tried contacting you through these updates, through emails and now this final message.
We also give a 48 hour notice for credit list updates in the game or on the website. If you haven’t responded there to the last deadline, here is the last call also for you! See how to enter that in update 48
Don't mind the deadline set, if you follow the link for the credit list sign-up form.
With production of the goods starting up, we plan to start shipping early this new year. Due to shipping costs, everything has to be produced first before we can package and ship, and it will still take weeks of producing the last items before we are at that point.
December 3rd bC filed for insolvency procedure and that is very unfortunate. For JAF as a game it has no immediate consequences, as our license agreement covers this scenario. JAF will live on and be available for sale.
What happens with the Jagged Alliance IP itself is up in the air, and we have no idea ourselves.
On the physical rewards side it puts us in a bit of a troubled spot, as we had a deal with them helping on the merchandise production. They have much more experience in DVD production etc, and thus it made sense to have them help us do it.
That part now falls on us, but as written above we are trucking along on a early 2015 manufacturing/shipping. It all just takes more time to process, finding vendors, making orders, collecting it all, shipping it etc. So thank you for your patience!
On the development side of JAF, we are forced into a skeleton crew situation for now until we hopefully see improved user ratings of the game on Steam. Will the last months effort pay off in better reviews or not? If not, then we cannot commit to anything. If yes, then we can take another look at plans.
Short term though we are fixing some bugs and updating some of the documentation. Version 1.1 will also be put on Humble in DRM free version.
CEO, Full Control