On game releases and death bed wishes

There is a universal game development truth which lurks in what we all call milestones. The single, most terrifying milestone know to the gamedev man is The Release. A milestone, especially of The Release kind, means endless crunch, generously dedicated to polish stuff that otherwise was perfectly fine. Even if we are talking early access, it makes no difference: no Release is a true Release without crunch and stress.

We are supposed to release Heart. Papers. Border. in Steam early access in no more, no less than 24 days. We are not ready. I couldn’t care less. And that is because I love my players very, very much. Enough to understand that I should put our well being first, right now. And we are passing through some really complex s**t. 

You see, as awesome as loving as it is <3, the gamedev community is actually very well shielded. We actually thing that players know or care about release dates, early access, continuous development, games as a service, cross platform simultaneous launches, and other shiny names we like to use because they sound (and hence make us feel) cool.

But in all these shiny sounding names, we forget one thing, and that is to think about What We are Doing and For Whom and Why. And in a context of only Steam which has several dozen games released each day, it is quite presumptuous to assume that players know or care about your plans. So there is no barrier to be committed to quality, even if this means delays. Making games is hard, life happens, and we are committed to provide quality. Which is why we will ask for money for Heart. Papers. Border. precisely in the moment we feel comfortable to do that. Until then, ANYONE can get a free dev key and continuously (albeit slowly) updated builds.

Which brings me to death bed wishes.

I know it sounds grim, but its actually a very sobering exercise.

What would you regret doing, or not doing, on your death bed? Me? Not going the full way to be in the state I feel I’m best to tell my stories. Not taking the effort to fully grasp my power to make the games I really, profoundly want to make. Not making those games. Not telling my stories, Not doing my duty to do whatever I can for the generations to come, even if that little part I have to give to them is as trivial as a video game. Or – hopefully- a bunch of them.

But then again, I think games will change the world, just like books, radio and TV did in their time.