Spicy Take: More Games Should Be Released Before They're Finished
Oh this game’s not ready yet? That’s just fine with me, I’ll check it out anyways. This is what I’m saying to all you game developers out there. Rockstar, Bethesda, Nintendo, I know you’re all avid Cracked readers. And this is my plea to you to release more games in Early Access. It’s becoming standard practice for many games to release their precious babies out into the world while they’re still developing. This may sound overeager and detrimental to some, but it’s less like having a see-through womb and more like sending your toddler to a diverse and prestigious early childhood learning center.
The goal of games, the goal of art, is to connect with your audience. But luckily for games (unlike a lot of boring art), the goal is also to have a jolly good time. Give the people what they want already. And what do the people want? They’ll tell you themselves. Dune: Spice Wars and Baldur’s Gate 3 are two fantastic games that have both released in Early Access, and are all the better for it. Because the community is in dialogue with the devs.
Dune: Spice Wars is a fantastic real time strategy game and developer Shiro Games released the game in early access knowing that community feedback would play into the next stages of their development. Should they focus on multiplayer first? Or are fans more interested in a campaign mode? There’s only one way to find out. Why sink hundreds of development and design hours into something that won’t resonate with players? Isn’t it better to throw some chum out into the ocean and see what the sharks like first?
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game even more complex and highly detailed than Spice Wars and it’s been out in Early Access since 2020. And with each patch and update and glitch found, it gets closer to absolute perfection. Even that most loved and most hated of games Fortnite was in Early Access for an unseemly amount of time.
The practicalities of playtesting a game and/or stress testing servers for online games is staggering. You need a lot of people spending a lot of hours under a vast array of circumstances in order to fully know every nook and cranny of your game. For studios big and small, that means added cost and potentially years of extra work. But if Big Daddy Studio just gives us a little taste of the good stuff, i.e. gameplay, then we can let them know what works and what we just won’t stand for.
Early Access feels like a new way to make games. And for most developers, a better way.