Two days before Gun Media was set to unleash their highly anticipated multiplayer survival horror Friday The 13th The Game to the public, videos and streams of the game hit the internet in force. The title even managed to topple League of Legends and Hearthstone to claim the coveted #1 spot on Twitch.
For many fans this was their first look at the game and so far people have been loving it. There’s just one issue, for the fans who backed Friday The 13th and have been waiting for two years to play it, seeing a horde of streamers and YouTubers get first access was extremely disappointing.
To Gun Media’s credit, once comments from angry backers started to pour in they quickly stepped up to explain the decision over on their forums. Creative Director Wes Keltner explained that due to shifts in the game industry, content creators such as streamers and YouTuber’s currently rival more traditional press outlets in audience interaction. Where members of press typically receive early access to new titles to write reviews and drum up interest more and more developers are learning to leverage the power of content creators as well.
As Friday The 13th The Game Co-Creator, Ronnie Hobbs explained in a Twitter comment, “Like it or not, Streamers are considered Press.” Most backers didn’t like it.
While it seems like giving backers access at the same time as press would be an easy fix for the situation, Keltner explained that the process is hardly simple. The game exists as two separate packages on Steam. One that opens on release day and a separate one for Media. When it comes time for the developers to request keys, Steam only allows them a finite amount of designated Press keys for marketing.
This was collaborated by another Tweet from Hobbs where he mentioned that with the teams limited amount of Press codes, “We wouldn’t have enough to give to 10% of total backers, even if we were allowed to.”
The Times, They Are A Changing
Keltner’s forum post met with mixed reactions. While plenty of fans understood what the team was trying to do from a marketing standpoint, they weren’t necessarily happy about it. Particularly in one reported circumstance where a Streamer who wasn’t familiar with the franchise referred to Tommy Jarvis’ character as “Ben.”
Of course, by this time tomorrow backers will have received their keys and be playing right along with the press. Even so, backers have pointed out that due to the game’s progression system anyone who started early will have an advantage over the rest of the players. Despite attempts from Wes’ to downplay the advantage from getting perks unlocked faster, (pointing out that the game isn’t competitive) backers are still sour over being left behind in the grind.
If nothing else, players will be able to vent their frustrations on early access Streamers and each other when the game releases tomorrow. In the meantime, backers will have to temper their frustrations and avoid spoilers. Rumor has it a few intrepid players have already discovered how to kill Jason, which had been one of the dev’s most closely guarded secrets.