After so many years since its successful Kickstarter, many (but not all) believed Confederate Express to be a vapor ware scam that would never materialize. And yet, the game is now available for preorder on Steam.
No, that isn’t a typo; a page for the game, along with a new trailer and a slew of screen shots, are currently available for view by the public. Better still, it has a firm release date of April 10 through the platform, once unthinkable amid the controversy surrounding the game’s creators, Maksym Pashanin and his brother.
That said, this raises some questions: Will this be the game its original backers wanted? Will it be worth the wait, especially after so little information has been released regarding the game in recent years?
As usual with Pashanin and his game, the answers are anything but straight forward.
One Wild Ride
The game still follows the skelleton of the premise presented by the Kickstarter: As a well armed individual looking to deliver a package, players must fight their way through waves of enemies with a variety of weapons. Each subsection is full of enemies, loot and world events to be experienced by the player, and with each delivery more dangerous than the last, there’s an ever growing challenge for players to overcome through skill and determination.
The concept is still an interesting one, and by all accounts looks to be implemented according to what was promised. Within the game’s top-down 2-D art style, players can blast shambling henchmen to bits with rifle fire, incinerate multiple cyborg minions with a molotov and scramble through danger-filled zones for new and improved weapons to take on threats with. Likewise, the game shows an impressive fluidity in its graphics and gameplay. Bullets, explosives and gore fly around the screen in chaotic fashion, making for an action packed visual feast.
Delivering on Good Will
These things work in the game’s favor, and its good on the developers for putting out a product that appears legitimate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exactly solve the missteps of the Pashanin brothers in the past, and if anything, makes some of them worse.
Aside from the Air BnB squatting fiasco, no updates were given on the project for over three years, with backers left in the dark over whether their investment actually went toward the game or merely into the pockets of its assumed developers. The two have since apologized for this, but that does little to remedy the issue of whether customers will trust the game’s promotional material isn’t front-loaded to sell a lemon.
This is most apparent in the final product. While the Kickstarter originally promised randomly generated worlds with dozens of different characters to choose from, the final product offers only one playable character within a linear experience. Though this is an understandable cut in scope to accommodate for a two-person team’s development workload, this wasn’t revealed to backers until last September; this coming after their first update in over three years, where they said they intended to keep backers in the loop on development.
As such, it’s hard not to wonder what else they’ve omitted from telling backers and customers. For example, the trailer doesn’t use any audio from the game, instead featuring what can be assumed to be one of the title’s tracks. Though this might not be indicative of the finished product, it’s hard not to wonder with all of the other lies and let downs surrounding the project.
Passing on This Package
More than anything though, Confederate Express is coming as an apology too little too late. It’s been a long time since Confederate Express found its way to Kickstarter, exciting perspective 2D action game supporters; It’s been a long time since its developers gained widespread ire for their dickish behavior; and it’s been a long time since everyone wrote the title off as a scam and a failed promise. After everything that’s happened, there are few that would be willing to give this game a chance and forgive all that its developers have done, and for everyone else, they’re more than justified to move onto better offerings.