When Driven Arts was able to relaunch and fund a scaled-down campaign for Days of War it seemed like their struggle for visibility in the WW2 shooter market was behind them. With a new campaign and a focus on early access, they easily surpassed their $20,000 goal, raising more than $68,500. Unfortunately, the rush to release the game on Steam Early Access may have hurt the project more than anyone expected.
Right from the start Days of War had to compete with the likes of Battalion 1944 from Bulkhead Interactive. Both studios wanted to release a highly competitive WW2 shooter in 2017. In order to get the jump on the competition, Driven Arts launched Days of War on Steam Early Access on January 26, 2017 for $24.99. According to their mixed reviews on Steam, the project may not have been ready to make this leap.
While early access titles are typically buggy (since they are technically incomplete) gamers who pay full price for the projects still expect a certain level of completion. They are fine with problems to an extent, but the demand to have things fixed is far more vocal than typical alpha or beta builds. Currently, many Steam users have written this early version of Days of War off as more trouble than it’s worth.
The developers have been steadily updating with hotfixes to correct the plethora of issues users are complaining about, but in the meantime the playerbase is dwindling. As more players are driven off by broken mechanics it becomes that much more difficult for the team to build the necessary community.
In a recent Steam update, Driven Arts commented that they’ve received many requests to offer a free weekend promotion to help grow the community. They also (wisely) decided to hold off on this gambit until the game was in a “more acceptable state.”
With the Kickstarter success in the past, the developers aren’t just dealing with the backer community anymore. Now they have actual, paying customers to answer to when things go wrong or delays happen. Where backers are usually more forgiving and willing to work with indie devs, customers want a (even in early access) mostly finished product. Hopefully Days of War will be able to catch up with these expectations before it’s too late.