'War Z' Game Producer Lists Non-Existent Features, Blames Customers' Eyesight And Overactive Imagination
from the self-immolation-as-'customer-service' dept
For zombie-shooter "The War Z," everything that could be handled badly was, starting with a rushed development cycle that resulted in a game that underdelivered and overpromised. Things went from bad to worse when executive Sergey Titov decided to blame his games' issues on the now-angry customers.
The first misstep was releasing the game in beta state while still expecting customers to pay between $14.99-49.99 for the dubious privilege of traipsing around an underpopulated MMO with only the promise of more and better features somewhere down the road, most of which will require additional payment. Considering the game went from alpha to "worth actual money" in under two months (beta began on October 10th), the supposedly "worth paying for" version seemed a bit, well, unpolished, to say the least.
It seems that the description put on Steam was a touch… exaggerated, perhaps listing what the game is eventually planned to include, rather than what’s in there right now. And it didn’t even mention that the game is not yet beyond beta. Claiming to feature “areas between 100 to 400 square kilometers”, the game in fact currently only has one map, and it’s 72 square kilometers.* It listed itself as having private servers, which it does not. And it sold itself as having skills to buy with experience points, despite the game having no skills at all. An imaginary “hardcore mode” was listed, and it claimed the complete rubbish that 100 players could join a server when the limit is 50.*According to PCGamesN, the actual size of the map is considerably less than that -- 9.7417 sq km.
Pretty much nothing was true other than you could, if you so desired, throw money away on a beta version masquerading as finished product. Naturally, customers were unhappy and took the the forums to express their displeasure. That's when executive producer Sergey Titov waded into the fray, offering the sort of apology that lays the blame at the feet of those being "apologized" at.
“We’ve taken steps to correct this and format information presented on our Steam Store page in a way so it provides more clear information about game features that are present in the Foundation Release and what to expect in the coming weeks.Rock, Paper, Shotgun suggests this might be a translation issue (ha!). Perhaps Titov meant "miswrote." Gamespy followed up on Titov's statement, giving the producer a chance to actually apologize for the missing features. No dice.
We also want to extend our apologies to all players who misread infromation about game features.”
“I’m sure there’ll be people who will look into small details and will say “no I was mislead,” where in fact they imagined something to themselves without checking details first.”RPS thoughtfully grabbed a screenshot of the empty promises for posterity, giving all of us a chance to "imagine" a set of features that aren't actually included in "The War Z."
Titov also added: hey, if you don't like it, go get a refund. Well, sure. That's what the process is for, even if getting a refund for digital purchases is about as fun as playing an insta-fail escort mission that involves herding story-dependent cats through a catnip-laced minefield.
So, naturally, people made attempts to get their money back, only to find out that the terms of service (whatever wasn't copied directly from the "League of Legends" terms of service) now contained language stating that agreeing to the TOS waived their right to a refund.
ONCE YOU AGREE TO THIS TERMS OF SERVICE AND THE END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR THE GAME (THE "EULA") AND SERVICE FOR THE GAME COMMENCES, YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ELIGIBLE FOR A REFUND FOR ANY AMOUNTS OR OTHER CONSIDERATION PAID BY YOU FOR THE USE (OR FUTURE USE) OF THE GAME CLIENT OR THE SERVICE.All of this added up to "The War Z" being removed from Steam and Steam itself is offering refunds to unhappy customers.
Because of these actions, Titov's reputation is currently being burned to the ground (often with Titov himself pouring the gasoline) and sown with salt, something that could have been avoided with an actual apology. Kotaku's roundup of news surrounding "The War Z" grows longer by the day, detailing further hole-digging by the producer, including asking forum users to "upvote" his game at Metacritic (where it currently carries a 1.5/10 rating) as well as preventing members of the game's Steam message board from detailing why they have quit the game.
All it would have taken is for the producer to state the game had been prematurely released and pulled it back until it could actually meet the specifications it posted. Or failing that, released with an altered, realistic set of features. Instead, Titov decided to accuse customers of "misunderstanding" a completely unambiguous features list.