When a game launch isn’t going well, it’s easy for dissatisfied fans to dismiss a developer’s efforts as half-hearted or, worse, claim their sole purpose was a quick buck. In reality, as the complexity and demands of developing a modern game continue to increase, more and more triple-A releases are meeting internet crowds armed with pitchforks and torches, ready to crucify anyone who bows to their review-bombing and Negatively opposes social media campaigns.
godfall, Developed by Counterplay Games and published by Gearbox Publishing, the looter slasher happens to be one of those games. However, there is another side to the story. A site where a dedicated community keeps playing happily godfall since it was released in November 2020. A community that eschews spit and irritation and instead offers constructive criticism that the developer could respond to.
We’re almost a year and a half away from that Godfalls poorly received start. During this time, Counterplay didn’t just walk away and move on to a new project. Instead, they continued to tweak and refine godfall based on criticism, both constructive and not, in an effort to make it a better experience all around. The hard work of the team has led to this Originally and lightbringer updates as well as the Fire & Darkness expansion, all of which received positive feedback for the improvements they brought to the title.
Now with the free sublime Update that includes even more feedback from the community and the Godfall: Ultimate Edition As the player base expands to include the Xbox series of consoles and Steam for PC, we were able to ask Counterplay Games a few questions about their reaction to the initial receipt of godfall and how it affected their post-launch development.
MMORPG: Console launch titles always attract more attention than a regular release. Looking back, do you think the decision to release Godfall as a PS5 exclusive launch title raised players’ expectations of Godfall?
Daniel Nordlander, Game Director for godfall, Counterplay Games: We were honored to be a part of the launch of PlayStation 5. The ability to share a game with the community at the same time as a new console means you’ll be among the first developers to have a chance to explore new technologies and find creative ways to incorporate them into gameplay.
MMORPG: Similarly, do you think Godfall being exclusive to the Epic Games Store at launch had any impact on its initial acceptance?
Daniel: We were thrilled with the response and reception we received from the Epic Games Store community upon launch. We always strive to meet players where they are. So when we were given the option to expand, it was only natural to support it on Xbox and Steam.
MMORPG: Have time constraints imposed by the release of Godfall within the PS5 launch window put the team in a situation where they had to trim content or force game mechanics without pushing the right touches out the door? Would a few extra months have given you the time you needed to release a more robust game?
Daniel: Game development is always difficult, especially developing during such a difficult time around the world. Our intention with godfall is to always provide the best possible experience and we are proud of the game we released in November 2020. We are thankful for that godfall Players who understood the challenges the team faces in a pandemic/fully remote world and hope they continue to support us.
MMORPG: How long did it take you to realize you weren’t meeting consumer expectations when reviews and player critiques poured in? How did this change your post-launch plans?
Daniel: Criticism is part of game development. Not only the players have expectations, but also we as developers. Most of the time, the harshest criticisms come internally because we’re always striving to be even better. However, these criticisms drive us to actively listen to players and then do our part godfall the best game it can be.
In developing the Exalted Update and Ultimate Edition, we sifted through mountains of forums, thousands of social media posts, hundreds of hours of videos, and reviews. We aim to address as many of the recurring hints we receive from players as our development resources allow us to deliver with high quality.
MMORPG: Over the past year and a half, every major update has fixed bugs and other concerns that players had with the original game mechanics. At the same time, you could also deliver new game systems and content. Was it difficult to find a balance between improving existing features and creating new content in a way that not only placates current players but also brings new players into the Godfall community?
Daniel: You work hard to give back to your core community that stands with you in the trenches every day, but you also work hard to get new players to experience the game you put your heart and soul into put your soul. Most of the time, this core community will be your loudest advocates and will drive new players to your game. We love our Godfall community and hope even more players will love our title when we launch on Steam and Xbox.
MMORPG: When you receive feedback from players, how do you implement their ideas or address their concerns without losing your initial vision of what Godfall should be as a game?
Daniel: It’s a constant dialogue within the team; We’re also Godfall players ourselves, and we often find that many of the community requests completely align with our own vision of how to do things next to improve the experience. In our weekly design meetings, we have a “Bullshit of the Week” topic for discussion – it can be anything that we feel is causing friction in the game that we feel we need to make a change. Often it comes from us playing the game, but often we’ve brought clips of streamers and community members playing to show where they’ve suffered the most. This is the best way for us to target a solution. The point is, it doesn’t feel like we’re being pulled in different directions here. We’re always striving to evolve the Godfall experience together with the community, and are very proud of the changes we’ve made to best serve our players.
MMORPG: As Godfall reaches new audiences on Steam and the Xbox ecosystem, what are the biggest changes and additions you’ve made with the Exalted update to overcome the voice of naysayers from the original Godfall launch?
Daniel: Counterplay has reviewed countless forms of player feedback and requests, two of the most popular being to bring the game to Steam and Xbox. Expanding the player base is just part of our ongoing effort to perfect Godfall. The Exalted update includes some key fan-requested features and improvements, including more depth and identity for each of the 12 Valorplates, an overhauled story experience, the ability to recover from knockdowns and revive downed players in co-op, and new inventory management -Tools like valorplate loadouts. All of these are truly transformative additions that long-time fans and newcomers alike will appreciate.
MMORPG: Personally, I’m really excited for the revamped story and to see what lore has been added to the campaign, but do you have anything to say that might entice veteran players with the new Valorplate shards and other new endgame content waiting? go back through the new story instead?
Daniel: We’re excited too! There are several major additions to the campaign, but from a strictly lore-friendly perspective, there is now a greater presence of Macros, the main villain who appears at key intervals throughout story missions to taunt Orin and prepare for the final confrontation . Likewise, there is also a larger presence of Orin’s allies, including two Valorian Knights, Ravenna and Soras, who will accompany and fight alongside Orin at certain story moments, as well as appearing in the Sanctum between missions. These additions add plenty of new dialogue that expands the world and characters of Godfall in interesting and dynamic ways.
MMORPG: With the Exalted update marking the end of your mission to add all the key features the community has requested to Godfall, what’s next? Will the team take some time to evaluate the Steam and Xbox launch feedback, or are they already working on the next major update?
Daniel: We will continue to listen to the community and ensure the launch on the new platform is smooth. In addition, we’ll be happy to share future news with you when the time comes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/interviews/godfall-interview-talking-post-launch-challenges-with-game-director-daniel-nordlander-2000124773 Godfall Interview: Talking Post Launch Challenges with Game Director Daniel Nordlander