Yep, you read that title right.
Toronto developer Massive Damage Inc. has been working on a title called Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander. This title was part of the Square Enix collective, which is described as "your chance to shape games development and champion ideas that you'd like to become reality". Involving the community and the general gaming public has become more common over the last several years with the rise of indie gaming, but bigger publishers and companies have also been getting into the act as well, even if they they don't have creative control, and the game will be self published. Square Enix does provide some feedback and PR support to the game, which is nice to see. In particular, that's the case for Halcyon 6, the game that was kickstarted for $187,706 CAD, despite only targetting $40,000 CAD. But with it comes an interesting twist to the normal pre-order bonus.
If you pre-order Halcyon 6 right now for $19.99, you'll be able to play the beta weeks before the game comes out.....to early access. Yes, the game will be an early access title as well, with it's first act being available on launch in Early 2016 (as no specific date has been announced). It is hinted that the Backer Beta will be in late Feburary (with an alpha that seems to be concluded), which seems to be the same as what the pre-order of the game will give you (as said by the kickstarter update). The second and third act will come as updates to be included as development of the game continues. It's worth noting that the first Act is said to be largely complete for that portion of the game. It includes the storyline quests, 4 alien factions, a tech research tree with unlockable base and ship upgrades, randomized officers/galaxy/events, and officer specialization and progression, along with other items listed on the steam store page.
Linux users will have to wait until the official launch, as the early access will be PC/Mac only. However, as with all early access game, be cautious as the game is still in developmental phases. Massive Damage has indicated that they will have a roadmap for development that people can see and follow along with however. The price has risen from original estimates for the game, but the project did expand in scope considerable due to the amount financed via the kickstarter, allowing for stretch goals to expand the game, and the price will, according to the Early Access page, raise further on full release.
The game is expected to have base building, exploration, and roster management elements, along with combat and story events that will play out in Terran space. Halycon 6 refers to a derelict starbase left behind by a mysterious race, and the player's mission is to grab it and rebuild it. A gameplay preview has been released on Massive Damage Inc's YouTube channel, as seen below.https://youtu.be/hIHDQSM_ILE
I consider myself the indie guy of the TechRaptor family. I dedicate my Youtube channel to pretty much everything but triple A titles. But even this leaves a foul taste in my mouth. It feels like another step toward segmenting the production and development process, breaking it into pieces even when the finished product isn't ready. Early Access already asks a lot of a consumer to pay for blind trust in the developer, but to add a pre-order on that....It immediately turns me off to the title.
Do you think that pre-ordering an early access game is reasonable? Or is it taking it one step too far? Leave your comments below!