Saturday, 13 September 2014

Transverse and Mechwarrior


So the recent news from PGI or piranha games about their new sci-fi MMO Transverse hasn't exactly gone over well with gamers.  The title was announced earlier this week as a crowd funded title that will focus on a massive world entirely populated by players and a minimum of NPC's.  The idea being that every mechanic, bartender, corporate suit and more are all themselves players who each make up the web of the Transverse universe.  It's ambitious and in my opinion a pipe dream that will never pan out, but honestly that is the least of PGI's problems.

PGI are the developers of Mechwarrior Online, a pretty good if not flawed game I have played for more than two years now.  It's development has been sketchy at best and features are somewhat slow to materialise which has created a community who love the IP, the potential of the title and it's mechanics but they do not love the people in charge of the development.  Numerous design decisions from the staff at PGI have created numerous gaffs that will likely never be forgotten by the community.  As it stands the game is about two years overdue for one of it's most important features, that being Community Warfare.  This mode is basically what we have now in titles like World of Tanks or Planetside 2, with player factions fighting for the NPC nations in a never ending war for dominance of the Inner Sphere.  It all sounds great but it has yet to appear after originally being slated for release three months after open beta launched, which was in 2012.

Looks a little too similar to Star Citizens Connie pictured below
Now the Transverse has been announced many Mechwarrior players are upset that a new title is being made and no doubt funded partially by them while MWO sits unfinished.  Transverse is currently looking for funding for stage one of it's project asking for around $500,000 to "take off" as the site puts it.  Apparently this stage will allow players to fly ships.....yeah honestly.  As of writing here the site currently sits at 86 backers who have cumulatively put in $7,230 of the half a million required, with 26 days remaining.  At that rate they will struggle to reach $100,000 by the end of the campaign.  It doesn't help that the ships look, to put it bluntly, shit.  Members of the Star Citizen community almost immediately recognised some of the designs as being very close to some of CIG's designs, namely the Cutlass and Constellation.  The backlash has been so bad that Transverse has actually united the fanboy factions of EVE, Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen to basically take the piss out of Transverse.  Fans of the game are being labelled as "Trannies" which although funny, I think is inappropriate given the fact it's a slur for people currently going through gender reassignment or have a preferred sense of style.

The Constellation by CIG
If all that wasn't bad enough the head of the community relations Niko Snow broke the rules of Reddit by advertising the game throughout the site while also banning anyone who was negative about PGI, MWO or Transverse.  This activity resulted in the entirety of PGI being banned from Reddit and now they are currently trying to get their bans lifted while blaming the infamous online group GOONS for the entire thing on Reddit. 

So overall PGI have a bad week PR wise and they haven't exactly healed any wounds caused with the MWO players.  I personally feel that as a developer they have been lucky to make a game based on a much beloved license and without it they would have closed shop a long time ago.  That said I do like Mechwarrior Online and would encourage anyone with a passing interest in games to check it out, it's fun and looks great but it does have it's issues and lack of features.  Now apparently we will have the much vaunted community warfare within the next ninety days.  Whether this transpires or not isn't the issue, the real issue is what happens when Transverse goes tits up?  The potential domino effect here is worrying and could end up being the beginning of the end for MWO.

I understand developers have to make games to keep making money and MWO does make money.  Every time they run a sale it makes cash.  Every time they announce new 'mech packs they make money and generally I think they do a decent job with the hero chassis 'mechs because I see them quite regularly.  Transverse however was the wrong game to announce.  We already have three big space exploration titles on the horizon in the form of Elite Dangerous which is being helmed by the father of space exploration gaming in the form of David Braben.  Star Citizen is being helmed by Chris Roberts who's resume for games design is impressive and his work speaks for itself.  Then there is no man's sky which is doing some truly unique things with modern gaming technology and programming.  Transverse is helmed by Bryan Ekman who has no real clout behind him and their idea is far from original.  I don't wish failure upon them for this project obviously, it would be nice to see them succeed like any developer but they don't do themselves any favours and I can't help but see the the Transverse becoming vapourware in the near future.

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