HomeNewsAlien Scumbags release was an "accident"

Alien Scumbags release was an “accident”

Alien Scumbags has officially been available to buy in some form for over three years, which may come as a surprise to those who look at the game’s Steam store page. That’s because it only released in June 2020 on Steam. I spoke to Monster Finger Games lead developer, James Ross, about the Steam launch as a part of an upcoming exclusive interview with Pixel Hideout. During the interview, he revealed that he released the game on Steam “by accident”.

When I asked James what advice he would give himself regarding Alien Scumbags he stated that it was too dark. OK, fair enough. But then he revealed something that was a little more interesting. He said that he would make sure the game released in Early Access, rather than as a full release. James theorized that by having a full release rather than an Early Access one, Alien Scumbags suffered. He thinks that the mistake led to not being able to build a “Steam Community” around the game.

“Also I would make sure to release in Early Access as I released it full by accident, seriously rookie error on my part”

James Ross, Monster Finger Games

So what led to this whole mix-up? First, he notes that he could have handled the botched release much better. He adds that as the game was already available to purchase on other platforms, he wanted a Steam Early Access release as quickly as possible. In hindsight, he notes that he should have waited to build a Steam store page in order to collect wishlists.

“I wanted to release as quickly as possible into Early Access, I now know I should have had a Steam page set up long before release to build wishlists.”

James Ross, Monster Finger Games

Who does James ultimately blame for the mistake? Well, he thinks both Steam and himself share the blame. He admits that he was the one who released the game in full. During the interview, he never shies away from that. But he also argues that Steam was “super complex” in comparison to other stores. Alien Scumbags went through the review process on Steam “several times” and kept failing. When the game finally passed review, James clicked the button to release it in Early Access. But, Steam then told him that to do that, they would have to review the game again. He notes that in hindsight he should have just bitten the bullet, but he didn’t and that’s what ultimately led to the full release.

“I went through the review process several times as the game page kept failing for various reasons. Finally, the game passed and that’s when I noticed there was a button to release to Early Access. I clicked it and it came up saying I would have to do the review process all over again. In hindsight I know that I should have just pushed the release back gone back into review, but I didn’t and that’s why the game came out as a full release.”

James Ross, Monster Finger Games

Alien Scumbags full release Steam store page.

Ok, so he made a mistake. But he seemed, to realize fairly early on that he had, why not go back and fix it? Well, apparently, he did. He told me that he asked Steam “a few months in” and was told that there was no way to go back from full release to Early Access. James thinks there was a way, though he argues he would have had to “game the system”. He could have simply re-released the game, this time in Early Access, via a new store page. He didn’t want to do this though and stuck with the original full release.

“I asked a few months in and was told there was no way to revert back. I didn’t want to game the system and have another big release, I simply just wanted to have the status changed to Early Access.”

James Ross, Monster Finger Games

So, how could this have been avoided? We’ve already discussed how James himself could have waited longer to release his game. He’s also run us through the possibility of a re-release. But realistically, neither of these were viable options given the circumstances. So how about on the Steam end? James argues that Steam should be more user friendly. He says that he wasn’t expecting to “have to complete 3 checklists of [information] before being able to release”. As above, he also noted that other store pages are much more forgiving.

I feel it would be better if Steam was more user friendly, it’s tough to get around in my opinion and I certainly didn’t expect to have to complete 3 checklists of info before being able to release. Once you have missed your chance it’s hard to recover from that I have found.

James Ross, Monster Finger Games

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem as though this impacted the games development plan. James argues he’s “just as passionate about the project as before”. He also confirmed that the game is still being updated, with a final boss and a new level still to come. He’s also treating Alien Scumbags as though the game were in Early Access in regards to its pricing. He told me that the game would be increasing in price as future content is released. The final price is set to be $9.99, a dollar more than the current price.

Stay tuned to Pixel Hideout for more news from Monster Finger Games, as well as a full interview transcript next week. In the meantime, you can pick-up Alien Scumbags on Steam for £6.19.

What do you think about the Steam Early Access process? Tweet us @PixelHideout on Twitter, or post your answers in the comments section below.

Want to join Pixel Hideout? Find out how to do exactly that here!

Ryan Archerhttps://pixelhideout.com/
Pixel Hideout Site Lead.
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