UPDATE: Valve is investigating The War Z Steam forum after gamers complained they had been banned unfairly.
In a post on The War Z Steam forum, Valve's Al Farnsworth said several users had raised concern about censorship. "We take these complaints seriously and are investigating the issue," he wrote.
Farnsworth called on those affected to let Valve know. "There has been a lot of traffic in this forum - a new topic every minute for the last day and a half, with thousands of replies," he said. "All that makes moderation a very difficult task.
"If you have concerns or criticisms about the game, you are free to post those in this forum. However, please keep your posts on-topic and about the game. There's no reason to personally insult other posters, the developers, or the moderators. Please keep the discussion rules and guidelines in mind when posting."
Concern appears to be directed at "Kewk", who is accused of banning Steam forum users who criticise the controversial zombie survival shooter and deleting threads.
ORIGINAL STORY: The War Z developer Hammerpoint Interactive has issued an apology after gamers accused it of false advertising.
Earlier this week the zombie survival shooter went on sale on Steam, Valve's distribution platform. It quickly rose to the top of the sales chart, but gamers seized on the product description, accusing it of misleading potential customers.
In a thread on Reddit users highlighted a number of features that were listed as being in the game when they were not, including rentable private servers, a skill system and a friends list.
The Steam product page promised multiple maps ranging in size from 100 to 400 square kilometres. Currently, the game includes just one map 100 square kilometres in size. The Steam product description said 100 people can play per server. Currently, only 50 can.
In a post on The War Z forum executive producer Sergey Titov admitted Hammerpoint made a mistake with the Steam product page and apologised to those who "misread" it.
“As you all know we launched the game on Steam yesterday,” he wrote. “Okay - we're number one top grossing game on Steam right now - thank you guys for your support.
“At the same time it was clear that there were a number of customers that felt that information about the game was presented in a way that could have allowed for multiple interpretations.
“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.
“We also want to extend our apologies to all players who misread information about game features.
“At the end of the day our goal is to serve our players as best as we can, and we love when you guys steer us into the right way of doing it!”
Following the internet uproar over the game's launch on Steam, the project page was amended to shift the highlighted features into the upcoming features section. The claim about 100 players per server remains, however.
In an interview with GameSpy, Titov said those who feel they've been misled should contact Valve and ask for a refund. But he did so through gritted teeth: “I'm sure there'll be people who will look into small details and will say, 'no I was misled,' where in fact they imagined something to themselves without checking details first,” he said.
“I'm sure that Steam have its refund policies that should handle those situations.”
Those who bought the game from the War Z website direct and want a refund are advised to follow the contact details on their receipt.
Many have insisted The War Z was not in a fit state to be released on Steam in he first place. Hammerpoint described it as a “Foundation Release”, meaning it's in a state where the developer can stop calling it a beta. It vowed to add more features over the coming months.
In a separate, earlier post on The War Z forum, Titov addressed the controversy around the game, which has been accused of being a cynical cash-in of DayZ, the popular ArmA 2 mod created by Dean “Rocket” Hall at Bohemia Interactive Studio.
“What's about all that hate toward The War Z?” he asked.
Answering, Titov raised the results of a recent survey that generated over 100,000 responses with a 93 per cent approval rating. 1.5 per cent said they hated the game.
Apparently 30 per cent of War Z players have played DayZ. 70 per cent of War Z players have never played DayZ and five per cent had never heard about DayZ before looking into The War Z. These percentages amount to 105 per cent - we assume the five per cent mentioned is of the 70 per cent.
“This means most of our players are new to the genre of zombie survival,” Titov continued. “They either like zombie games, or they like MMOs or they like survival games. They do not play The War Z because they've been fans of DayZ or even played it.”
Then, he addressed the “few groups of players who don't like us for what we're doing”.
Titov sorts these players into two camps: one, “extreme DayZ fanboys” and two, players for whom The War Z didn't match their expectations.
On the former: ”I really envy DayZ creators for having such loyal players, yet I don't think we can do anything. Yes we've announced the game right before DayZ mod reached its prime and it started losing popularity after that. And yes, The War Z and DayZ themes are similar. Heck, both projects are using same reference to other products in their titles.
"So, if I'll be a DayZ fanboy, I'll be royally pissed off at The War Z. Especially since they won't be able to do anything about it, all they can do is spread lies and false information about game. They just love to omit obvious facts and bend words.”
Titov said The War Z managed to get “super popular despite any negativity those people try to spread”.
“I mean, the game IS a big success for a small indie, self funded development team. It's nowhere near success stories like Minecraft, but at same time we're just two months old.”