The alpha test for MMO Camelot Unchained, expected in August, has been delayed. In a post on the game's website, company leader Mark Jacobs apologised and revealed a new target date of February 2015.
He also said that developer City State Entertainment will periodically open the game to alpha testers between now and then "for everything from small, focused tests, to more massive stress tests". This will not mean servers are running all day, all week, but in focused bursts here and there. This will be known as the Pre-Alpha Testing Period.
"Call it what you like," began Jacobs, "we are late, behind schedule, etc. No sugar-coating it, we are late. We are deeply sorry that we have to delay the opening of Alpha Testing. "While the alpha test date, like all of our dates, was 'estimated', that does not mean that we should be satisfied with just saying 'we're late' and move on."
The reason for the delay was CSE not being able to hire programmers quickly enough. But those programmers are there now and making better-than-expected progress. CSE also held off hiring additional people until those programmers were in place, which meant "we have also spent less money than we projected". That's an important factor for a crowd-funded game such as Camelot Unchained.
"We could have cut corners and made some sleazy design decisions and said 'alpha begins now!!!' but we won't do that," he said. "We know that we have to hold ourselves to a high standard because of the faith and commitment that our backers have shown us and we plan to reward that ... ."
An Alpha Guarantee has been established whereby, if CSE has to delay the alpha test beyond February 2015, backers will be compensated, with a mixture of Founder's Points, CSE Points and free days of subscription. The rewards will be appropriate to the tier you backed the game at. "If we do not launch alpha testing by the end of February, we will be late and will follow-through on our guarantee," promised Jacobs.
He posted a checklist of things CSE is working on leading up to pre-alpha testing and then closed by saying: "I hope our openness and willingness to put our money where our mouths are will go a long way."
Camelot Unchained has a loose release date of Christmas 2015.