Crowdfunded WW2 shooter Battalion 1944 hit its Kickstarter goal almost two years ago, but its console versions are still nowhere to be seen - and fans have become restless.
"We did it. Battalion 1944 is now confirmed to be fully in development for Steam, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, bringing World War 2 into the next generation of video games!" developer Bulkhead Interactive wrote in February 2016.
But it is now November 2018, and little has been said of Battalion 1944's PS4 and Xbox One versions since. The last developer update on the game's Kickstarter is dated from this January, yet the campaign's comments page is still buzzing with activity - from dozens of console backers now asking for a refund.
Over the past few weeks we've been contacted by several people who backed the game in order to receive a console version. They want to know whether the game is still being developed for PS4 and Xbox One, and if so, when it might release. More than anything, they want to hear from Bulkhead about what has been taking so long.
These are questions I put to Bulkhead boss Joe Brammer today, as he and his team readies the game's PC version for its final release.
"We're currently sticking to our plan of developing a classic back to roots skill-based FPS for console. We are also sticking to our plan of focusing on the Steam release first prior to shifting our focus to the console version," he told me.
"I appreciate every single backer who got behind our Kickstarter, and I want to apologise for two things specifically. Firstly, the lack of communication around the console release - there are many reasons why we've remained tight lipped on the information surrounding Battalion's console release, but it's important for our backers to know that they have not been forgotten, we'll always take care of the people who backed us early on. Then secondly, we set overly ambitious goals for a console release, that was a mistake internally.
"We let our enthusiasm for Battalion 1944 get the better of us and set ourselves unachievable deadlines. This is something we have learned from and have corrected. For Battalion we're just beginning a new chapter with the full release on Steam. In all the chapters going forward our focus is on providing a great classic FPS experience that combines the best parts of old and new shooters, [but] this takes time and we're not willing to compromise on quality and risk releasing a lesser game, especially with the potential Battalion 1944 has."
Bulkhead has always said Battalion 1944's complete PC version would come first, before the game arrived on console, and the added complications of a console launch are not easy. All of that said, is it now fair for people to ask for a refund?
"We made a mistake by setting an unrealistic date for console release," Brammer said, "anyone who has been even remotely involved with game development will know that games projects constantly force developers to adapt their plans and ambitions.
"We have no intention of offering refunds as our current intention is to deliver what we offered on Kickstarter, albeit late."
Detail on the console version will come next year, Brammer concluded.
"Thank you to the amazing people that offered us their support to make this project happen. I apologise we haven't been able to realise everything yet. Have a great holiday season and watch for our announcements in 2019."
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