The Good News (everyone!)
The good news is: The game's pretty far along.
Mechanically, the game's pretty complete: Things work, things fight, things get knocked out. UI's pretty much done, pending a revision pass, and the stages are mostly there as well. The cardboard cutout shaped holes continue to be filled animation wise, and visual effects are now being added. Sounds are mostly in, music should be fully implemented shortly, and the missing pieces of the puzzle are falling into place: In short, game's almost done. You can see the progress in our worklogs at the Backers' Section of our forums, or on our monthly workstreams (more on that later).
The (Sorta) Bad News, mixed in with some good news.
...Now Here's the "bad" news: "Almost done" isn't "done" enough.
In our original plan, we'd be starting the Backers' Beta Mid March, and work our release date from there, with the Beta's duration depending on the volume and intensity of feebdack, and with our 1.0 date set a month-ish or so after, but as you can see, Mid march kind of just happened.
So why did beta not start yet...?
On one hand, some people who have worked on large creative projects will say that things often take longer than one would think. We expected this and gave ourselves extra time for our estimate, but still hit slightly under the mark. At this time, there are things that we feel need more work before they are ready.
On the other hand, a possibility we hadn't available before due to several reasons, working with union voice talents, opened up for us at the end of January. Pursuing that avenue means we get more and better options for the VO aspect of the game, but it also means we need to get the groundwork for that (administrative and legal paperwork) sorted out. SAG AFTRA (the Union we're dealing with) have been very accommodating with us these past couple of months as we go along getting it sorted, but the process involves some back and forth between parties, and also some lawyer checks here and there, all of which has taken more time than we anticipated we'd be using working on VO setup when we didn't have the union option open.
On the third hand, life happened. Those of you who've been following our streams know (and everyone else is now finding out) that one of our developers experienced some issues of the conflagration persuasion (read: house on fire), followed by a different flavour of combustion (read: computer on fire) right before last month's stream, and while no files were lost in these happenings, progress suffered a bit of a halt as time was spent getting everything back up to its regular uncombusted state.
All that considered, and with awareness that no plan survives contact with the enemy (time, in this case), we're changing strategies on the go.
The new plan is thus: We are going to be delaying the Backer's Beta for a bit, while we work backstage to tighten the screws and make sure everything is in top shape, as well as getting the missing stuff plugged in its sockets. We estimate that an extra month-ish or so should about do it.
That should put the Backer's beta in the mid-to-late April zone (or whereabouts. Might be earlier, might not), and the game's release at some point after, which brings up another thing to consider, and it's kind of a big one: We're not the only fighting game releasing in that time window, and while the major release in that time period (Injustice 2) will be in consoles and we will be in Windows-based PC (for starters), we feel that giving some breath room between their release and ours is probably a good idea. Don't want to get our toes stepped on, to be honest. We'd like to give the game the best launch opportunities possible: The more eyes we can get on the game, the more chances it'll perform well in sales, and thus, the higher the chances we can secure enough funding to continue working on major aspects of Them's Fightin' Herds after Goat DLC and Mac&Linux Ports are delivered, so we will have to time our release carefully. End of May is looking like the most likely candidate, and we'll be giving you guys a precise date as soon as we can on that front as well.
The Stream News.
Speaking of progress, it's about time for our monthly work stream to show you guys some stuff in motion. This time, we're scheduling it for Friday, March 24. Same time (3PM PT), same channel (twitch.tv/manesix). If you've got any questions, comments, doubts or whatnot, you can come in to the stream and have a talk with us. We'll be going through a general overview of the game progress and showing what's been new since last stream, as well as talking a bit about what's still needing to be finished and what the extra time will allow us to do.
- Game delayed by about one month (End of April>End of May) for extra polish time.
- Game nearly done! Progress can be seen at the forums or the streams.
- Backer's Beta happening mid to late April
- Union Voice Talent a possibility. This is good.
- Work Stream happening as usual. Timed for this Friday, March 24. In this link.