Home » Manor Lords publisher hits back at “pitfalls of Early Access” criticisms

Manor Lords publisher hits back at “pitfalls of Early Access” criticisms

manor lords ceo responds to early access criticisms

Manor Lords stormed onto the city-building scene to an abundance of success. Despite being in Early Access, it accumulated two million sales in its first three weeks on the market. Although the team are happy with the reception, they have faced criticisms from players, as well as their peers.

The CEO of Hooded Horse, Tim Bender responded to a LinkedIn post which calls Manor Lords a “case-study in the pitfalls of Early Access development” and points out the the lack of post-launch updates.

More than meets the eye

Bender begins by highlighting the fact that “Manor Lords just sold 250,000 copies in the last month — after selling over 2 million copies in its first 3 weeks — and has a Very Positive review rating of 88% with a median playtime of 8 hours 48 minutes per player.” The figures provided are impressive, especially the median playtime, considering the infancy of the game’s release.

He continues, “players are happy, the developer is happy, and we as publisher are thrilled beyond belief.”

However, the minds behind the Medieval strategy sim were prepared for criticisms from the get-go. “Before the release, I had a chat with Manor Lords’ dev. I told him that after release, he was going to hear from all sorts of commenters talking about missed opportunities because he failed to grow as fast as they wanted, and judging the game a failure by some kind of expectation they formed.” Bender also “told him to ignore all that — to focus on his core vision for the game.”

manor lords development criticisms

He points out that the Early Access road is a long one and that no pressure should be felt from the expectations of others. Project Zomboid, for example, has been in Early Access for over a decade, with no signs of leaving this state anytime soon.

At the end of the post, the Hooded Horse head argues that if the industry is to find a sustainable path forward, success shouldn’t be measured by an “ever raising bar of new growth expectations. Not every game should be aimed at becoming some live-service boom or bust.”

The phrase “dead game” is used all too often to describe a title’s drop in player count, discrediting its past successes without context. Perhaps a new approach to indie projects is required going forward.

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