Valve are now investigating The War Z's Steam forum following multiple complaints from players claiming to have been unfairly banned for criticising Hammerpoint's zombie shooter. This follows yesterday's news that The War Z's Steam store page contained inaccurate claims about non-existent features amounting to false advertising. Hammerpoint have now edited the game's product description to more clearly delineate between upcoming and existing content. They've also issued an apology to gamers who "misread" the Steam Store page.
The two most egregiously inaccurate features claimed the "Foundation Release" of The War Z to contain multiple maps, each containing areas between 100 and 400 square kilometres, as well as caps of up to 100 players. Though some servers are now running at that cap, it remains the case that only one map is available.
The game's executive producer Sergey Titov posted on The War Z forum to apologise to players who "misread" the listing of the game's features. "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," he wrote, before thanking players for their continued support.
In an interview with GameSpy however, Titov seems unrepentant, arguing that players are simply misinterpreting the meaning of claims such as "up to 100 players", and that "each world has areas between 100 to 400 square kilometres" does not, in fact, suggest multiple available areas of sizes greater than Hammerpoint have delivered.
Titov writes: "Okay, if text is saying 'up to 100 players', yes, I may imagine situation when somebody will say 'okay it HAVE TO BE 100.' 'Over 100 sq km' falls in '100 to 400' right? Okay my point is [that] online games are [a] living breathing GAME SERVICE. This is not a boxed product that you buy one time. It's evolving product that will have more and more features and content coming it. This is what The War Z is."
When GameSpy accused Hammerpoint of listing unfinished, planned features on The War Z's product page, the developer laid some blame at the customer's feet. "I'm sure there'll be people who will look into small details and will say "no I was mislead," where in fact they imagined something to themselves without checking details first."
The War Z remains atop the Steam top sellers chart despite accusations of censorship on The War Z Steam forum, where users are reportedly being banned en masse for criticising the game and its developers.
Meanwhile, I've been playing it and my very early impression is that it's a bit rubbish. More on that soon.