We’ve enjoyed our time with Hell Let Loose quite a bit, but the game is still winding its way through the cobblestone streets of Early Access. Developer Black Matter says it’s gearing up to add a public test environment to the game, now that enough of its core elements are in place.
In a recent update on Steam, Black Matter explains some of the considerations that go into creating a test branch for a game that’s still in development. There are, it turns out, a couple pretty good reasons to hold off on doing it: having a PTE or similar testing branch can lead to hardcore players – the ones who use the PTE – getting to see major new features ahead of launch, and this in turn can dampen excitement for those features when they’re rolled out in the main branch of the multiplayer game.
The other main problem Black Matter points out is that a test environment can lead to confusion about what’s in the game. The studio uses the example of adding a bullet penetration mechanic to the test environment, and having discussion around the game shift to that mechanic – which will lead new players to believe it’s already present in the main build of the game.
Now that Hell Let Loose’s main features are largely implemented, though, Black Matter thinks it’s time to open up some test servers to start working on fine-tuning what’s already there.
“Whereas before our goals were to achieve quality systems that needed huge overhauls, we’re now changing pace slightly to focus on the finer tuning of the game, as well as catching large scale crashes and other endemic issues before public release,” the studio says.
Black Matter will be granting access to the PTE on the condition that players sign an NDA, and that they submit feedback on the test build through designated official channels. The studio says it will have information on how to join and when the test periods will be held in the near future.
Black Matter also gave a bit of a shout-out to the Hell Let Loose competitive scene, which the developers say they’ve “been thrilled and surprised” by as it’s established itself during the Early Access period. The studio isn’t ready to announce any big official plans for competitive yet – the game itself isn’t finished yet, after all – but that aspect isn’t being ignored.
“We want you as a community to know that we follow the competitive side and will be playing a much larger role in the discussion (and playing in matches) as time goes on and the meta starts to settle after the addition of some large features left to come in Early Access,” the studio says.