The saga of Earth: Year 2066 looks like it’s finally drawing to a close. An open-world post-apocalyptic survival affair, it was well-positioned to take advantage of gamers’ recent hunger for such titles. But after folk dropped $19.99 on the Early Access title on Steam, they were presented with a game that was essentially unplayable, irredeemably ugly and bearing little resemblance to the promotional materials.
The Escapist’s Jim Sterling drew attention to the game, even making a Jimquisition about it, and he was far from the only one that has serious problems with it. Thankfully, Valve has taken action, removing the game from Early Access while offering full refunds until May 19th.
Users should always go into Early Access titles with eyes open, understanding that they are works in progress and undoubtedly going to be riddled with bugs. But Killing Studios, Earth: Year 2066’s developer, and Muxwell, the pseudonym used by the game’s “creator”, have been accused of taking art from other sources, deleting any criticism on the Steam forums, using dummy accounts to plug the game. One such phony review hilariously claims that Earth: Year 2066 will replace DayZ and Fallout.
“On Steam, developers make their own decisions about promotion, features, pricing and publication,” said Valve employee Chris_D in the announcement. “However, Steam does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games.
“We have removed Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access on Steam. Customers who purchased the game will be able to get a refund on the store page until Monday May 19th.”
While Valve has done the right thing, it took a Reddit campaign, which starts with the OP claiming that Muxwell edited their critical comment on the Steam forum to an overwhelmingly positive one, and Sterling’s coverage before they did anything about it.
With Valve planning to do away with Greenlight - where Earth: Year 2066 first wormed its way onto Steam - replacing it with an open platform, it may simply encourage more of this sort of thing, utterly wasting the potential of the platform for indie developers while giving that part of the industry a rather bad name.