The Black Death Developers Break Three-Month Silence While Outlining Precisely What Is Going On

The Black Death Developers Break Three-Month Silence While Outlining Precisely What Is Going On
Credit: Green Man Gaming Publishing via YouTube

The Black Death is a title available on the Steam platform that has been in the Early Access program since April 19, 2016. The premise is interesting enough: the Black Death has wiped out large swaths of humanity and you’re attempting to exist in the newest edition of the world.

A poignant time for an update considering the pandemic that currently rages on.

The Black Plague is a medieval-themed open-world multiplayer experience; not necessarily an MMO, as servers are limited to 50 players, but PvP and towns, housing, and the standard gamut of tropes comfortably seem to exist within the title.

After four years on the Early Access program, and The Black Death currently sits at 60% recommended, with the vast majority of reviewers begging the title for the simple reason that it appears completely abandoned. Four years is quite a bit of time, although other titles have existed (and flourished) within a greater range, bringing up to question why, precisely, the userbase feels abandoned.

It’s the case of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Developers simply haven’t been talking to players about upcoming features or what they’re working on, there is no roadmap found anywhere, and their last communication with the player base before yesterday was in March.

The developers behind the title at Syrin Studios have a penchant for taking breaks for months with little to no words towards their community, while the title is embroiled in bugs that force a loss of progression and bad actors that use exploits to lock users out of their work.

To say that it appears frustrating for early backers of the project is woefully understated. If Syrin Studios were to communicate consistently, and all negative reviews mentioning the title being abandoned were placated by this (unlikely for 100%, but it would arguably be far higher than 50% using the famous fuzzy-math) then the title would have well over 80% recommendation rating, leading to more sales, which would allow Syrin to hire more developers and actually start churning out content.

Instead, it seems to be the story that we’ve seen far too often from new developers, where they forget that their greatest asset is those who buy into the scheme that developers craft.

Syrin Studios point to their ‘higher than average’; refund rate of ‘around 20%’ throughout the Early Access program, upgrading the base engine twice that the title runs off (Duke Nukem vibes aplenty) and the studio needing to ‘acquire part-time work to pay for game development’ as the reasoning behind failing to talk to their fans.

It looks beautiful, the setting is a bizarre and otherworldly look at the Black Plague, and it seems like there is actually enough to sate most desires if Syrin would pick up the phone a bit more often. The post ends without any promise of getting better at communicating with fans.