Early Access Coming In Late April & More

17 March 2021

Hello Explorers,

We’ve got an important update for you today, including the one everyone has been wanting to get more information on. So let’s cut to the chase.

We are pushing back to late April for Scavengers always-on Early Access (originally our plan was late March).

This will also be the first time you’re hearing about our plans to enter “always-on” Early Access… at the same time you’re hearing of our delay (sorry). But this is also why we want to be extra cautious. While we absolutely think delaying Early Access is the right decision, it still pains us to miss a promised window as much as we know it disappoints you. We appreciate your patience.

So, what’s informing the push?

None of the below are intended to be excuses, more to explain what’s going on. We’ll also share some updates on what’s keeping us busy.

Since Closed Beta in December 2020, we’ve been focused on several big, complex features, including ongoing, systemic work from your Closed Beta feedback, migrating to Unreal Engine 4.26, and setting the groundwork for console development readiness. The last two items are significant undertakings, but they help set up a stronger foundation for when Scavengers is live and running on console (which we hope will be later this year).

Any one of these above projects (implementing a new game system, upgrading the game engine, console evaluation) is complicated in its own right - which we planned for! - but what we didn’t recognize was how much more complicated they make everything else when stacked together. Imagine each feature multiplying complexity by 2, rather than just adding 2.

As a result, over the past few weeks we’ve come across a number of bugs and unknown issues that have surprised us, and when we evaluate the work remaining, we think the right decision is to delay rather than ship an unstable build.

Crunch is also not an option; not only is crunch proven to be ineffective (moving fast doesn’t mean moving bug-free), if our hope is to serve you for years to come, we need to always be working with sustainability in mind, not just when it’s convenient. This extra month will give us the breathing room to polish and stabilize for Early Access and launch thereafter.

We’re sorry for this delay; we know many of you have been psyched to get back into Scavengers. However, we hope that you can understand our reasoning and we thank everyone for their wonderful, ongoing patience and support in standing with us all the way.

In the meantime, we can share with you the updates we’ve been working on, as well as what the additional time will let us also achieve. All of which, you’ll be able to see when we launch Early Access in late April!

Game Updates for Early Access

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Always on:

When we switch the servers back online in late April, we intend to keep them running without taking them offline as we’ve done for previous playtests.

This means much, much more time for all you to enjoy Scavengers and, hopefully, more feedback we can get to continue improving the game!

Console availability:

As previously mentioned, a big part of our work has been preparing the foundations for console availability (and cross-play!). However, we do want to reiterate that there is important preparational work to enable this functionality. It does not mean that Scavengers will be available on consoles at the end of April.

Currently, there is no confirmed date for when Scavengers will be up and running on console, but our hope is to have this for later this year.

More information about console availability will be shared in the future and when we have those details, we’ll be sure to update everyone.

Progression and Metagame:

Players will have seen some of this work in early stages during Closed Beta with the research and crafting systems, among others.

Since then, we’ve ramped up development on these and more. We’ve added a number of new weapon variants and talents for the Explorers, which can be researched and added to loadouts. For those who like to play with the same squad, there’s even more good news! We now have friends lists to help you team up with the people you know easier too.

Those of you who have read our Dev Insights: Player Progression blog will know that we’re looking to expand on our core game with future weekly and daily challenges, as well as Season Passes filled with rewards to boost player progression even more. These won’t be on for Early Access, but are on track for launch! On top of that, we continue to investigate and develop more equipment, weapons and, yes, Explorers!

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Gameplay balance:

This has been a big priority for us, and if you’ve also checked out our Dev Insights: Information Warfare blog, you’ll know that there will be significant changes to how Explorers can play off against the environment and other teams the next time we’re back online.

We’ve been listening to and taking on board all the feedback received about the game balance, with a particular focus on the equilibrium between PvP and PvE. In Early Access, we want to improve options for players who felt that they couldn’t succeed without forcefully taking part in PvP.

Our Motion Scanner has been updated, with the Keepers’ Sonar also listening for Explorer movements. The “target” that some players previously may have felt was on their back for holding the biggest datapoints is now gone; these players are no longer permanent fixtures on the map. There are more ways to play strategically and tactically, so we hope the different mechanics will enable clever and successful play for all of you.

It’s imperative we also nail other key areas of game balance. This includes the balance of weapons, Explorer classes and the interplay between them; the equilibrium for early game vs late-game power, level pacing, resource availability, objective pacing and plenty more.

Performance and optimization:

We will be hunkering down and focusing on this in the next coming weeks. On top of working through the previously mentioned bugs and issues, we want to ensure a much more consistent play experience for you.

We’ve previously been busy optimizing so players with lower spec machines will have a better, smoother experience overall, and this is by no means done yet. The next few weeks will allow us more time to continue to fine-tune this, and we hope those players will see a difference when Early Access launches.

Matchmaking and the online lobby experience:

We’ve talked about the importance of Dynamic Playspace Scaling in previous blog updates and work for this is ongoing as we refine the balance of density in our matches.

The key thing here is ensuring the number of players in a session feels right, queue times are shorter, and matches are more enjoyable. This means that during times of lower server population, players will still get a match that feels good.

It also means improvements to the online lobby experience too, specifically making it better at supporting faster matchmaking times.

Additional updates:

  • New player journey: Making sure that new players join up and get into the game easily and smoothly is vital to any gaming experience. We’ve been continuing to improve this for our new Explorers by making refinements to that initial onboarding process.
  • Anti-cheat: This remains a big focal point for us and we’ve made a number of improvements here to ensure a great experience for all players.
  • Vehicle damage: Damage made to vehicles will now pass through to the driver and passengers of those vehicles. So drive responsibly!
  • End of match details: We’ve tidied end-of-match presentations for scoring info and player placement.
  • Dropship update: The dropship doors are now closed when it lands, and they must be individually opened by players to board the ship. This offers up even more opportunities for strategic/sneaky play during that final race to extraction!

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It’s going to be an extremely focused and busy time for the team between now and late April as we work on all the above and more.

Once again, we want to express our appreciation and gratitude again to all of you. We sincerely hope that when you can get back into Scavengers, it will be an experience that’s worth the wait.

In the next coming weeks, we will continue to share behind-the-scenes details with you through our Dev Insights and Questions of the Week. And, of course, we’ll be updating you all with a confirmed date for Early Access (as well as some more exciting news).


Keep Warm,

Midwinter

Questions Of The Week - 5

19 March 2021

The team answers your questions on sliding, extraction, and even how they first met!

Dev Insights: Player Progression

10 March 2021

From teamwork to effective research and resource management. We discuss the work going into player progression for Scavengers.