Promising signals emerge from the besieged Warballoon camp: the Star Command website was completely madeover in the past weeks, with new forums replacing the spam-infested warren that some critics had pointed to as evidence that the project was adrift. A post on Warballoon’s blog from last week shows lead dev Justin Coombs in a confident mood – Star Command’s producer says that he is “optimistic we will hit January with Soft Launch”, a reference to the still-unnamed non-US/UK “Western territories” where Warballoon plans to trial Star Command.
It’s unusual for a non-multiplayer game to do a soft launch – there’s no game servers for Warballoon to stress test – but it is in keeping with the devs’ hyper-cautious track record.
Star Command was once mobile gaming’s most-adored indie darling – a bulletproof game concept with a stylish execution built by a small team of first-time devs. But since 2011, successive release dates have slipped into oblivion and its devs have become almost as notorious for over-promising as they were famous for being one of Kickstarter’s first success stories.
Warballoon are going to have some marketing work to do to recapture the waning interest in what was once the most anticipated mobile title around. There were already impatient rumblings and second-guessing of changes to the originally proposed design when the first gameplay footage of the starship sim was released in October, and failing to materialize in 2012 couldn’t have done much for the game’s profile.
Few people remember delays if you deliver a quality product – it’s all in Warballoon’s hands.