Open press policy
Magazines are a big part of advertising, and typically gaming magazines will only put a game on the cover or do a nice multi-page spread if they’ve got exclusive information that hasn’t been published elsewhere. Information about the game, screen shots, and other tidbits are important bargaining chips for game developers that they don’t want to give away unless they get something in return. For an independent game like Natural Selection 2, this doesn’t really apply since it’s not a mega franchise that all gamers know about, and thus exclusive information is less enticing. Instead we have to focus our marketing on a more grass roots, word-of-mouth approach where we release lots of stuff in the hope of gaining attention.
We’re also keen on showing things off as we develop them, since it gives us the chance to get feedback early on features. This is great for helping us build a game that’s really going to appeal to our core audience, and it’s also a lot more fun to show off what you’re working on and get comments than to have to do everything in secrecy. There’s a downside to this which is that once you’ve announced features people are generally upset if they end up changing or getting cut (two very common occurrences in game development). Our hope is that if we put enough caveats and disclaimers in this blog and frame our discussions in the context that it’s in-development work, the community will understand when things evolve (or even canceled) as we progress.
And lastly, the Natural Selection community has been steadfastly waiting for a follow up game for a while now, so we’d like to return the kindness by making our development process more transparent and open.