“Jumpgate Evolution” – Evolving Again

I’m a gigantic sci-fi geek.  If it’s got spaceships, aliens and/or outlandish technological gadgetry, I’m sold.

So when I was pointed to the burgeoning world of Jumpgate Evolution, I was almost immediately enthralled with the possibilities.  Realistic space warfare with physics and fully 3-dimensional travel – woooo!  This was back in November of 2009.  A few months later, the developers at NetDevil went mysteriously… silent.  Followers of the title grew anxious, and paranoia spread quickly.  Had another promising MMO been axed before its time?  Were the dreams of dogfighting in space alongside our squadrons of buddies suddenly and silently dashed into space dust?  The silence was deafening.

Fast forward to June 7, 2010, when this post landed in the Jumpgate forums, announcing a major revamp of the game from the ground-up.  According to new Executive Producer, Lance Robertson:

…That is when the team made the crucial decision to completely overhaul JGE’s game systems, while also refocusing specifically on the game play experience we wanted to make: space warfare on a massive scale…

He goes on to tell us that the revamp is already nearing completion, and there will be a playable demo available for hands-on experience on the convention circuit later this year, with the big unveil being at E3 in just a few weeks.  And while I’m still excited for the prospect of this game, this entire revamp has me thinking just one thing:

What sort of shortsighted company finds the need to re-tool their entire game, mere months from releasing a publicly available beta?

Let me be clear – I’m no stranger to games shifting gears in the conceptual stages, sometimes drastically so (Horizons, anybody?).  But to be within spitting distance of releasing a demo and beta, only to scrap it all and start over… well, that just leads me to believe that you didn’t know what you were doing, or what you were getting yourself into, to begin with.

It has me worried for the continuing development of the title.  Will they continue to make decisions that don’t work out in the long run?  Will their ‘vision’ of the game change again?  Are players of JGE buying into a game without focus & direction?  Are we looking at an impending SWG-NGE-type revamp at some point down the road?

Meh… it’s sci-fi, so I’ll play it.  But I’ve honestly moved from “cautiously optimistic” to “pessimistically hopeful.”

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