Camelot Unchained’s 4th of July beta launch prospects are still ‘too close to call’

We’ve updated the end of this article with some words from Mark Jacobs.

Last winter, City State Entertainment announced it’d received a big cash investment and put a date on Camelot Unchained’s beta one: July 4th, 2018. At the time, the beta was already three years late, as the studio struggled to find programmers, completely refactored large chunks of its ability system, and ultimately opened up a second studio in Seattle, and I think it’s fair to say that patience has thinned out along the way.

But as we’ve been reporting for the last few weeks, while the team was originally on schedule, GDPR compliance requirements created a huge setback for the beta as key employees worked on dealing with bureaucracy instead of fixing mission-critical bugs. Consequently, as CSE’s Mark Jacobs notes in yesterday’s stream, whether or not the beta actually launches Wednesday is still “too close to call.”

Jacobs tells fans that the studio is down to a list of 40 bugs it’s still crunching on – yes, they’re crunching this weekend – and they’ll be conducting large-scale testing all weekend, which will determine whether beta one is happening on time. (The next mini-test begins right as this post goes live, in fact.)

“The good news is, no matter what happens, whether we make beta one on Wednesday or we miss beta one on Wednesday, the version you get is going to be so much better than many other games have launched with in terms of stability, in terms of bugs,” Jacobs says. “We have no intention of launching beta one with the number of bugs that we had, […] and if we end of delaying, that will continue to be the focus. We have zero plans to add any scope.”

Source: YouTube
Update: Mark Jacobs reached out to us to rebut the idea that patience, at least among backers, is on the wane as we suggested. “I don’t disagree that some folks’ patience has thinned some, but the numbers are really strong the last two months and our refund percentage has dropped at the same time,” he told us. “The vast majority of our Backers have been quite patient with us.” As proof, he offers the game’s refund rate.

“Our refund percentage is at 3.8% of total pledges. That’s a really small number, especially after 5 years. You know that we are still paying refunds and still have a no questions asked policy. We’re slow, but we always pay off and don’t make people jump through hoops. The last two months we’ve seen a more than doubling of number of new pledges. In June, we’ve received almost 4x the number of donations in January.”

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39 Comments on "Camelot Unchained’s 4th of July beta launch prospects are still ‘too close to call’"

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Solaris
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Solaris

Jacobs is such a class act. I wish the industry were full of people with his ethics and character,

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Paragon Lost

What a different industry it would be if more behaved like Mark Jacobs does. One can dream.

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Dean Greenhoe

Alpha, beta, charlie… it is all just a name. Development is progressing and the world is getting built. We all want what we want and we want it yesterday. Life goes on.

All I know is they are busting their butts to get it done and finally have a full core team and financial backing to accomplish the task. I will happen.

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Ishmael Scarratt

I don’t mind if it’s delayed, I means what’s a few days/weeks on top of 3 years?

I do however find it odd that GDPR is in the equation, as that is not something that’s suddenly appeared from out of the veil has it? Surely it could/would/should have been a milestone on a gantt chart somewhere?

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Serrenity

I think CU was in the same bucket as 99.99999% of the rest of the software development world where we didn’t care about GDPR until the absolute last second :-) You noticed before May 25 the approximately 45 billion “Updates to our Privacy Policy” emails … same principle

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Mark Jacobs

That was part of it, the other part was that like a lot of legislation, it was complicated and, on first reading (or two), I wasn’t as concerned about it. As I spoke to our attorney and read through the recitals, we decided we had no smart choice but to go the ultra-cautious route.

Unfortunately, as a result of that we lost 3 weeks from some of our key people. Additionally, the security procedures we put in place made it more difficult for me to parts of my job as well.

If you added back the three weeks, we would be just about on schedule and Beta 1 would absolutely be on time. Yesterday’s all-day testing showed us both how close we are and, at the same time, how we need a couple of problems fixed that need to be fixed by Andrew (who is working today on some of them).

We’ll make an announcement on Monday about Beta 1. The good news, as I’ve been saying, is that we/Backers were thrilled with the “Beat up the Devs” testing yesterday. A lot of fun was had by almost all (we were having some issues with laptops and, crashes after a scenario ended). The really good news is that in the 7 hours of people hammering on our servers, almost no crashes on any of them and no client crashes once you entered a match (until the match ended). Throw in 200+ player battles centered around a tiny, open keep and that’s a pretty good test for an RvR-focused game.

It’s going to be a very fun and interesting Beta 1.

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Serrenity

My teams lots 2 sprints of work supporting GDPR so I understand — and probably very similar, it wasn’t a priority until the lawyers were like “heyyy yah …” then it was all the priorities.

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yoh_sl

If it gets delayed, so be it. The fact that it’s “too close to call” means that your more or less about on target, so if it takes a few more days or a week to finish, then no love lost.

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Koshelkin

They should go forward with it, no matter. They say “Old-School Beta”, it means a real playtest. So whatever happens forward is the way to go. People are supposed to break stuff, stuff is supposed to be broken.

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Mark Jacobs

Yeah, but there’s broken, Broken, and BROKEN. Right now we are definitely not BROKEN, but we had too many client crashes in today’s test. Now, they didn’t occur during matches (YAY), but did happen after a match ended. So, going into Beta 1 with that kind of crash is, in my mind, unacceptable. Fortunately, we made some fixes already and working on other fixes.

We’re still so close it’s ridiculous. Players were having so much fun in the battles, client performance was great, servers never crashed, bug count is way down but after we’ve been this late, our Backers deserve an opening day to Beta 1 where everything we said was going to work, works.

It’s not over yet and the good news is that even if we announce a delay, it won’t be months, and we’ll be testing during the delay almost every day.

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Rumm

Does the 35 package get me in, or 60+?

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Mark Jacobs

Rumm, $60 gets you in Beta 1. But before you pledge, please be sure to read up on us, especially what we’re saying about this being an old school Beta 1. As per below, things are going quite well but it’s still old school which means it isn’t ready to be called LIVE, sell DLC, add-ons, etc. :)

Either way, I thank you for your interest in us, much appreciated!

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Brother Maynard

I know it’s not the priority this close to opening of the Beta gates, but after Beta is out do you plan to include other payment options than PayPal in the following weeks?

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Mark Jacobs

Yes, Stripe and maybe some others. Which one(s) do you prefer?

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Brother Maynard

I’m a simple guy, so a simple credit card option would be perfect :-)
(is that what Stripe is, a payment processing platform for credit cards?)

A couple of times that I tried to pledge in the past month I always landed on a PayPal page – so I was wondering if you’re planning to add more options in the (hopefully) near future.

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Mark Jacobs

Yeah, Strike can do that. We just haven’t had time to put it in. We’ll be doing that after Beta 1 begins. If you want to pledge before Beta 1 but have to wait till after we get Stripe in, let me know via a PM and I’ll make sure you can an account under the current tiers.

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Brother Maynard

let me know via a PM

I’m not sure PMs work here – at least I don’t see anything clickable that would allow me to send a PM. Or did you mean the CU website?

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Mark Jacobs

You can send a message to support@citystateentertainment.com with the subject Massively OP, and she’ll pass it on to me.

Xijit
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Xijit

I am confused about the Lifetime upgrade: what does “full backer” mean? you do not have a tier for that specifically.

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Mark Jacobs

Ah, that means you have to have a tier to buy the add-on. In order to upgrade something, you have to have the something. :)

Xijit
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Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

So any package then?

The wording there makes it sound like you have to have a specific level that you have paid into, not just any level.

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Mark Jacobs

Yep, any Reward Tier will do.

ultorius
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ultorius

its the first stream i have seen that is so close to the game launch,and instead of showing some gameplay or at least a trailer playing, we get an old guy on a coach.If this is not suspicious about the state of thw game, i dont know what is.

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Ailsa Nordstrom

Wait, a launch date has not been announced so how do you know HOW close the game is to launch? You obviously have no knowledge of Camelot Unchained or Mark Jacobs. One wonders why you felt the need to comment at all on a game you are not following and about which you have no clue.

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Mark Jacobs

Aww, so sweet. You might, OTOH, look at all of our Friday updates where either this “old guy” or other guys from the team talk directly to our Backers, answering their questions directly, etc.

Or, you could be in today’s tests where we have had 260 people in a battle with FPS locked at 60.

You might find out more that way. :)

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Rick Ellis

How does one get into “today’s test”?? What tier is required for that?

ultorius
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ultorius

i truely wish you the best for the game.I believe that streaming those battles at high fps with many people will help you promote the game more than a million Q&A.

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Mark Jacobs

No worries. And I agree with you, 100%. I’m both an “old guy” and that we need to get out a video. However, I also told folks that we wouldn’t hype our game with videos/PR until we earned the right to do that. We haven’t earned that right yet though today proved to our Backers that we could do what we said we can do. That made us all very happy.

And thanks for the good wishes!

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Sarblade

“an old guy”

He is Mark fucking Jacobs. To the backers a Q&A with Mark is more valued than a generic gameplay.

There will be a time to promote it: when the game will be ready. It’s a beta test, a serious one, not a demo like most beta. There will be only sneak peaks of the game and they have tried to make it clear multiple times.

Xijit
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Xijit

Why the hell do game developers ignore the Explorer demographic os the Bartle test?

They clearly know of it and constantly pander to the achievers and killers, and manipulate the socializer aspects to keep people invested: but absolutely no one caters to the explorers.

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Bryan Correll

He makes wine coolers, right?

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jay

The idea of a beta test has become so bastardized by big studio’s calling these quick glimpses of games just before release “beta tests”. Where as in reality, they are sneak peaks. No testing is done, and the game as you see it in these “betas” is set in stone for release. All of this is done, so that if there are any minor problems with the game during this weekend/week long sneak peak, they can point to the “beta” and say it’s a work in progress. So that it doesn’t hurt their pre-release sales.

Camelot unchained on the other hand is old school to the core. When they say beta, they actually mean it’s a beta test, and the game is no where near release ready.

Lucky Jinx
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Lucky Jinx

It’s a crash n’ burn! Run for your life!

Seriously, these guys have delivered exactly what they’ve promised so far and more. It’s an old school beta anyway, which seems to be a new concept for some, so don’t get your peepee up for it too hard in any case. Beta will be my first hands on with the game, but I’m not spilling my cookies if it’s a little late. It’s not a launch, but it’ll be fun to see how the game has shaped up so far.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Yeah, how dare a Q&A address issues with the game. Kinda like it was, I dunno, meant to be informative.

indigo_shade
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indigo_shade

You make it sound like this launch announcement is regarding the final release. They’re talking about the first phase of beta here.

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Bryan Correll

/em sharpens his pitchfork.

What? I’ve got a lot of hay to deal with. And not a lot of time for testing anyway.

laelgon
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laelgon

I can sympathize, GDPR has been a pain in the ass for software developers in pretty much every industry. I’m not opposed to the GDPR, but it sucks having to spend time on stuff like that when there are bugs/features you’d rather work on.

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Mark Jacobs

Yeah, as I said in the update, if you take away the time we had to spend on GDPR, we would be right about on schedule.

OTOH, GDPR was well-intentioned and the law in the EU so we did what we needed to do to comply with it.