What happened to Starbound?
Nowadays, it's not uncommon for a game to be released unfinished. Personally, I feel as a community we have come to accept this. There have been literally hundreds of articles posted regarding failed Kickstarter projects, games released across all platforms with paid DLC to flesh out an otherwise unfinished product, and games that never leave beta.
Perhaps most infamous among the latter is the sandbox game Starbound. The Starbound release was scheduled for summer 2012, and this game has still not actually received an official version; despite having an exceptionally successful pre-order campaign, coming in at over 4 million dollars.
As expected, the backers are not too happy with the slow state of development. The official Starbound wiki has a complete list of intended features, and it is daunting. Full page articles have been written by dissatisfied customers explaining in very intricate detail why they feel compelled to make allegations against the development company Chucklefish for lying in regards to the game's content.
One Steam comment probably sums up the entire debacle the best.
I was one of the first backers like many here. I paid for the game the first day it was possible to invest in them. I love the game, even as it is, but the promises, the route they are taking and the lies. That's just plain wrong. I do however believe we will get more content and updates, but as already said by someone else, they are already talking about SB2. So...first one isn't finished yet, will it ever be? Who knows?
- mr bigdad, steam comment on game Starbound.
That isn't to say that Starbound has been completely forgotten about. The game's Twitter page is filled with news of minor updates and tweaks to the game's over-all performance. With more than 60,000 followers on their Twitter, it's not like the game is unpopular, but how much of the fandom have simply resigned that the game's state is one in perpetual flux? Is this business model of building a game on promises and then failing to follow through on them over the course of four years acceptable? Obviously not, but Starbound is hardly the only game doing this.
Open access and beta game testing is essentially a must have in most games nowadays. Another popular example is Roberts Space Industries' Star Citizen. This ambitious product is promising a first-person shooter, space exploration, player economy driven, aerial combat racer to be delivered whenever. Also presented in 2012, Star Citizen is yet another game that has people wondering if the developers can fulfill their promises. In Starbound's case, it seems likely they never will.
We've tried contacting the support at Chucklefish Games to see if a spokesperson would like to address these concerns, since it would be in any business's best interest to address the complaints of their customers, and the article will be updated with any response.