In stark contrast to the disempowered working classes that feature in Vertiginous Golf, publisher Surprise Attack Games today revealed that the community will help drive the development of the game through to release, starting with a launch on Steam Early Access later today, and a new whizz-bang community website.
The label, along with developers Kinelco and Lone Elk Creative, have pledged to make the development process as transparent as possible and will give fans of dystopian steampunk mini-golf a say in everything from the priority of major features through to tiny art and design decisions.
Vertiginous Golf’s project management tool has been made public for anyone to access and the new community-focused website will provide a hub where fans can track and discuss the development, vote on key decisions, upload their own fan-art and even contribute content to the game’s fictional universe.
Vertiginous Golf is a physics-based, first person exploratory mini-golf game, set in an alternate, steampunk-infused world where life on the ground is enveloped in permanent smog, constant darkness and never-ending rain. Players chip and putt their way around courses floating high above the clouds with complex machinery and Victorian-era décor, as they slowly discover what the hell is going on in this peculiar place.
The Steam Early Access build, launching today, includes several significant updates from the previously available beta. Most notable is an all new after touch mechanic, where players can use a tiny jewel-encrusted mechanical beetle to apply post-swing spin to their ball. Other additions include more holes, controller support and an improved tutorial, along with adding analogue controls for the mouse and keyboard.
The developers intend to add more content every couple of weeks with major feature updates planned every month between now and the anticipated launch of the game in Q3 2014. Members of the game’s community will get to determine the priority of these major features such as online multiplayer, customisation, a course editor and Oculus Rift support.
“We really want to bring our community into the process as much as possible,” said Paul Barnes, Director at Kinelco. “I’m particularly excited to see what they contribute to the fictional universe of the game and for fans to be able to see something they have come up with in the final game.”
“As an indie label we’re not cash-rich like a big publisher so we have to get creative,” said Chris Wright, Managing Director of Surprise Attack Games. “It’s clear to us that engaging and empowering your community is a huge weapon in the indie marketing arsenal. Vertiginous Golf is our first game where we are trying to involve the fans as much as possible. Our next step is to figure out how we can be just as transparent and open as a publishing label.”
In development for PC with Mac and Linux versions planned, Vertiginous Golf is available now on Steam Early Access or the game’s website for $15. The full release is expected in Q3 2014 and will cost $20.