At long last, we are pleased to announce that Clockwork Empires has hit what we are calling Earliest Access – it launches on Friday July 18th, and you can buy it now! Earlier than Early Access, we are continuing our legacy of innovation by daring to release Earlier than any other Early Access developer.
So what is this? This is, in fact, the Early Access for Early Access. It’s like Inception.
Buying a copy of the Earliest Access build will get you a Steam key, which you can then use to play Clockwork Empires. Your Earliest Access will be upgraded to a copy of the Steam Early Access version when we launch it in August; you will also, subsequently, get the finished game when it’s done.
An overview of the current status of the Clockwork Empires project as a whole can be found here, and we will be regularly updating that page at the same time as the major game content updates so you can see how far along we are.
We will also of course continue to update our development blog, send update emails to people on the mailing list that want them, tweet about development here, and participate in forum discussions here.
Why “Earliest Access”?
Earliest Access is our opportunity to take our testing to a larger scale than our internal testing while retaining as much of our ability to communicate directly with fans as possible. The game needs more hardware compatibility testing, large-scale bug hunting, and some more UI iteration before we’re ready for Steam. Also some fun stuff will be added through the process because we can’t help ourselves.
Earliest Access will last about a month, at which point we will launch on Steam Early Access sometime in August. (We’ll be announcing the actual date of the Steam Early Access release near the end of July.)
Steam Early Access will be the final stage of evolution before the game explodes out of its cocoon. We will be releasing monthly content updates as well as hotfixes when necessary, implementing the remaining content, and checking off the features that will make the game “complete”. We cannot absolutely guarantee a final release date but our plan is to set it “when the content that we’ve talked about is in the game”. As an informed guess I’d estimate that this will take roughly 9-12 months from now. (Both of these numbers are, conveniently, divisible by 3.)
When Early Access first became an option, we honestly had our doubts about the process. Some games have had issues with early access, and some have been tremendously successful both for the developers and the fans. What has become apparent is that it is a very powerful choice for games and developers that can take advantage of the opportunities. It may be the single best way to connect with the games that you’re interested in playing before they’re released, and simultaneously the best way for us to hear you. We are going to do our best to learn the lessons of those who have gone before us, and get your help in making Clockwork Empires as awesome as humanly* possible.
Earliest Access is available for purchase at ClockworkEmpires.com and will be available to play on Friday, July 18th.