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How Not To Release A Demo: Upcoming Alien Vs. Predator

What went wrong with the demo release of the upcoming AVP game.

John Mawhorter, Blogger

February 1, 2010

3 Min Read


Aliens vs. Predator as a series has gained a cult following among multiplayer shooter fans, though the series also had superb single player campaigns. I know that the first time I played it online I played for 8 hours straight. The upcoming Rebellion reboot of the franchise is looking shaky for several reasons, the most shaky of them being the recently released multiplayer demo. It's the worst demo release that I have played in a long time and a great example of how not to do things.

The distribution method was great, since it used Steam. Everything else so far has been hazardous at best. The only way to get in a game is peer connection (ie Left 4 Dead style matchmaking) but the searching for game phase seems to take 5 or more minutes every time. I’ve already lost connection and hosts twice and had to repeat the whole process. Microphones seem to be in speech-activated mode with no way to change this and apparently don’t work in-game. The first game I joined was exceptionally laggy and melee combat is confusing whether or not the connection is good. The instant kill from behind feature also takes roughly 5 seconds to execute, during which you are completely helpless. Half the time I used it I was immediately instakilled myself after completing my kill.  The mouse controls seem to be very floaty and somehow mouse accelerated and the melee animations seem difficult to time. Weapon switching doesn’t actually follow the standard one weapon for every number key model, which as far as I can tell has worked since Doom. Not to mention picking weapons up off the ground requires you to stand over them and hold E for about 3 seconds. And as a Predator I couldn’t even figure out how to use my weapons once I got them, because primary fire apparently is always tied to melee weapons, and you have to use the middle mouse button to use any of your better weapons. There also appear to be significant race imbalances with aliens being worse in almost every respect than either Predators or Marines. Aliens seem to be missing the most fun part of the original AvP formula, which was leaping across the room and gibbing people with your claws. Maybe the standard alien can’t leap, but then why doesn’t the demo include more of the skin types or class types or whatever (classes seem to be called skins?). Oh and there’s only one map which is a boring two level maze that is too big for the 8 player limit and only one gametype, deathmatch, which is the least interesting of any of the AvP gametypes I could think of. If you want to run a multiplayer beta/demo successfully it needs to be about creating a player community. Nothing creates community like teamwork and that certainly isn’t present here. If I were at Rebellion I would pull the demo before the bad word of mouth sinks it entirely and try to reissue a more quality demo. As I write this I've been sitting in the matchmaking screen looking for a server for about 5 minutes.  




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