So TWD has been announced....by accident through a mistimed TWD Blu Ray release and the advertising on the insert. Stern hurriedly updated their Facebook page and website to give the impression everything was under control. Behind the ball from the get go.
Then a couple of Pre-Production prototypes end up in Belgium (?) and Australia. They are so preproduction the boxes have hand written labels on them.
To this point no video has been seen at all. Everyone in the community is screaming to see how this thing plays. Nothing official from Stern.
The first video to emerge is some really crap footage of Gary Stern himself playing TWD. And turns out he can't play pinball to save his life. Even if he was playing Medieval Madness in that video, it would have looked crap.
Still nothing official from Stern.
Next is some more crappy footage of a better player, but you can't hear any music or callouts. Gameplay looks bland.
By this time everyone is beginning to feel underwhelmed by the game itself.
But nothing official from Stern yet.
Then another home-brew video, probably the best yet, but the code is SO undeveloped the game looks borderline pathetic.
The community hits the panic button and many begin cancelling orders and others claim they won't be ordering.
Still nothing from Stern.
Really????? Are they serious. I know pinball hasn't moved as quickly as other consumer technology, (I personally think that is much of its appeal), but there is no reason why their marketing should also be stuck in the 90's.
The pinball community is borderline fanatical and obsessive. Everyone is constantly hungry for information and new releases. This is a marketing dream if cultivated correctly.
Or it could be a marketing disaster if not managed.
I was seriously considering ordering this machine. I saw all the videos etc etc and the more I saw, the more I became disappointed. In the absence of any other information, I was about to opt out.
Then I actually got to play it today. And its not as bad as it looks in the videos. The basics seem to be there for a good table.
The code is almost non-existent. The callouts are pretty lame but not so bad. It is nowhere near a complete game at this point.
So why release it???? Its simply not worth it.
Firstly, finish the game to within 90% before you release it. Wait until Expo or just before.
Then, BEFORE release of the actual game, make a professional video of gameplay. Have one of the really well known players (Eg Bowen Kerins, Keith Elwin) playing. Make the video look and sound like everyone expects it to. Release a few small clips every day in the lead up to actual release.
Then release the LE first to blow everyone away!
I think everyone is so nervous about preordering a game and waiting months for a complete product, with no guarantee it will actually get there. No one wants to risk being caught with a dud. The only way to stop this is make people feel confident in what they are buying.
Just my 2 cents. Im still undecided. I think the LE will be SO much better than the pro, that they will be like 2 completely different games. But i don't know if I want to risk it.