Past, Present, Future of Bleeding Edge

  • I wanted to lay out my thoughts on the current state of the game, areas that I think could've been approached differently earlier in development, and things I'm looking forward to in the future. I haven't really said too much productive on here since late Alpha so I wanted to take a final deep dive into trying to make a real difference.

    I'll start off right at the beginning. I was extremely fortunate to have access to the very first Alpha build of the game that was released to what must've been no more than about 100 people. This was around late June of 2019. We had access to a minimilistic version of the Dojo and a barebones tutorial before jumping into a 2 hour slot of online games for the first time. The first thing that struck me was how different the game was, and I quickly found out that being a solo player was going to be tough and teamwork was absolutely key, more so in any game I had experienced.

    I think this is something everyone has gone through after their first few matches. Still, to this day, new players are desperate to dive head-on into a fully healed grouped up enemy team. It's certainly not for everyone. I knew right away that this was never going to be the next big multiplayer game that perhaps some hoped for as it was limited in the way it could be played. Which was far from a bad thing. It just meant that it was going to rely on a passionate, niche community that pulled in the same direction as the developers.

    It was announced very early on that microtransactions would never be present in the game. Which led to some wondering how the game would survive financially, especially considering the majority of players would be playing through Game Pass. So this puts even more of an emphasis on a niche community doing their part to keep the game populated. As long as there's a community, the game would be be sustainable.

    I think one of the best, perhaps unintentional benefits of the Alpha was that it was already beginning to build this passionate, niche community. Every week you would see, talk and play with the same community members, as well as the developers themselves who would also join in which was a really unique experience. Already, this was the community that was going to be the foundation that the game is built upon.

    A few weeks into the Alpha, the tutorials got revamped with strong emphasis on teamwork, a much needed improvement. But I feel like that's where it stopped when it came to promoting the game at its core values and ultimately at its most enjoyable.

    I said this at the conclusion of the Alpha period and I feel even more strongly about it today that there needed to be a greater focus on pushing the playerbase into how the game should be played. Whether that be through marketing, game design, clearer UI, community tournaments, streaming, YouTube videos, all of the above.

    The game absolutely thrives when two teams are coordinating TOGETHER. You cannot play the game expecting to 1v4 the enemy team. There are situations you have to be patient, group up, synergsie abilities together rather than comboing on your own, etc. Yet how many times do we get games that play out like that? It's so rare.

    People are missing out on the full potential of the game because they do not know how it's best played. It is different. It needed stricter, more competitive playlists without SBMM on release. It needed so much more external content showing off the true qualities of the game prior to release. I'll go back to the Dev game that was created and posted in the Watch Zone midway through the Alpha. That was perfect and I have no idea why that was never replicated nor shared outside of the Alpha community. That's exactly what people needed to see before they played the game to understand what the game is! Competitive, tactical, TEAM ORIENTED.

    There has always felt like a disconnect between WHAT THE GAME ACTUALLY IS versus the DIRECTION THE GAME HAS BEEN/IS BEING TAKEN. Is it a highly competitive strategic team fighter? Or a casual goof around with wacky characters? Because the more players that have had access to the game, the more the game has taken the latter direction. Which is where I go full circle to the point about a niche community pulling in the same direction as the developers to keep the game sustainable. Right now, that niche community that was built up during the Alpha period is playing a completely different game. Unless you have your squad of 4 on at all time and you are facing another squad of 4 who both happen to already know what they're doing, the game is not maximising its potential and is not nearly as enjoyable because of it. Very rarely can you find good games otherwise.

    Also, I understand the Developers are hard at work making the game, but what has stopped them doing what they did during the Alpha and jumping into some games with the new players in the community? That was such a unique experience and really helped build a bond between consumer and product. It saddens me to see that one of the biggest complaints in the Discord and general community right now is the lack of contact from the developers. Because that was honestly a huge huge positive during the Alpha development phase and better than any game community I've ever been apart of.

    Onto the present state of the game - If I'm being 100% truthful, I don't feel like the game was ready for full release. However, I think it's more to do with the climate of gaming right now, rather than this game specifically. Drip feeding content seems to be the common method in producing a game right now. Which has it's pros and cons. Maybe I was just being unrealistically optimistic, but I was expecting a big change from Alpha to Beta, then Beta to Launch. I was expecting to feel a big difference between each build. But barely anything has changed since Day 1 of Alpha almost a year ago. It's all been a slow drip feed of changes. I can list all the biggest changes that have happened since Day 1 Alpha up to Present Day, from June 2019 to April 2020, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a tad disappointing. I think it's less about the content added and more about the fact it's all been spread apart so sporadically, making each stage of development from Alpha to Beta to Launch all feel the exact same.

    -Boneyard & Landslide
    -Power Cells - 3 Points no longer open at once, the cells spawn in threes instead of fours and break quicker
    -AI in Dojo
    -Tutorial Improvements
    -Social tab
    -Some cosmetics

    For me personally, I play on a Standard Xbox One on a wireless connection which has never caused me problems in other online games such as Gears, Overwatch, SoT. Ever since launch, the game has ran progressively worse. From extreme rubber banding to consistent choppy frame rates to complete freezes and crashes - I've never had more problems during the time I've had access to the game with latency and optimisation than I do right now, present day.

    Up until about 2 weeks ago, I had the highest profile level and highest amount of games played since the game launched. I absolutely love the game. Since then, I stopped playing because the latency and optimisation problems were unplayable on Xbox. I tried transitioning to PC and despite having less problems, it's not practical at all with my current setup and my PC can barely run the game on every low setting without sounding like it's going to blow up anyway. I gave it another shot tonight and while the same latency/optimisation issues were still present, the games I had with some of the best players in the community were so enjoyable and inspired me to make this post...because I truly care about the game and want it to succeed. Because when it plays right, there's not much better.

    The future - I'm optimistic that the game will soon be at a playable state again with a lot more content and a larger focus on the core values of the game. My worry is that it will have been too late and that the causal audience and even some hardcore players will have moved on.

    -Optimisation/Latency Improvements
    -A solution to backfill
    -Community events
    -New Gamemode
    -Incentives, Quests, Achievements, Progression

    The game at its core is amazing. I've never seen one complaint about the core gameplay. It's unique, charming, complex, rewarding. The developers are hugely passionate about the game. Ninja Theory is a great company. Everything is in place for the game to succeed. Patience and encouragement and I'm sure we'll get there 🙂

    Ultimately I think the most frustrating thing is that I know the game is solid, yet I'm unable to get the most out of it right now and we're nearly a month into full release. I'm certainly not undermining how challenging it is to create and maintain a game, especially in current circumstances, and I know it's easier for me to say all of this than it is to get it all done.

    I do hope everyone is keeping well during these times. That's always the priority.

  • Great post. Hopefully your feedback is read by many. It's tough to feel so passionate about a game yet so discouraged at the same time. The foundation of BE is strong and the potential is real; let's see what they're able to build upon.

  • @x-AmberPrice It’s weird that the game has been performing worse for you since launch. It was unplayable for me during beta 1, better in beta 2 but still awful, and has gotten significantly better after the game launched

    Although this is definitely also related to the fact that i started using a cable because the lag was so bad. Every other game worked fine for me wireless but not this game. And plugging it in made a huge difference. You seem to really love this game and want to keep playing it so i would suggest buying an ethernet cable from amazon.

    Even if your router is far away you can get a 25 ft cable for like 10 bucks and they even have 50 ft if necessary. You may be skeptical that it will make a difference because i was before i tried but for me it made the game much more playable and at this point most matches i’m in are pretty solid. My lag is about gone but sometimes other players skip around and the framerate can be low. But it’s way better than it used to be

    I agree they should add more content and features those would always be nice. But i guess the fact that their team is small combined with the pandemic would make it tough to create new things at a decent pace

    With regards to the plan for this game and it’s overall purpose, I don’t think microsoft envisioned it as a massive selling cash cow that tons of people would buy and play. This is shown in the fact that it has no microtransactions which says to me they’re not looking at this game to make as much money as possible off of it.

    I believe microsoft sees bleeding edge mostly as another great addition to the games pass library. Their goal was to add another reason to subscribe to games pass and for those who already have it to stay subscribed. GP owners are definitely their target audience which is also why i think there was little to no widespread promotion for this game

    They’re using it as an investment, content that will indirectly make them more money through helping with subscriptions rather than tons of game purchases. That’s my theory anyway

    Hope you’re able to start enjoying the game again at some point and that the cable works if you decide to try it

  • @ShadoWawker

    It’s weird that the game has been performing worse for you since launch / i started using a cable because the lag was so bad

    From what I've seen, a number of people are having all sorts of different issues. You're certainly not alone in your situation and neither am I. It is at least encouraging to know the recent patches have made a difference for some people.

    It is interesting to know that your lag issues were fixed using a wired connection. I have definitely considered trying it, but I am sceptical because I played the PC version wirelessly and had very little connection problems, so it must be something to do with the Xbox version rather than my internet. But I am a complete novice when it comes to anything technical in that field.

    I agree they should add more content and features those would always be nice. But i guess the fact that their team is small combined with the pandemic would make it tough to create new things at a decent pace

    Agreed, small team coupled with tough circumstances can be an unforgiving task. Again I don't know if it's just being unrealistic in my expectations but there has been very little change since June of 2019. Now full release is out and issues that you'd hope would perhaps have been flushed out during Alpha/Betas are priority fixes on launch and more content is pushed back. For a game with the model of drip feeding content to already be pushing back content and extending the drip feed in the launch window is a tad worrying.

    I believe microsoft sees bleeding edge mostly as another great addition to the games pass library. Their goal was to add another reason to subscribe to games pass and for those who already have it to stay subscribed. GP owners are definitely their target audience which is also why i think there was little to no widespread promotion for this game

    100%. Which is why I don't understand putting such little resources towards showing the casual majority of players that will pick up the game about what makes the game so great. Other than a tutorial which most people probably don't bother with, there's nothing. Players are dropping in, fighting like they're a GM Genji against a full team and then complaining that the game sucks and leaving after 20 games.

    Had there been more content like the Dev match during the Alpha that was hidden away in the Watch Zone only to later disappear completely, we would have a larger, more focused community IMO. Hardcore players who looked at trailers and thought it was a casual game with quirky characters and gave it a miss would be re-incentivised to give it a shot. Casual players wouldn't be so inclined to dive in blind and not give the game a chance with the right play style.

    One of VALORANT's big marketing packages prior to release was exactly that - an unscripted developer game, with communication, competitive focus, etc. That would've been perfect for Bleeding Edge, dropping something like that on social platforms, showing off the game at its best so the Game Pass majority will grasp the game a bit better.

    Another common complaint I see is that there was a lack of marketing with this game. I disagree and think the marketing was misplaced. Game Pass is enough to market to a casual audience. E3 is the biggest stage in the world. 2 more trailers were released after E3. Xbox social media changed their profile pictures to a Bleeding Edge theme for a while. Big streamers did play the game. I matched with HighDistortion and CDN during the Beta who are pretty massive names.

    There was never anything to promote the style of game that this was. Go to any trailer video and the comments are filled with "Overwatch Clone". People still call it an Overwatch clone FFS, couldn't be any further from the truth. You can't blame people for thinking that when marketing was more focused on a quirky set of characters rather than a competitive moba-like team fighter, with an emphasis on team. At a stretch, that's only really apparent in the "Team Up, Cause Chaos" slogan.