Reew Games appears to be a small, independent video game developer out of Russia. They have never released a game, to my knowledge. Their first game is in development, and it's called Reverse Side. It utilises Unreal Engine 4, is set on the dark side of the Moon and appears to be a sci-fi survival adventure game.
And it was supposed to come out over a month ago.
That alone isn't that big deal, but the method in which the game has been delayed has been quite strange.
I first stumbled across the game's page on Steam while checking out what new items were coming up. It looked intriguing and I am someone who often puts down money on indie games just to see what's out there and support the development community. I quickly added Reverse Side to my wish list, and waited. When I checked back, the release date had come, but the game had not.
There seemed to be a lot of confusion about what was going on, exacerbated by the fact that the developer wrote mostly in Russian and didn't have very good english translators. (One of their trailers had the tag "Welcome to Moon.")
Soon the release date was pushed back a week. Ok, no problem, it's rough for a small developer, I get it. So I came back a week later and...
After a while the developer left a slightly awkward post about "Now the game is to be checked. If all goes well, it will be immediately downloaded and available in the store". And the wait continued.
In good faith, it seemed, Reew Games decided (though they REALLY shouldn't have) to release a free demo to appease the interested gamers waiting for the release. And it seemed there were people (myself included) who were really curious about this game. After the demo was released, however, I was even more curious.
It contained barely any options, a ridiculouly long opening shot (it sits on the title for about 30 seconds) and a very strange game underneath it all. The camera was uncomfortably situated over the shoulder, but in a way that your character's barely-detailed head blocks about a third of the screen. The camera also has a filter that makes it look smudgy and has more lense flares than a JJ Abrams movie. All of this would be forgiveable if it worked.
Upon loading the first level I found that none of my objective markers led me to anything useful. This it seemed was because I couldn't find a workable "action" button to open any doors or activate any objects. Some people said "E", some said (strangely) "Tab", I tried them all, including mouse buttons and nothing worked. But I did notice it had a console option.
I explored the console commands, desperately trying to find a way to proceed, and eventually I found a way to skip the opening level and get to the Moon. Finally I was playing something that seemed remotely like a game. Not a very good one, but a game nonetheless.
It seemed as if the demo was not meant to be released, but that in order to keep people interested they had to release something. I'm still not sure why they thought this would help. The mystery was way cooler than the demo. (The demo was also described as merely a "tech demo" though I'm not sure that helps its case since "technically", it's broken.)
Since this demo the game has been delayed on an almost weekly basis, with no real explanation. Russian translations of some of the comments bring up talk of the developers being unprofessional and having used people without paying them. It's all circumstantial however and also hindered by the terrible quality of Google Translate.
Today the game was supposed to come out. Today it was pushed back a week. Another handful of "WTF?" comments have made the rounds on the message boards, and the developer has again barely said anything in its defense.
I am completely fine with delays. I would rather have a great game later than a broken one now, but it's this constant carrot-dangling that I find mystifying. Why not delay the game a month? Why not go early-access? And what exactly is the problem?
A while back I bought a game on Steam called "The House". It was horrible. I won't get into it here but you can read all about it in the user reviews. That game was released and has continued to be supported on Steam. So what could be so bad about Reverse Side that Steam won't release it?
That one comment, though: "Now the game is to be checked. If all goes well, it will be immediately downloaded and available in the store." It makes me think that every week Reew Games sends its latest version to Steam and every week Steam says "No."
And Steam said yes to "The House".
What is going on here?
I should give up. There is no reason to follow this game at all anymore. And yet, I'm sure on Dec. 1st, the new release date of the game, I will be logging on and checking it out. Most likely it'll have a new release date, and a new handful of exasperated/humorous comments about the developers ineptitude.
But maybe one day we'll get to see the dark side of the Moon. And maybe, just maybe... it won't suck. Here's hoping.