It’s been a turbulent launch for new MMO The War Z and it’s developer/publisher Hammerpoint Interactive. While rumors have surfaced that Hammerpoint was unfairly banning players from the beta, these quickly fell by the wayside as coming from ex-exployees of the developer. However, now something much more tangible has happened. After a short time as Steam’s top seller, Valve has quietly removed The War Z from the front page, and made it no longer purchasable.
We apologize for this and have temporary removed the sale offering of the title until we have time to work with the developer and have confidence in a new build. Those who purchase the game and wish to continue playing it via Steam may do so. Those who purchased the title via Steam and are unhappy with what they received may seek a refund bycreating a ticket at our support site here.
Valve’s move to offer a refund for a Steam purchase is nearly unprecedented. The company is now offering full refunds after The War Z is pulled off the digital shelves over complaints of misleading sale information and not disclosing that the game was still in alpha/beta stage. While there have been lemons in the past, they have always steadfastly directed angry customers towards the publisher. The change is policy can only mean that whatever is going on behind the scenes, it’s big. Many customers were disappointed with the state the game was launched in, but this is not the first time this has arisen with a game sold on Steam. Something has forced Valve to act, the likely culprit being Hammerpoint Studios.
The small independent developer that made The War Z may simply be unable or unwilling to handle the massive amounts of negative feedback heading their way, and have already placed The War Z forums on lockdown in response to the outrage. Looking at The War Z’s old sale page, you can see they made no mention of the game’s unfinished status, which struck a nerve with players as it did with the recent Towns fiasco which threatened the credibility of Steam’s new Greenlight service.
This situation is clearly still unfolding and it may be a while until clearer heads are giving us the full run down on what is happening other then a small statement from Hammerpoint’s producer Sergey Titov. We’ll be sure to stay on top of it and let you know. Until then I suppose Left 4 Dead 2 or the DayZ mod will have to suffice.
At the same time it was clear that there were a number of customers that felt that information about the game was presented in a way that could have allowed for multiple interpretations.