Today, the developer Trendy Entertainment released Dungeon Defenders: Eternity, a revamped version of the original Dungeon Defenders that promises new improvements, including graphical tweaks and dedicated servers to prevent hacking and cheating.
But fans are furious at the new release, which also adds a clunky new interface and online DRM to Dungeon Defenders, a tower defence game that's been quite popular since it hit Steam in 2011.
As of this afternoon, the Steam reviews page for Eternity is full of negative reviews, and the forums are full of fans angry about technical issues, general clunkiness, and a lack of singleplayer, which was promised both in the press release for Dungeon Defenders Eternity and on the Steam page, until it was quietly changed this afternoon. And right now, there is no offline mode for this new Dungeon Defenders, which is currently $US15 on Steam.
There's also no singleplayer or solo mode online, despite the press release claiming otherwise. That release reads: "Players can still slice, shoot and pulverize their enemies — or build defenses to do the dirty work for them — alone or with up to three friends."
In a statement to Kotaku this afternoon, Trendy producer Brad Logston said they would be re-releasing the game with a singleplayer mode attached. Their statement (emphasis mine):
We've made it clear in the past that Trendy Entertainment listens intently to the feedback we receive from our passionate fans, and today those fans did not hesitate to share their thoughts with us over our latest release, Dungeon Defenders Eternity.
Many of our loyalist fans have wondered where single player and private sessions went in today's release. In order to minimize hacking and cheats in the game, Eternity is now hosted on our own servers. Turning these features off in our initial release of Eternity was related to our fear that the server costs would be exponential, and cause us to lose significant money. We realise that jeopardizing the loyalty of fans far outweighs the risk of profit - and it was a mistake. We're deeply committed to maintaining that relationship with our players, and to that end, we will be re-releasing the game within the next few hours with singleplayer functionality fully integrated.
Beyond that immediate change, we're paying close attention to the other concerns being raised by the community and will keep everyone updated with further developments as soon as they're available.
This comes in the wake of what some fans saw as a misleading advertisement for the game, which was quietly stripped of the "singleplayer" tag once it was already live.
Here's a screenshot sent in by one Kotaku reader, taken at around 1:45pm Eastern:
Compare that to how the page looks now:
As for the glitches, well, when we tested out the game this afternoon, we weren't able to play.
This is the message we got:
And here's what we saw when we tried to play offline:
Fans say they have gone to Steam to ask for refunds in the wake of the game promising a singleplayer mode and offering none, though that may no longer be relevant, if Trendy's changes are implemented. Others are complaining about newly-added microtransactions and other issues.
Trendy, as you may remember, was embroiled in controversy last year after whistleblowers described it as a toxic, sexist workplace plagued by seven-day work-weeks and a culture of silence that left employees afraid to speak their minds.
Late last year, Trendy announced that in the wake of what had happened, they were revamping work on Dungeon Defenders II and would release the sequel to their popular tower defence game in 2014.