San Francisco-based developer Perpetual Entertainment has pushed back the release of its PC MMORPG Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising
, due to the need for further beta testing.
This is the second time the target launch has been delayed; the prior incident coincided with layoffs at Perpetual
in December 2006.
However, in an exclusive interview with Gamasutra, Perpetual CEO Chris McKibbin maintained that a formal ship date has never been solidified. "We have been targeting a fall launch and we are extending the time in beta to focus on quality and polish," he explained. "From our standpoint we want to give our game more time to get to [that level] of polish, rather than rush to a ship date."
McKibbin stressed that Gods and Heroes
is a content-complete closed beta, whereas prior testing as of early 2007 had involved only an art-complete build.
Additionally, McKibbin told Gamasutra that Perpetual would be laying off another 30-40 employees. "The size and bar of content creation is very high and requires a pretty sizable team," he said, "The process of really play-tuning and balancing takes a much smaller, more focused and agile team, and so that is the transition right now."
He added that Perpetual would be assisting its former employees in finding new positions, either as part of the team of Perpetual's Star Trek Online
or with other developers.
Asked about reports that Sony Online had shifted from co-publisher to solely a marketing role
with Gods and Heroes
, representing a backing-off the project by Sony, McKibbin called it a "non-story that people spun a little." He clarified: "There was no change in our relationship with Sony... part of the confusion comes from the difference between online games and packaged goods games. Perpetual has always been the financer and creator of Gods and Heroes
. What [Sony was] doing initially versus what they are doing now is the same; marketing and distribution, and that's it. We have a great relationship with them, and there hasn't been any change with that."
Though McKibbin said that his team is "pretty happy" with the current progress of beta testing, he was hesitant to set a ship date. He allowed, however, that Perpetual is hoping for an early 2008 release.
"We put a high value on listening to our beta community and then reacting and making those changes, and we want to continue and give ourselves more time to do that, and give the community more time to play the game," McKibbin said.