I think your in a no-win scenario.
I figured that before we ever made this change. Ultimately it will wash out, as those people who don't like the game won't buy it and may or may not complain about not liking it, and those that do like it will buy it and may or may not gush about liking it. Same as with any other game released, period.
Really, I think those comments were unfortunately inevitable.
Yep, this was my feeling before we even switched to side view. I've been shocked that youtube has (knock on wood) so far had 100% overall positive comments about the change, and the worst that's been said in these forums and on the blog has mostly been "I'm really not sure about this." That's a really big improvement over "I hate this and that with great passion," which is what we got a good percentage of before.
People complained about it one-way, then just complained about it under the pretense that your trying to copy another game's success (which I don't think you are). Ultimately, you can't win them all.
Oh, trust me, I know we can't win them all. I actually expected more "aren't you ripping off Terraria?" comments, but there have been surprisingly few. Seems the haters still feel they have enough ammunition with the art and our general intelligence without bringing that into play for the most part.
Yea, my feeling lately is that we could have saved an awful lot of grief by simply waiting until we had a playable demo to say word 1 about the actual game... but then we wouldn't have gotten a lot of feedback that has actually proven valuable, so I dunno. And we certainly have the previous experience of no-PR-until-release with Tidalis, which didn't go so well. No right answer, it seems, but always learning
We could definitely have saved an awful lot of grief, but I also think it would have ultimately been negative for the game. Both from a development standpoint, as well as from a PR/visibility standpoint. I think that the real "right answer" is to have enough money and studio popularity that you can develop in secret, then release a demo or the full game and worry about PR then. That's what the AAA studios more or less do, and now we see why.
I've been really tempted to respond to a few comments with "if you ever complain about developers not listening to you or talking to you, don't mention it to me or I'll have to laugh." But, of course, that wouldn't be kosher directly to say to someone -- they'd be surprised and outraged at such a direct attack on them. Don't get me started on the irony of that
Anyway, still no job I'd rather have than being an indie game developer. But this is one of those days that is absolutely
worse quality than any past job I've had. But that comes with making anything creative that is then sold to a mass audience, from the looks of it. Compared to being Stephanie Meyer, I actually feel fairly safe.