While Dota 2 made its debut at gamescom this week, complete with its own nostalgia-packed CG trailer. Unfortunately, Valve's take on this classic strategy title won't be seeing the light of day until 2012.
Valve boss Gabe Newell revealed that the studio was still trying to solidify certain aspects of the game. Beta will begin after gamescom ends, but the final build is being delayed. The beta will be an invitation-only affair to start, before going public. "And then we'll probably start worrying about how we'll monetise it," Newell stated.
"We'll just go into progressively wider and wider distribution. I don't think it'll be shipped until next year."
Not that this is the sort of game you can just release and be done with. "But then, with a game like this, you just keep shipping. You add new heroes. You try out new game modes. You are constantly tweaking item and hero balance. It's very much an ongoing thing."
Dota 2 will be released through Steam, obviously, but Valve still hasn't settled on a proper business model. Interestingly enough, Newell and company still haven't decided on anything, since that particular hurdle took a backseat to gameplay development.
"We don't have a plan," Newell explained. "IceFrog has a bunch of testers he's worked with as long as he's been doing development. The first thing we've been working with is addressing their concerns. We've been through four or five different versions of the user interface, getting it to the point where we've addressed the feedback we've got from those guys.
"For us now, this tournament is a really good step. A bunch of the features we're building in the design of Dota 2 related to being able to put on a tournament like this. There's a bunch of stat stuff. There's a bunch of website development, support for simultaneous, four-language broadcasting. This was the next step."
When asked whether Dota 2 could be free-to-play like Team Fortress 2, Newell was hesitant to confirm anything. The biggest obstacle, according to Newell, is creating a system that would appease both the existing Dota fans and new players.
"The problem isn't to figure out what your monetisation strategy is. If you have something with a super careful monetisation strategy and it sucks, it doesn't matter," Newell said.
"The most important thing is to do something that resonates well with the existing Dota players and creates a vehicle for new players to join into the community. That's the hard problem. That's the interesting one to solve."