Sergey Titov, executive producer from Hammerpoint Interactive, released a lengthy open letter to the War Z community yesterday essentially admitting they've made some serious mistakes. In the letter Sergey even goes so far as to apologize to his game's community and the greater gaming community as well for his arrogance and what led to a what he describes as a "perfect storm." Those involved with the War Z drama should definitely give it a read, for better or worse.
In regards to the future, Titov promises that his team is reworking their entire approach to community management and that Hammerpoint is reconsidering its relations with OP Productions, The War Z's publisher. Ultimately, whether Titov follows through with his promise or if it actually solves anything is a ways down the road, but at least he's willing to discuss the issues frankly.
"This failure is entirely on my shoulders and if anything I owe thanks to that vocal minority and admit that I should have paid attention sooner. I chose instead to concentrate on the bigger picture – my dream of turning The War Z from being a game developed by a small indie team into a large online venture, instead of addressing small things first and staying focused on the game issues."
Still, despite some very candid language in which Titov takes full responsibility for the issues at hand, the piece also reads like marketing at places. We're constantly reminded that The War Z is extremely successful, that there are hundreds of thousands of players every day, and that dissent has been limited to an extremely low percentage of players. Add in that the second half of the letter is just a discussion on plans for future development and it's difficult to take it seriously.
I was raised with the belief that when you're apologizing you start by saying you're sorry, you end by saying you're sorry, and you let the recipient decide what comes next. Titov says sorry in the first block of his letter, and spends the rest downplaying the extent of the issues and talking up his game and its future. The apology rings sincere, by no doubt, but at the same time it feels like an abusive relationship partner asking for a second chance.
Nevertheless, admitting the problem is the first step of every healing process. We'll see where things go from here. After all, they've got an opportunity to start over from scratch if they want to.