I started searching for games that had achieved a powerful sense of community, and one where there was an open conversation between developers and their fans, with real constructive criticism and attentive creators, places that felt like they were genuinely connecting people rather than just serving as glorified customer feedback venues.
These three are some recent standouts that not only engender a sense of community but also show how powerful it can be when developers themselves are directly involved in communicating with fans, rather than piping that communication through a staid (and often impersonal) PR intermediary.
Tooth and Tail
The creators at #PocketwatchGames (best known for their breakout heist hit, #MonacoWhatsYoursIsMine) have been looking for unique ways to build communities outside of the standard channels for years now, and seem to have found real success around their forthcoming game #ToothAndTail (currently in alpha).
The key to their success lies in the unique ways they’ve taken advantage of Discord and other social tools, directly inviting players to join their lively conversation and rewarding the most active members of their community with the chat app’s version of a gold star.
Pocketwatch rewards Roles to community members that have notably contributed, meaning their names appear in a different color and in front of a different background in chat, and have an in-Discord competitive game they call The Crown that lets players compete in Tooth and Tail for a unique Role and all the associated bragging rights.
They also rely on their robust Discord community to distribute alpha keys for their game and onboard new members, and even use community developed bots to sort out their matchmaking, instead of having to spend precious developer hours/resources building a system inside the game.
The first fully self-developed product from well-known #Arma modder (and contributer to the wildly popular #H1Z1KingOfTheHill) #Playerunknown, #Battlegrounds is already enjoying massive visibility on Twitch.
And it’s rife with evidence of its creator’s homegrown community background, with promises to respond directly to player feedback and integrate player suggestions into the game’s development. It’s already attracted a huge number of Steam users to its lively forums, and become a favorite of streamers who favor the sort of arena shooters that are so wildly popular on the top streaming services.
Playerunknown is clearly very eager to foster a healthy and thriving community (and clearly very aware of how crucial that sort of community is to a game like Battlegrounds), and has promised to continue providing regular updates in the form of developer diaries, and the opportunity for committed fans to test out new features and game modes before they’re released.
With their wildly ambitious sandbox, shaping up to blend elements of #Minecraft and user generated content with the multiplayer possibilities of a modern MMO, the creators at #BossaStudios appear very committed to building a thriving community of engaged players around #WorldsAdrift.
From releasing a steady stream of news and updates on their official sites and with the game’s Steam community, to featuring fan art prominently on their game’s homepage, to maintaining regular communication with fans in their forum, Bossa Studios has been working hard to engender the sense that players are engaged with every step of the game’s development.
And it’s clearly a strategy that’s working, as World’s Adrift has an incredibly active and vibrant community, particularly when you consider that it’s an unreleased game that hasn’t even produced a beta or Early Access build.