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It didn't surprise me to find that Dirty Bomb was in development at Splash Damage, makers of 2011's Brink. The two look quite similar visually, but maybe with a bit more restraint. Colors don't splash the walls and floor, leaving room for more realistic, muted tones.
What did surprise me was the level of input gamers have in the way maps, guns, and classes worked. It might sound silly to hear that SD is "upping the ante" by leaping ahead of the beta process, but when it comes to online first-person shooters, such a high volume of developer-player interaction is crucial.
The most popular, longest lasting, and highest selling PC shooters are the ones that cater to players with tons of updates. In that sense, enjoying years of time in game where your actions are actually helping to fine-tune and make the experience more fun might make buying in now actually worth it.
That's right, this work is all leading up to an eventual product launch. At the moment, you can buy yourself a spot in line for the closed alpha. $30 gives you "Priority Access" but the Legendary Pack at $120 will give you access "NOW." Splash Damage has also gone with full Kickstarter pricing schemes and offered some players access to the developer chat room and forum ($240+).
What do you think about this alternative approach from the minds behind some of the most beloved and most meh'd shooters?