Double Fine's free-to-play iOS game Middle Manager of Justice
accidentally launched on the App Store on September 5, as an incomplete, buggy version of the final game. Double Fine pulled it quickly, but not before potential players caught wind
and downloaded it. Lead developer Kee Chi explains to Gamasutra how this all went down, and why it's not so bad in the end.
"Yeah, it was totally my fault," Chi says. "With the way you submit things on the App Store, you have to specify what the release date is, and a while back we had set the date to September, but at the time we didn't know if that would be final or not.
"Once we submitted the game, we realized we had a lot of things we still needed to tweak and fix, but at the same time, we didn't want to remove it from the [submission] process in case Apple catches other things we need to take care of, and we didn't want to do a double submission."
Chi's tech director called him on his way to work last week, saying Middle Manager
was live in every territory. It appears Apple took that September release window to heart. "I just went 'What?'" Chi recalls. "At Double Fine, we pride ourselves on putting a solid product out there, so having something out there that was buggy and not quite ready yet was really frustrating."
This is Double Fine's first foray into full-on mobile gaming and it anticipated surprises. Chi and Double Fine decided to turn these accidental players into beta testers, reaching out on various forums
to encourage feedback.
"I guess it kind of just turned into a beta test," Chi says. "I mean, if people find bugs that we haven't found internally, I'd love to know about them so I can fix them."