See I think that’s the issue. I don’t think that they do from their current position, i.e. barring what basically amounts to divine intervention. I think that’s unwarranted optimism.
Now, if say, Chris Roberts suddenly got eaten by a crocodile, and someone else entirely got put in charge, and the scope creep stopped and yet they still kept being given money and they focused down on getting some kind of playable game out and and and and and so on, yeah, maybe, something could happen.
But is that reasonable to expect? No. It’s not reasonable. It’s not reasonable, at this point, to expect anything but the game gradually continuing on for a few years of extremely slow and unsuccessful development, before being bought out by Tencent or the like, repurposed into something half-playable and kicked out the door.
I think the best case scenario in a lot of ways, here, would be that they do get bought by someone, who throws away everything they’ve done except the assets, and starts over with a reasonable plan and those assets. I strongly suspect that an actually sane developer, with the same assets, and say, $50m to $100m, could have an impressive game of this type out in 2-3 years.
But barring drastic things essentially happening to the project - i.e. people leaving, it getting bought and so on, nothing of much quality will be produced.
This at least is true. I don’t think there’s any sign at all of anyone else trying to pull of anything like this.
But the money vacuum-cleaner it created has probably set back space-combat and space-trading games by a huge amount though. Indie and AA ones simply won’t have even tried to get funding because of this in many cases, or won’t have been able to, if they did, because the same enthusiasts who might fund them are dumping thousands into imaginary spaceships here, so they’ve been working with a lot less money than they might have. We haven’t really seen even any cautious AAA attempts (despite various other formats and types of game being revived) at the genre until very recently. Elite got lucky that it got in early, and because it was competently run, and quickly produced a product and built a community (and did some clever marketing stuff via said community). But had they tried that a bit later, say, 2014/15, I think they might have faced more difficulties.
I’m not quite sure what you mean here. It is a disaster already. It’s just not a disaster that’s over yet. Even if they produce a game, even if it’s a playable and half-decent game (unlikely in the extreme), it’s a disaster because of the sheer amount of wasted money and effort. It simply should not, under any circumstances, take this long, with this much money, to produce so little, and so low-quality. It’s not even within the reasonable range of possibilities you could expect to output from the equation. So it is as disaster already. You gave as much money and time to almost any mildly experienced AA or AAA development team (and probably some indies), and you could have expected some kind of pretty impressive game by… a couple of years ago at latest. At a dead minimum.
If this was some sort of AAA moneyhole where the money came from a publisher, the plug would have been pulled, but because it’s basically a “scheme” rather than that, as long as it makes enough money to keep going, it’s worth keeping going (and apparently there’s no sign people are stopping funding it, which is amazing).
So yeah, again, whatever happens, the threshold for “disaster” has been met already.
As for “worked to the dismay”, I think literally the only thing that’s worked about this project is marketing to and exploiting whales. That’s it.