'Misleading advertising' controversy plagues The War Z

'Misleading advertising' controversy plagues The War Z
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

December 19th 2012 at 12:28PM

Hundreds of users claim Steam title lacks a number of promoted features

Angry consumers have spoken out on the controversial Steam release of zombie survival game The War Z over claims that the title has been falsely advertised.

Developed by Hammerpoint Interactive, the game was previously sold as being in an open alpha stage, in which players could pay to enter as the title was developed and updated, similar to the iterative model used by Minecraft.

Although controversy has surrounded the title for some time, hundreds of angry users have now taken to Steam to express their disappointment with the title and have alleged that was falsely advertised to them, with many chasing a refund to the Steam top seller.

“I bought two copies of this game, and i want an immediate refund,” said one user Adonis.

“I am actually not impressed with 'Steam' at all. This game is for certain not ready to be launched, there is misleading info on Steam which I trust, saying you can get your own server, skill tree etc. There was nothing at all.”

The description of the title, currently in what the developer refers to as the ‘Foundation release’, which is not mentioned on its Steam page, has been altered since the game’s release to reflect criticisms from users that advertised features were not actually included.

Initial claims included suggestions that the open world title included areas between 100 to 400 square kilometres in size, that servers could take up to 100 people while the game’s website depicts an image of a player driving a car – despite driving not being included in the game.

The Steam page has now been altered with a shortened feature list, and has also removed the suggestion of multiple areas to just the game’s first and only map of Colorado as “over 100 square km in size”. Users have still disputed the map size however and have also said there is no hardcore mode as advertised.

An upcoming features list has also been added, which explains upcoming features expected by the end of January such as leaderboards and private gameworld server rentals.

In defence of the allegations placed at Hammerpoint, The War Z executive producer Sergey Titov has taken to the game’s forum and said it had changed the title’s Steam description as it "was clear that there were a number of customers that felt that information about the game was presented in a way that could have allowed for multiple interpretations”.

“We've taken steps to correct this and format information presented on our Steam Store page in a way so it provides more clear information about game features that are present in the Foundation Release and what to expect in the coming weeks,” said Titov.

“We also want to extend our apologies to all players who misread information about game features.”

Also addressing the issue in a previous post, Titov defended the various claims against the studio, and also suggested much of the criticism levelled at the title came from “extreme DayZ fanboys” and players “that got a different game from what they expected”.