Temporary “Setback” for Season 2 iOS Launch

Well folks, you knew we couldn’t expect to have 2 completely flawless launches in a row right? Last month’s launch of Sentinels of the Multiverse on smartphones went off pretty much without a hitch, so of course, the same can’t be said of Season Pass 2. 

Despite our best efforts, it is looking unlikely that Season Pass 2 will launch on time on iOS. The Steam, Google Play and Amazon releases will occur as scheduled. For those interested in the specifics of why this is the case, read on. If not, just know that we plan to keep you posted with more updates as information becomes available.

Surprising Misfortune

Last Tuesday, September 6th, we were all set. We announced the launch date to our backers - there was plenty of time, what could go wrong?

In order to release an app on the App Store, we take the following steps:

  1. Build the app package from Unity/Xcode
  2. Upload it to iTunes Connect (Apple’s servers)
  3. Apple’s servers process the build
  4. We submit it for review (and wait)
  5. Apple’s review team approves it (hopefully)
  6. We release it to you!

If you were to guess which step we’re stuck in, you would probably guess review & approval… and you would be wrong. In the past, we’ve been stuck in the approval phase for up to a month. We’ve also been rejected at this phase which requires going back up to the top of the list. However, in this case, we’ve gotten tripped up at an earlier step.

Back to last Tuesday. As part of the regular process, we made a Release Candidate build (meaning we intend for it to be the final build, if there are no critical bugs). We uploaded it to iTunes Connect and it went into processing, like usual. As you can see in the screenshot below, we had been regularly uploading beta builds for the beta testers with no problems at all.

The processing phase normally takes anywhere from minutes to perhaps a couple hours if things are busy on Apple’s servers. The first time we realized something was amiss was when, several hours after uploading the build, it was still listed as processing. 

We know that Apple generally won’t be concerned about a problem like this until it’s been 24 hours. So we waited until that point, then contacted iTunes Connect tech support. They suggested we try again and wait another 24 hours. Fair enough, these things happen! We made a new build and uploaded it, and waited, and waited, and… emailed them again.

This continued for the next 7 days with new builds, more emails, several escalations to higher levels of Apple support and engineering as well as three separate case numbers. Throughout the process, we’ve been working through our launch plan under the assumption that this would be solved with enough time to make our launch date. However, at 48 hours out, we are still stuck so we’ve decided to communicate that with you, our players.

We are still working directly with Apple on resolving this problem, but since it seems to lie within their servers, we don’t have a timeline on when it will be solved. We will continue to let you know as much as we can throughout this “change from better to worse.”

Technical note: you might be wondering why we don’t submit build 542 for review. It’s because that build was made for the beta testers and has various important differences from a “production” build that we release to the public. It also has bugs we don’t want to ship. It would not be suitable for release, and would be rejected by Apple before getting to that point anyway. 

Updated Season 2 Launch Plan

  • The Steam release will come out this Friday around noon Eastern time.
  • The Google Play release will come out at some point this Friday, likely around midnight Eastern time. The discount period will last for 48 hours, through to the end of Saturday.
  • The Amazon Appstore release will come out at some point this Friday, likely around midnight Eastern time. The discount period will last for 48 hours, through to the end of Saturday.
  • If the iOS build becomes unstuck, and approved in time: it will also launch this Friday, likely around midnight Eastern time. The discount period will last for 48 hours, through to the end of Saturday.
  • If the iOS build does NOT become unstuck: We will reschedule the iOS launch for some time in the future. The 48 hour discount period on iOS will will also begin at this time. As promised, all Season Pass 2 sales on iOS during the discount will be counted towards unmet stretch goals, despite the delay. We will announce the new launch date for iOS when we have enough information to do so.

Variant note: Dark Watch Setback will not be available for unlocking until version 2.1 is available on all platforms.

We will do our best to communicate with you through this entire process and please believe us, as disappointing as this is for you, it’s even more so for us. We did everything in our power to make this Kickstarter work for all our players, Steam or Mobile, while also staying on the right side of the App Store guidelines. After all those efforts, to get tripped up at the finish line by what amounts to a technical glitch is very upsetting to say the least. We were hoping to exceed expectations, but now we feel like fumbling fools living an uncharmed life.

Thanks as always for being some of the most understanding and helpful fans in the world - we promise to get Season 2 to every one of you just as soon as we can.

- Jeremy & John, AKA Damäge Dealer and the Strategerist

Posted on September 14, 2016 .