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This is the Steam Early Access for Killing Floor 2. The game is what we consider a "polished beta" and is ready for you to play, just with a reduced set of content, so that we can get player feedback on the balance and gameplay. That feedback will help us get the game to be the best it can be, as we add the rest of the content, piece by piece.
Tripwire Interactive has a very firm view on what Early Access means. And some very firm views on what it doesn't mean, as well. There may still be beta-level bugs, but nothing game-breaking. The game should be fully playable, from starting a co-op or solo game, through to beating the boss at the end of the game. The game is not "finished" yet - the Early Access version has a reduced set of Perks and weapons from the planned final set, so that we can balance a step at a time.
We see Early Access as an opportunity to involve you, the community, and actually incorporate your feedback as we balance and put the finishing touches on the game. For example, we know how to nail the feel of Killing Floor 2's weapons, but perfect gameplay balance can only come from large scale play testing.
So this is what we primarily want from Early Access and the Killing Floor community: help us balance the game right. We need as many players in the game as possible and your feedback to achieve this. We will start with 4 Perks, with their Perk weapons, plus a few off-Perk weapons, playing across just 3 of the final levels. We'll be recording a lot of analytic data during Early Access (what weapons you use, where you die, where you die again and again, plus so much more - but NOTHING personal or that allows us to identify individuals). For us it's all about getting your feedback (objective analytics and subjective feel) and letting it help us make smart decisions for what eventually becomes the FULL RELEASE.
Until it's done...
No, we're not kidding. We know we've all seen games hit Early Access and seemingly never get to the point of Full Release, but our goal is to have KF2 out before the end of 2015. We have to balance what is in Early Access, then incrementally add more content, re-balance, more content, re-balance, rinse-and-repeat until we have all the content in and balanced.
The goals for the full version are for all 10 Perks, more levels and more weapons. In addition to incorporating community feedback into our tuning and balancing we're also working on some additional features that we plan to debut in the Full Release.
And a warning: it is almost certain that we will wipe all statistics, including Perk leveling and Achievements one or more times during Early Access!
We consider Killing Floor 2 to be very close to a Full Release candidate but with a smaller subset of the final content. There shouldn't be any game-breaking bugs. You should be able to use all the content in Early Access fully.
No, we're not going to mess about with the pricing. It is one price now and for release. The Early Access version will steadily expand until it is the full release version. And then you'll get all the usual free Tripwire content and events. For the life of the game. For free. And we'll produce other content for sale for the game, just as we did with the first Killing Floor, to help keep all that free stuff funded.
"One of the factors that has determined Tripwire's success has been our relationship with the community. Engaging the community and incorporating their feedback into our products is standard operating procedure at Tripwire.