Content Warning devs fixing mic, video and connection problems after “wild ride” of a launch


It’s a fond hope, a fool’s hope, but perhaps 2024 will be remembered not as the year of Yet More Layoffs, but the year of Unexpected Hits. Surprise record-setters like Palworld, which I don’t especially like, Helldivers 2, which I rather enjoy, and now Content Warning, which I’m still figuring out. If you missed it, the co-op horror game released on Monday with a temporary free promotion, and racked up a 200,000-player Steam concurrency last night. Published by Totally Accurate Battle Simulator outfit Landfall, it’s sort of like Lethal Company in being about venturing into horrible places as a wibbly-wobbly defenceless explorer, but rather than gathering scrap for resale, you’re filming yourself and the monsters in a bid to publish a viral “SpookTube” video, with tuber celebrity translating into cash for new equipment.

Each video is edited together automatically from your footage and accompanying voicechat, once you return from each trip to the Old World, and you can watch it all on an in-game monitor with a mocked-up chat feed and viewcount. It’s a pungent, potted commentary on the machinations of Youtube celebrity, with heady notes of “cautionary tale about algorithmic content generation” and “cautionary tale about people endangering or hurting themselves being a dependable source of views”. Urgh, I can feel an op-ed coming on. In the meantime, here’s how the developers – a team of only five – are updating Content Warning following its launch success.

“The last 24h have been a wild ride to say the least, never did we imagine that we would get over 200K concurrent and over 6.2 MILLION owners of the game in 24h – THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!” reads a Steam post. The post also covers the main problems with the game at the time of writing. Take it away Mr Blockquote:

– Issues with voices

– Connection and hosting issues

– Issues with camera footage not extracting

– Issues with camera footage not being visible

The developers plan to roll out some fixes for the above beginning today. They’ve also been talking a bit about longer-term plans for the game on the Steam forums – it’s unconfirmed, but Content Warning might one day get community servers to ensure that it carries on if the developers stop supporting it.

“We don’t plan on shutting this game any time soon – don’t worry,” observed developer Botten Hanna in a Steam thread. “We have contingencies in place for this – for example our other server based game [Totally Accurate Battlegrounds] is still running 6 years on but has community servers available in case we ever need to stop paying for servers (which we do not intend to).”

Don’t expect a full-blooded update roadmap, or anything to that effect. This is a small team, and the developers aren’t really into the whole “live service” thing. Botten Hanna added in the above thread that “we generally don’t believe in games as a service, that isn’t how we want to work as developers or how we want people to play our games”. In a separate Steam discussion, Botten Hanna continued the point by offering words of support for the solo developer of Lethal Company, last winter’s surprise horror hit, in response to a hectic claim that the game has been ‘abandoned’ given the recent absence of major updates.

“As a fellow dev team, don’t call games abandoned – especially when made by a solo dev after not getting updates for a month or two,” they wrote. “Lethal Company dev has all of our respect, games take a LOT of time to make and maintain and they’re doing amazingly!”

Have you been playing Content Warning, and if so, what do you think – is this a horror offering with serious legs or just the latest meme release? Will it continue to go viral? What does “going viral” even mean, these days? Side note: if you were the people I played with yesterday evening, that wasn’t an issue with my microphone that kept me from joining the chat. I just didn’t want to speak because you were all being very noisy and dramatic, and I felt tired and scared. I hope me getting eaten by the Snail Man translated into decent SpookTube views.

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