That title is a good thing, mind you. I'll be going over some week-old news and an old topic in the blogging circle here.
The week old news is the Salem AMA (Ask Me Anything) that one of the developers held on Reddit rather spontaneously last week. You can find the results here, and I found it extremely interesting despite not having any interest in playing the game.
The old topic is "It's not for you", a kind of phrase that gets passed around very little in the MMORPG community for a variety of reasons, most of which involve alienating potential customers.
Anyway, so reading through this I was surprised at the lack of bile or irrelevant things posted, but perhaps that is due to moderators or maybe the Reddit crowd being more mature or something. I dunno, I don't use that site. However, the tone I got from this guy is that he is completely unapologetic for the various systems in his game that can be considered "unforgiving". If you commit a crime, you have a good chance of having your character killed off, even if you are offline. Your character can be summoned and killed off when you are offline, should the series of clues left after the crime lead to your character. It's a system they used in their previous game, Haven and Hearth.
Let me pull a specific quote from there.
"That being said, I've played our previous game H&H...
...for months and through multiple worlds and I've only died like three times, and when I have died I've done so because I've been a thieving bastard and deserved it. You don't die very often, and if you want to stay out of trouble, you usually can.
But I fully understand that that cannot be everyone's cup of tea. And I'm fine with that. :)"
I'm fine with it too, Björn Johannessen. I have a lot of respect for a developer who can say that. Right now the MMORPG industry is in a place where games fit a certain criteria in order to appeal to a certain playerbase, and that is the theme park playerbase. I can't sit here and chastise companies for funding projects for that, because it is the largest market available and the one with the safest elements. I believe SWTOR will succeed because it is safe and it embraced that, and then went on to improve on the system rather than simply copy it and call it a day.
Whether we like it or not, the industry is in a place right now where it is subjected to the whims of that playerbase, and many companies can't afford to ignore complaints in order to keep subscribers. Despite the raging success of the F2P systems lately, I highly doubt anyone would say that DCUO was made free because it thought the system was a good fit. They did it first and foremost to get warm bodies in the door for revenue.
Independent studios, like the one creating Salem or the one behind Glitch, don't have those large production fees associated with intellectual properties or high-end graphics. Now is a fantastic time for those companies to come in and start building their own playerbases around systems we now consider niche. The sandbox genre, for example. SWG is closing down, but an independent studio can revive that style of gameplay and have a following. Granted, the American economy is not in a place where starting a company is a sound plan, but you understand.
Permadeath might not be your cup of tea, and neither is a game where the main goal is to make a community. But hey, it's somebody's thing, and they'll play it and love the hell out of it. I'm glad that Björn here knows that, because it means more time spent cultivating this style of gameplay and less time scrambling to rope in players who aren't interested in your game to begin with.