Alright, just got back from lunch so I'm considerably less cranky now. I also talked with a friend about video games in general and I think I have a bit better idea of what ultimately bothered me about the game and the post.
Basically it's become the industry standard to release games that are still in development and then patch them after release, Left4Dead was a perfect example. It was blatanly unfinished, in spite of being a major title from a premiere developer. I assume the earlier cash infusions are used to develop the game, or the lack thereof is used to justify its discontiunation. Whatever the reason, it's such common practice now that when you play a game and see something broken or incomplete you just assume it's going to be patched.
Anyway, when I really got into this game it was obvious to me that it was much more complete than Left4Dead, but it still had issues which it seemed would inevitably be patched. It's been quite a while now though and they haven't been, and when you look at what information we have as players it seems like there was a major lull in the post-release development of this game. We could call that time complete B.S. (Before Sorian).
Now the problem may very well have been that GPG decided to focus resources on issues which are not particularly visible to the players. Perhaps they resolved a lot of stability issues, hardware compatibility, or any number of issues which aren't even a blip on the radar to you if you're lucky enough to have a system that isn't affected by them, but are crucial nonetheless.
Regardless the result is that now when I think about GPG I simply do not view them as a company concerned with image maintenance. Even if they had no post-release development agreement with SD, I would think they'd be very concerned with the pereception of their products regardless. Instead they seem to view each project as its own seperate entity and not a part of their greater portfolio, as though it doesn't have the capacity to color other work, including upcoming projects.
Now obviously a lot of people probably don't care about that kind of company persona or they will simply not realize Demigod was developed by them. However, I will and I assume game reviewers and a decent amount of other vocal gamers do too. just wish that would light a fire under GPG's rears and motivate them to get more DG work out the door, regardless of whether the SD checks cash.
And then, of course, I see how developers could be tempted to disregard this kind of criticism. As I said, Left 4 Dead was woefully incomplete at launch. Only half the campaigns were playable in versus mode, which is the primary long-term draw of the game. Only one out of three finales actually feels complete (no mercy), a handful of crescendo events, the events that are supposed to be the climaxes of the levels, aren't actually the easiest and cheesiest parts of the levels. In spite of all that, I pre-ordered L4D2, so I can see the mixed messages that must send to these people.
However, while I was as pissed as anyone that L4D2 was announced before L4D1 was fixed, I was willing to take a chance on it because they marketed the game in a way which showed it was designed to fix all of the flaws with L4D1. From the mechanics of the spitter to the design of crescendo events which required player movement (previously you'd just all stand on stop of each other under a pipe where zombies couldn't get you), they showed that they understood exactly what was wrong with the first.
In that sense if six months GPG announced an expansion or even DG2 and it had a list of new features which showed GPG understood exactly what players took issue issue with on the first one, then I would buy it, but it'll take that kind of insightful marketing to pull me on board again.
Also I have to wonder if paid DLC was ever discussed if that's what it takes to get more maps and DGs out?