I recently tried out the very funny Orcs Must Die demo on Steam, a fantastic tower defense game with a great sense of humor and terrific gameplay. I enjoyed the demo, and I really wanted to play the full game. Except for one small problem. I couldn’t remap the keys.
The game uses WASD for movement. I don’t. I use WSDF (or preferably, right-mouse button for forward movement, SDF for back, left, right). This is my shooter setup. It’s the control scheme I’ve been using for years, and it works for me. But since I couldn’t remap the keys, I spent a good portion of the demo going left when I meant to go backward and right when I meant to go left. It made the game far more difficult than it had to be.
So I didn’t buy OMD on release, even though it’s only $15 on Steam. I want to buy the game. If I find myself in a gaming lull, which I am most definitely not in, I may buy it eventually. But right now, being frustrated by the controls is enough to override my desire to play the game.
I read a comment from another gamer on why key remapping is even more important for some: he used a mouse left-handed. The inability to remap the keys meant he couldn’t even play, because the control scheme was way outside his comfort zone. (I’m left-handed, too, but I use a mouse right-handed).
Let your customers decide for ourselves how we’re going to control the game. We’re the ones using it, after all.