I read this in Empyrion's news feed
Today is the day: we are leaving Early Access, starting into the post-Alpha development phase.
- We have removed the Alpha-tag from the build number, as this term was tied to the Early Access phase.
- The version will now read 1.x instead of 13.x or 14.x etc. This had to happen as well to make a clear cut.
- Everything beyond that, development and refinement of features will stay pretty much the same.
They are just labels. It doesn't really matter if it is called A20 or B1 since regardless of what they call it development will stay pretty much the same. The important thing is that development is continuing and the game is improving. "Early Access" is a sort of protection that allows developers the leeway of releasing builds that are WIP because that is the expectation of people who actually understand what Early Access means. Remove that label and TFP will be subject to criticism based on expectations of a game that is practically done and there will be even less patience with undone portions of the game. If you look at the difference in criticism between people who understand what Early Access is and those who don't (or who don't believe it is real) there is a huge difference in outrage level between them.
It's just like Experimental vs Stable. When the game gets the stable label you will see critics come out of the woodwork lambasting the developers for bugs that in their expectations were forgivable during experimental but deplorable during stable. The devs will just keep doing what they are doing now regardless of the change in status.