Developers comment on Planetary Annihilation being sold as an Early Access title at retail
Early Access has exploded recently in popularity on Steam, with many developers releasing an unfinished game with the incentive that it will be finished in the future. This system has proven very successful for Steam, but it seems that Early Access may be stepping out of the digital world and into the retail world. This week, a reddit post popped up featuring a number of images that showcased the Kickstarted Early Access title, Planetary Annihilation, in a retail box with a large early access banner across it. The game is currently in Beta right now, and is set to officially release later this year. The game originally went through a kickstarter campaign to raise $900,000 but ended up receiving $2,229,344. Then the game was put on Steam Early Access to receive even more funding, originally charging people $90 in order to make it fair for the backers of the kickstarter. So with all this funding from the public, the developers have decided to release a full retail price version of a game that is unfinished.
When questioned about the selling of an early access game at retail, Jon Mavor (game director at Uber) replied with the statement “At Uber we’ve been trying really hard to innovate on business models during the entire development of [Planetary Annihilation]. We had planned to do a retail release all along and the early access box came about as part of our experimental attitude. Since early access works so well, our partners at Nordic thought that it would be worth trying an early access retail edition and we agreed it was a cool idea.” When Mavor was asked about releasing an unfinished game he replied “The real question is, why not? After all, they are getting the same game, just earlier. It’s a changing world and we hope to continue trying out new and innovative ways to make games.”
As someone who has tried early access games and got burned in the process, I dislike the entire notion of releasing an unfinished game for money as it creates a number of problems for the developers and the buyer. Early Access is not some perfect place where amazing titles like Mercenary Kings and Starbound can gain funding from the public, as while there are some good early access titles, its mainly just a lot of unfinished, buggy and sometimes unplayable games (Rust). The idea of releasing unfinished games on Steam annoys me, but the fact that they are entering the retail space is just insane. The line “upgrade to full game” can be a very subjective term, as these days who knows what a finished game even is?
Hyrule Warriors gets Twilight Princess DLC
Nintendo have held off on getting on board on the DLC train during the last generation, but it seems like these days they are full steam ahead to include DLC in their titles. The most recent piece of DLC is for Hyrule Warriors and will be a Twilight Princess costume pack. The costume pack has only been confirmed for Japan right now, but we may see a European release at some point. These outfits are part of the “courage and wisdom costume sets” with a possible power costume for Ganondorf to round up the Triforce trio. This DLC makes a lot of sense and fit in nicely with the game, unlike Nintendo’s last DLC romp with the Mercedes for Mario Kart 8.
Hyrule Warriors will release on September 26th for the Wii U.
Airtight Games closes its doors
In some sad new now as Airtight Games, the studio responsible for Dark Void, Quantum Conundrum and most recently, Murdered: Soul Suspect, have closed their doors. The news first came from the departure of key figures at the studio leaving in May and June. The news became official when the company confirmed the closure via its twitter, stating “Thanks to all of the fans, family, friends and colleagues who supported us and made the last 10 years possible. Thanks to all of the amazing people that worked on Dark Void, Quantum Conundrum, Murdered, Soul Fjord, Pixld and DerpBike.” Its sad news to hear that any developer has to shut down, and while Airtight Games wasn’t the most respected or groundbreaking developer, they tried new things, for better or worse. I hope all affected by the studio’s closure will find work soon.
Deep Silver reveals Escape Dead Island
The Dead Island series doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for some time, as not only do Deep Silver have Dead Island 2 in development, but they have now announced a new title in the series, Escape Dead Island. The game will be a single player adventure and will tell the tale of Cliff Calo, a rich teenager who steals a yacht with this friends to find out what happened to cause the zombie outbreak. The game will serve as somewhat of a bridge between Dead Island 1 and 2. The game definitely doesn’t look like a Dead Island game, as it uses a bizarre black, white and red aesthetic (somewhat similar to MadWorld for the Wii).
Escape Dead Island will release for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC this Fall.
The Wolf Among Us final episode will release next week
Well Bigby Wolf’s tale is almost at an end folks, Telltale has announced that the last episode of The Wolf Among Us, Cry Wolf, will release next week. The episode will release for PC on Tuesday and Wednesday on Xbox 360 and PS3. The last episode was quite short and did little other then build up this last episode, so lets hope that Telltale can bring their A game for the finale.
Episode 4 of The Walking Dead Season Two targeted for this month
Keeping with the Telltale news now, the next episode of The Walking Dead Season Two will be releasing this month. This news comes from Job Stauffer (Telltale director of public relations), who said that they are expecting to release episode 4 this month, with more details coming soon. This season has been really great so far, with Episode 3 cementing the visceral tone the series has been so well known for. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next for Clem and the crew.
British advertising authority fires a blow against EA’s Dungeon Keeper
Some interesting news now, as The British Advertising Standards Authority has filed a complaint against EA’s latest IOS cow clicker, Dungeon Keeper, and quite possibly the term “free-to-play” as we know it. The reason for this complaint was that the mobile version of Dungeon Keeper has certain mechanics that will push the player to buy things in order to progress. Dungeon Keeper was one of the worst examples of these cow clickers as of late, with the entire game design being centered around purchasing gems to progress (not to mention it destroyed everything that was great about the series). The complaint filed by the ASA points to the limitations the player is given unless you purchase the gems and how it is being wrongly advertised as “free”.
The assessment from the ASA states “We therefore regarded it as extremely likely that players would reach a position where they would be unable to take any further meaningful or progressive action in the game until a timer had finished or been skipped, and that these periods would become longer and more significant, and the cost of skipping increasingly higher, as the player progressed. Although some of the features in the ad did not require waiting for a timer, we noted that these were either incidental or brief (such as ‘slapping’ the imp characters) or were dependent on other actions that were gated by a timer.”
So what are the results of this shot from the ASA? Well, EA has been found guilty of “misleading advertising”, meaning they can no longer run ads claiming the game is free, and must now clearly state “the limitations of free gameplay and role of in-app purchasing with regard to speeding up gameplay.” While this news may not seem like a big deal, its a big hit against the recent pile of awful free to play titles on the market, and proves that EA can’t just make a game designed to make money via micro-transactions while claiming it is “free to play”.
Super Time Force Ultra heads to Steam
The previously Xbox One exclusive, Super Time Force, is making its way over to PC this summer with Super Time Force Ultra. This version of the game will include extra content, which Capybara has not revealed as of yet. Along with this new version of the game, the soundtrack will also be available to purchase for the first time ever. The original game was a run and gun shoot em up, similar to Contra, but with a slow down time mechanic and a number of different playable characters. I, for one, can’t wait to play Super Time Force on PC, as it gives me less of a reason to buy a next gen console, that and I love anything Capybara does.
Cliff Bleszinski makes a comeback with Boss Key Productions
Cliff Bleszinki, former Epic Games designer is coming out of retirement early, as he returning to the gaming industry with a brand new studio, Boss Key Productions. Cliff and his new team are hard at work developing their first game, Bluestreak. The news came directly from Cliffs twitter account, where he linked the official Boss Key twitter account and website. Not only did he link the website and twitter, but he also linked a countdown page that will expire next Tuesday. This countdown may result in the unveiling of what exactly Bluestreak is, so stay tuned. Cliff has showed interest in returning to the industry for a while now, as he showed signs of returning when Phil Fish decided to quit development on FEZ 2. I wish Cliff and his team at Boss Key Productions all the best with their future.
You can visit the official website here.
Civilization: Beyond Earth will release this October
The latest Civilization title is fast approaching, a lot faster then we thought actually, as 2K Games and Firaxis will be launching Civilization: Beyond Earth this October. The game will be a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, tasking you with exploring a new planet and battling for control of it against a number of other planetary explorers. October is already a jam packed month, and with Civilization: Beyond Earth being added to that list, it will be a wonder if I get any work done at all.
Civilization:Beyond Earth will release on October 24th for PC.