Update: Following the publication of the original story below, Pocketwatch Games’ Andy Schatz responded to XBLA Fans’ requests for comment about working with Microsoft again. As he originally stated, Schatz hasn’t made any final platform decisions for Armada just yet.
“The deciding factor will be based on ho[w] closely we can interact with our fans and whether the platforms enable iterative development,” Schatz wrote in an email to XBLA Fans.
“We’ve been able to much better serve fans and interact with our community with the extremely easy process of rolling out updates through Steam,” he elucidated. “That’s not something I’ll be willing to give up for a game that may require constant balance changes and content additions!”
Gamers may remember that Microsoft was repeatedly lambasted by many in the independent game development community over the past few years due to its bug fix and game update policies. Those developers who complained were upset with issues surrounding costs, update sizes and certification processes and lead times. Some developers, like Uber Entertainment, went as far as to release subsequent games on platforms other than XBLA after feeling burned by Microsoft their first time releasing a digital game on Xbox 360.
Original Story: The next project from Pocketwatch Games, the two-man team behind 2013’s co-op heist title Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, is a real-time strategy game codenamed Armada. Pocketwatch’s Andy Schatz stated in a blog post that the success of Monaco, which sold more than 750,000 copies total despite only selling about 36,000 on XBLA as of last month, has put the studio in a position to create whatever it wants. What it wants is an RTS optimized for gamepad controls.
“With apologies to those devs who have tried, no one has ever made an RTS that played well on a dual analog gamepad. We’re gonna be the first to do it right,” Schatz promised. That does not, however, mean the game will be restricted to only a gamepad. Schatz goes on to write that playing Armada should be as enjoyable with dual analog as it is with a keyboard and mouse.
And there’s more to the game designer’s desire to create an RTS than just showing predecessors how it’s done with a controller. There’s his passion. Schatz has a love/hate relationship with the RTS genre and wants to put his own spin on it, which means designing a game in which “strategy is creative and complex and the micro is accessible and fun.”
Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine has been purchased more than half a million times, developer Pocketwatch Games revealed on Twitter earlier today. Unfortunately for Microsoft and fans of indie games on Xbox platforms, a paltry 36,000 of those sales took place on Xbox Live Arcade, with the remainder coming from the PC, Mac and Linux versions of Monaco.
The multiplayer stealth-action title was first released on PC in April of last year; an Xbox 360 release followed in May after a delay resulting from a bug that popped up during the Microsoft certification process pushed back the console version. The game’s PC, Mac and Linux versions were able to achieve sales to date of approximately 484,000 at least in part do to its inclusion in various Steam sales and its recent appearance as the bonus game in the Humble Indie Bundle 11.
With the unfortunate delay of Monaco for Xbox Live Arcade, we’ve all been waiting for whatever update we can find on when we’ll be able to play it. That …
Update: The story originally noted that Monaco would release prior to PAX East, but Pocketwatch has since explained that it was referring to PAX Prime. The copy below has been edited to reflect this clarification.
The three-year wait for indie developer Pocketwatch Games’ 4-player co-op heist game, Monaco, appears to be nearing its end. Pocketwatch announced on Facebook last week that it had submitted its game to Microsoft for pre-certification.
Yesterday the studio got a report back from Microsoft and stated that there was “nothing too scary in there!” Stressing the obvious, the studio now says that Monaco is “inching closer to launch.”
Exactly how close has Pocketwatch inched towards launch? Monaco will release before this year’s PAX Prime convention. Pocketwatch responded to an inquisitive fan on Twitter by saying that the game would be out on XBLA (and Steam) before this year’s PAX Prime. Penny Arcade has not yet announced a date for its yearly convention, but the event has historically been held in late August/early September.
Here we are once again at the start of what’s sure to be another fantastic year of XBLA releases. Each day this week XBLAFans will be rolling out a list of eight of our most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade releases of 2013. While we can’t possibly cover every single XBLA game planned for this year, we’ll be giving you a varied list of 40 of the most promising titles we expect to release on XBLA in 2013. Once it’s all done, be sure to check back in next Monday when each staff member makes his/her picks for the game he/she is most looking forward to.
Developer: Moon Spider Studio
Harold is a platforming/racing game, but not as you would expect. Far from charismatic or capable, the protagonist Harold is an embarrassment with legs. Luckily he has you, his guardian angel, to manipulate the track against his rivals and occasionally kick him in the pants with lightning. Harold twists side-scrolling racing with urgent puzzle-solving into its environment.