The Bulletin is a roundup of a few game-related news stories from the previous week.
People aren’t buying many Ouya games
The Ouya, game system of the people, has been available for almost a month, and now, some of its developers are coming forward to report on how their games have been selling on the “all games are free (to try)” console. Short version: It’s not going all that well. Long version: As reported by Gamasutra, several games are selling below expectations, with Organ Trail developer Ryan Wiemeyer saying he doesn’t even know “if it was worth the man hours yet.” As I mentioned when the Ouya launched, its open nature and physical controller make it a perfect home for playing emulated (and pirated) versions of classic games for free. Right now, a PlayStation emulator is sitting at number five on the “Most Popular” page of the Ouya’s store, and a library of free PlayStation games is a much more enticing prospect to some people than any one game you have to pay for. To wit, this Polygon report says that only 27 percent of Ouya owners have actually paid for a game.
It’s not all bad, though. TowerFall, the de-facto flagship Ouya exclusive, has sold about 2,000 copies, according to developer Matt Thorson, who’s quoted in a recent Edge report. Thorson says this is “surprisingly high for a new game on a new console,” which is a cheery glass-half-full sentiment, so hey, good for him.
MercurySteam is done with Castlevania
I really liked Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow, but I always got the impression that it was meant to be something completely new and original that had some traditional Castlevania flavors added to it late in development. Now, with a sequel coming soon, the developers are making some comments that back up that theory. Speaking with Destructoid, producer Dave Cox said that he and the developers at MercurySteam never felt like they “owned Castlevania” and that while it was their responsibility to do justice to the series, they would eventually pass it on to someone else. Because of this, MercurySteam will be moving on from the vampire-hunting beat after Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2 comes out later this year. That is assuming, of course, that MercurySteam manages to unlock the Inverted Castle and defeat Lords Of Shadow’s true form. Only then will they actually be done with Castlevania.
Kickstarter Roundup: Mighty Morphin’ Eternal Darkness!
Let it never be said that outspoken game developer Denis Dyack is one to avoid getting back on the horse when he gets violently bucked off. Early last month, Dyack and his Precursor Games studio canceled the multiple crowdfunding campaigns for Shadow Of The Eternals, a planned spiritual sequel to the cult classic horror game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. In a surprising move for people like me (who figured we had heard the last of this project) Shadow Of The Eternals is back with a brand new Kickstarter campaign and a reinvigorated mission—and minus one disgraced developer. The new project is seeking $750,000—half what the studio was asking for the first time. While Shadow Of The Eternals was initially pitched as an episodic adventure, with the crowdfunding campaign only paying for the first episode, this rebooted version will be a stand-alone game. As of this writing, Shadow Of The Eternals 2.0 has raised about $60,000 with most of the campaign still to go, so maybe—just maybe—we’ll actually get to play this someday.
Every Xbox One can be used to make games, plus there’s more good news that Microsoft will make sure you remember
As reported by Joystiq, Microsoft has announced that every Xbox One console can be used as a development kit, allowing anyone to make and publish their own games for the system. Self-publishing on the Xbox 360 relegates your game to the dank, unloved “Indie” section of the Xbox Live Marketplace, making it harder to find, but it looks like the Xbox One will be a little more welcoming for less-established game developers. Also, Microsoft says that these indie games will be able to use “all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live…this means Kinect, the cloud, and Achievements.” The company will have more details about self-publishing at the Gamescom convention in Germany this August, adding more credence to the idea that they will use that opportunity to parade out all of the recent Xbox One changes that people are probably going to be positive about. Hey, at this rate, maybe the Xbox One will get a better name by the time it launches!