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Unless E3 has completely fried your brain and lost track of time, you may remember on Friday that Super Rare Games – one of the major publishers that helps indie studios release physical editions of their games – “Super Rare Shorts “announced. that was their plan to fund pure indie releases. (We spoke to them about this if you wanted a little more context.)
While purely physical releases can be good news for collectors, it was worrying news for others who had concerns about availability, short pre-order windows, and the general exclusion of certain games. A friend of the site (and occasional NL contributor) Chris Scullion wrote of the “worrying precedent” that pure publishing could set, and also cited Devolver’s similar plan for Demon Throttle:
“I have some concerns about this.
The first is obvious: with limited pre-order windows – four months in the case of Devolver and only 30 days in the case of Super Rare – players are essentially being asked to make these purchases in good faith without knowing what they are actually buying.
In addition, there is no scope for due diligence. If you’re the type who prefers to wait for reviews, forget about it. By the time these games are produced and in the hands of players, the pre-order window will be long gone.
If any of these games turn out to be mini masterpieces, there is no way for players to get the word out and tell others to try the game as there is no way they can buy it. “
– Chris Scullion, Video Game Chronicle
It seems that Scullion’s play – and other criticisms on social media – caught on with gamers when Super Rare Games took the weekend to review their plan. “We could defend ourselves stubbornly,” said a statement on Twitter, “but ultimately the criticism is 100 percent correct.”
I appreciate that they fund games! But it comes across as if they don’t care about these games at all – they’re just candy on the shelf.
(And the open pre-order window, which sounds great, has in practice * not * kept aftermarket prices low in the past * at all *)
– Kelsey Lewin (@kelslewin) June 12, 2021
In the statement, they describe some changes they would like to make to Super Rare Shorts, which can be summarized as follows:
- The games will no longer be exclusively available in the physical edition and will be sold 6 months after the physical release on itch.io
- The pre-order window has been extended from 4 weeks to 6 weeks
Super Rare Games also took the time to answer some common questions after the announcement:
- The digital versions on itch.io will be DRM-free
- Super Rare will not own the IP rights, so developers are free to create sequels or spin-offs
- The quantities are unlimited; they will print as many copies as there are orders
- There will be “a lot of announcements” when a shorts game goes on sale
- There will be trailers, information, live streams, and Q&A that coincide with the pre-order window, and early copies will be sent to reviewers
- The name “shorts” doesn’t necessarily mean the games are short – they’re just more experimental
- All shorts will be complete in content and there will never be any updates or DLCs (although bug patches may still be necessary)
- There will be 3-4 shorts a year
“Hopefully the key points will be addressed – and we are sorry again that we did not address this before we unveiled Super Rare Shorts,” the statement said.
So what are your thoughts? Are you happy to hear fan feedback from Super Rare, or did you think pure physical gaming would be a great idea? Let us know in the comments!