Ninjas aren't known for taking things by storm, but this one assuredly has: carving a path straight through the console crowd and making off with a full sack of high-scoring reviews. And now Mark of the Ninja is set to turn its 2D sneak-em-up charms to Steam. It arrives on 16 October at a price of $14.99.
Monolithic games company EA have released an oxymoronic “indie bundle” on Steam, consisting of DeathSpank (72% according to us), DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue (75%), Gatling Gears, Shank (39%), Shank 2 (71%) and Warp. The games are being sold at £3.99 each, or £14.38 for the bundle - the latter’s a saving of 70%.
Unlike other oh-so-zeitgeisty indie bundles, none of the proceeds are going to charity, and you can’t choose how much you pay or how your payment's divided up. Even though £14.38 might seem pricey in comparison to the Humble Botanicula debut (£5.49 for all games) and the Indie Gala (£3.30), you're still making massive savings here. Are EA just jumping onto a particular bandwagon in the hope of making more money? Would they ever do that?
The well-meaning earnestness and awesome gaminess of the Humble Indie Bundle IV are being exploited by evil internet users who would probably sell their own grans to be in with a chance of winning the latest Steam competition.
According to the Humble Indie Bundle blog, distinctly un-humble buyers are using the Steam codes from the Humble Indie Bundle to legitimise throwaway Steam accounts created specifically to enter Valve’s current raffle. “It’s a lose-lose situation for the indie developers, charities, Valve, and Humble Bundle,” says the blog.
Humble Bundle 4 has made as much money in a day as Humble Bundle 3 did in a week. The total payments sum is shown live on the Humble Indie Bundle 4 front page (currently $1,261,341 and counting). The folks behind the bundle tell us that it took the last sale seven days to reach similar figures, adding that Humble Bundle customers have donated more than $3 million to charity in total so far.
Jamie Cheng, the CEO of Shank developer Klei Entertainment, has been talking at GDC about the creation process behind his action side-scrolling beat-em-up. Among his comments, he's been keen to big up Steam and it's understanding of the development scene - specifically platform exclusivity.
"Steam understands that if the game is out on more platforms, it will sell more on Steam," explained Cheng at his talk. He went on to say that having a title platform exclusive does not help to increase the sale of digital codes. Read on for more details.
It's a controversial topic: developers approaching publishers who will only deal if they sign an exclusivity contract. It's a story that has never been mirrored at Valve though, as a huge proportion of it's library comprises of multi-platform titles. Shank - available on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam - continues to sell well, and Cheng cites Steam as having a "really long tail, [that] just keeps on going." He argues that Valve know that the wider reach the game has by being featured on multiple platforms, the more it is likely to sell, and the more potential consumers will choose to play it on PC.
Good ol' Steam, eh?
Shank’s fatal flaw is that it does nothing besides look pretty and be excessively violent. You might think that those two things would be enough, but no.
This is a 2D brawler that takes the linearity the genre requires so seriously that it gives you nothing else to do but go from left to right. It’s like reading a two-panel comic that’s repeated ad nauseam. And those two panels are just: Fight these goons. Do some platforming. Fight these goons. Do some platforming.