Heaven's Vault is a really good archaeological adventure game that "does a beautiful job of letting you unlock a language, and thus a dialogue of sorts, with the past, via a wonderfully engaging protagonist," as we said in our recent 88% review. It's available on Steam but not GOG, which in itself is not all that unusual: Lots of games are available on some storefronts and not others. Inkle's previous releases, the outstanding 80 Days, is on GOG, for instance, but the one before that, the also-excellent Sorcery!, is not.
But while its absence isn't remarkable in itself, what caught the eye of adventure game fans on Resetera and other online forums is the fact that it was submitted for consideration, but rejected by GOG.
Apologies, we missed this. GOG is a curated store; they chose not to take the game.April 28, 2019
"We can't get into specifics, but they gave reasons stemming from their experience playing an early build of the game and what they think their audience wants. Which was definitely disappointing—we had been hoping that GOG's adventure game audience would embrace Heaven's Vault, and reaching that audience can make a huge difference to whether or not small studios like ours survive," Inkle co-founder Joe Humfrey explained in an email. "But the game's doing pretty well on Steam, so no complaints there."
Specific player numbers aren't available but the critical success of Heaven's Vault is obviously a big plus, and the volume of activity on the Heaven's Vault Discord server suggests that a committed community has built up around it. And it may yet find the adventure game audience on GOG that it's so far missed, too: A rep said that, "seeing the general reception of the game by the community," it's going to give the game another look and possibly (I would guess likely) change its mind.
"This is nothing extraordinary, as we sometimes go back to games that were previously rejected and decide to release them on GOG after another review," the rep said. "Our curation is a human process, and we may miss a release that is interesting for gamers. But we’re not afraid of going back and changing decision if it really makes sense—after all GOG is built with gamers in mind and we’re doing it for them."
Inkle recently released an update to Heaven's Vault that improves the fast travel function and map interface, and makes "the usual collection of minor story fixes, typos, and tweaks."