Dev makes classic game free to celebrate release of remake, accidentally does it early and almost gives away the new one, before Valve saves the day

A foot on a head in Desktop Dungeons.
(Image credit: QCF Games)

Desktop Dungeons is a personal favourite, a 2013 roguelike that has all the brutal goodness you expect of the genre with a charming lawyer of puzzle-slash-town-building layered atop. It's a quickfire experience but a game I've lost countless evenings to, and I've been looking forward to Desktop Dungeons: Rewind, an overhauled version of the game that has just released.

As part of Rewind's launch, developer QCF Design took the generous decision to make the original game entirely free for a limited time, which came on top of an even more generous decision: existing owners of the original Desktop Dungeons on Steam would also get Rewind free as a thank you.

Unfortunately, someone pushed the wrong button and the original Desktop Dungeons went free with a 100% discount before Rewind was released. It instantly shot to the top of Steam's New & Trending category. Which put QCF in a bit of a pickle, inasmuch as now people could in theory claim both the original and remake for free. Oopsie!

"Sorry for the confusion at the moment," said QCF in a statement. "We're trying to sort this out. Desktop Dungeons was meant to be free when Desktop Dungeons: Rewind launched, but timings have gotten confused.

"If you claimed Desktop Dungeons for free, we have no idea what's going to happen, and we don't know how it's going to resolve until Valve get back to us."

So the developer tries to do a nice thing and do right by its longstanding community, slightly cocks it up, and may have accidentally given out its new game for free to people who've never paid a penny. On top of which people began complaining about paying for the original, Rewind not appearing in their accounts, while others focused on finding ways to game the Steam database to get Rewind free, and so on.

This is all still ongoing but, thankfully for QCF, Valve has stepped in and saved its ass. "If you claimed Desktop Dungeons for free, you will not get Desktop Dungeon: Rewind for free, Valve got back to us," QCF posted in the last few hours.

Sheesh! I mean, just buy Desktop Dungeons Rewind if you want it. There are people complaining about not getting one or the other games for free, who should have, which is hopefully something that will shake out over the next few days as Valve retroactively fixes the problem. This is a rather perfect example of a well-meaning developer trying to make a generous gesture, and the wires just getting all tangled around it. All's well that ends well… probably.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."