Moonbreaker's latest update completely ditches microtransactions

The landing pad map
(Image credit: Unknown Worlds)

Moonbreaker, the next project from Subnautica devs Unknown Worlds, got its first content patch today, and it's a doozy. In response to community feedback, Unknown Worlds has "completely overhauled the business model" of the game to remove all monetisation and in-game purchases.

"Based on your ongoing feedback, we are re-aligning to make Moonbreaker better reflect our Early Access goals," read the patch notes, before going on to add that the game will be completely disabling its in-game store, and that players who have bought Pulsars—the purchasable in-game currency—will have their purchases automatically refunded to their Steam wallets. Blanks and Merits, the game's non-purchasable currencies, are being converted into a currency called Sparks, which can be used to upgrade your units' rarity (which is itself only a cosmetic effect).

Booster boxes, purchasable items that would let you unlock more miniatures, are also gone for good. Units will now unlock automatically with Moonbreaker's base game, and units added as part of new seasons will unlock automatically, too.

Honestly, even if you're not opposed to in-game purchases, it sounds like the new system will give you way less to keep track of. I can't help but think a single, easy-to-understand currency is better than a system of three currencies of varying applications, regardless of whether you're forking over real-life cash for it.

Moonbreaker's Founder's Pack DLC—a bundle of skins and currencies you can pick up for real money—isn't going away, but its Pulsar component is being replaced. Rather than Pulsars, buyers will now get an extra skin for Zax and Slopper, and if that doesn't satisfy people who have already bought the Founder's Pack, Unknown Worlds will provide refunds on request.

As for why the devs are undertaking such a drastic change to the game? Unknown Worlds says it's because "Early Access is a time for us to experiment and improve the game," and, as it stood, "the monetization in its current form was affecting that goal". That's quite a level of determination: I can't imagine wiping your game clean of basically everything that was going to generate ongoing revenue is a decision you make lightly. Here's hoping it pans out well for players and devs both.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.