Stadia exclusive rescue quest

Earlier this year, Google announced that it would shut down its Stadia game-streaming service, three short years after it launched in 2018. And while most fans of the service are feeling the impact of the shutdown, there are a few developers with Stadia exclusives who will sadly lose their games when the service goes down for good. in january. Among them is the makers of Q-Games PixelJunk Raiders. the edge He spoke with Dylan Cuthbert, founder and CEO of Q-Games, who explained the unique situation Q-Games is in, trying to get its exclusivity off the faltering ship of Stadia and into a safe place where people can play it.

PixelJunk Raiders It is a space exploration roguelike that takes advantage of Stadia’s unique “Share Status” feature that allows people to share their game states that other players can participate in and experience for themselves.

Before Raiders Google was showing Stadia to developers, Cuthbert said, and he immediately caught on to the idea of ​​players being able to share their in-game experience with others. “We designed a game around those core ideas, and it was a fun design challenge,” Cuthbert said.

As develop Raiders Cuthbert continued, wanting to flesh out more of the ideas his team had for the game, which extended its development time. But about six months ago Raiders He was released, and he was starting to get the idea that Stadia might be in trouble.

“Although we wanted to develop the game further, [our Stadia representative] “No, you really have to charge it, or it probably won’t,” Cuthbert said.

Raiders launched in March 2021 to less than glowing reviews. By that time, Google had already closed the studio it had opened, headed by Jade Raymond, to create first-party games for the service.

“I think the writing was on the wall,” Cuthbert said.

Curiously, this isn’t the first time Cuthbert has faced trying to save one of his matches. Q-Games was released in 2017 Tomorrow’s childrenAn adventure game with a unique voxel-based art style. The free-to-play game was unable to generate enough money to cover the server costs, so Sony shut it down six months after its release.

“Even though we had a solid fan base and a solid user base, we didn’t want to take advantage of them for more money,” Cuthbert recalled. “We had trouble making up our basic income, and so, [Sony] turn it off.”

Tomorrow’s childrenThe sudden closure upset Cuthbert, Q-Games, and the game’s solid fanbase.

“We shut it down [in 2017]but fans kept posting about the game and talking about it.”

“Every day there were screenshots being posted on Twitter, even though the game was no longer there and they couldn’t play it anymore.”

This ardent love inspired Cuthbert to try to bring the game to life, which meant an elaborate legal dance with Sony’s licensing department.

said Cuthbert, describing his negotiations with Sony to acquire the intellectual property rights to Tomorrow’s children to Q-Games. “I’m going to bring the game back to the fans, and I’m going to boost it for the PlayStation 5.”

But before Sony could say yes, Cuthbert also had to track down the various licensees for the instruments used in them Tomorrow’s childrenas well as the voice actors and music directors for their permission to re-release the game.

“It took about a year to get the permissions. It was difficult to track down some people because the companies had gone out of business.”

But after gathering information along the lines of Cuthbert’s leather shoes, he finally had all the pieces in place for a reissue. Tomorrow’s children Which is what Q-Games did earlier this year. And the fanbase is now proving just as smitten with her as they were in 2017. “The support has been amazingly positive. They’re all crazy. I mean, in a good way,” Cuthbert chuckles.

Cuthbert hopes he can design a similar fate for PixelJunk Raiders. When asked how Q-Games intends to port a game apparently based on a feature exclusive to Stadia, Cuthbert seemed confident it would be an easy technical solution.

“So I think the state quota system is copyable,” he said. “Obviously jumping out of the videos and stuff can’t be done, but that wasn’t quite as important in the end [of development]So I think that’s a really good thing.”

Screenshot from PixelJunk Raiders where a human player dodges a laser bolt fired from a jellyfish-like creature on a sandy ground

Where Cuthbert feels he may find some friction is with Google itself. After the challenge of re-release Tomorrow’s childrenOne of the lessons Cuthbert said he learned is to keep the intellectual property rights to the games he makes as much as possible. And while he has the right to PixelJunk RaidersHe says the contract he signed with Google makes it economically unviable to release the game elsewhere.

“I think the writing was on the wall.”

“The main idea internally is that if we can find financing, what we’ll do is we’ll take the game and remake it into the most complete vision we’ve had, and then re-release it,” he said. “We were able to get like an addon added to our contract to allow us to possibly release on other platforms, but the royalty on that addon was too high to make it possible.”

Cuthbert’s idea is to bring in a publishing partner who can help with the development and marketing costs of re-releasing the game. But before that happens, he needs someone, Anyone, at Stadia to help him renegotiate his contract. Publishers wouldn’t want to get involved if Q-Games had to pay Google a large royalty fee in order to publish this game elsewhere despite the fact that in T-minus 28 days and counting, the platform for the game is currently no longer in existence.

So for the time being, Raiders in limbo.

“There’s one guy who seems like he’s trying to get things done,” Cuthbert said. “He just texted me saying he’s working on it. So he can be patient. But I don’t know how long we should be patient.”

“I don’t know how long we should be patient.”

Despite the fact that it appears Raiders About to exit the universe, ala Thanos’ surprise, Cuthbert is proud of what he’s achieved with Stadia. And that, had Stadia tapped to its full potential, it could have addressed the save problem that older games had.

“You could have a system where you could go and watch some games from the ’80s on YouTube, and your mom could play. And there would just be, like, no hassle of any browser. So the whole thing for me with Stadia, and why I was so excited about it, was its ability lowering the barrier to entry.”

One of the problems with maintaining video games is the deterioration of hardware and the rapid leaps and bounds in technology that the industry spins every seven to eight years. With Stadia, Cuthbert envisions an ecosystem where all the gaming technologies of the past are preserved and stored on the cloud as emulators that people can play with the click of a button.

“I think if we want to be serious about preserving games from the ’70s or ’80s or, you know, all the way back to the beginning. That’s the kind of system we need,” he said. “We can’t count on people buying cheap plastic emulators in a box. (Ironically, one of Cuthbert’s own games was brought to life as a version on a “cheap plastic simulator in a box” while he was working on StarFox 2 which was canceled 20 years before Nintendo officially released it on the SNES Classic.)

But before Cuthbert could realize his dream of an online simulation service where he could play getaway run, Needs to see Google around PixelJunk Raiders.

“I’m just waiting and seeing what happens,” Cuthbert said. “I kind of trust them to come back and say, ‘Okay, there you go. You can run with it now.’”

#Stadia #exclusive #rescue #quest

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