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Team Meat says it felt “taken advantage of” by Microsoft over Super Meat Boy

Saturday, 2nd April 2011 15:47 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Team Meat’s Edmund McMillen has written in Game Developer Magazine that the studio felt “taken advantage of” by Microsoft during development of Super Meat Boy, because the firm put pressure on the team to finish the game in time for the XBL Game Feast promotion.

According to the article, transcribed by Kotaku, McMillen describes the crunch time imposed by Microsoft as a difficult task.

“We were basically developing features during bug checking, which meant every single time I turned on the computer and checked the bug database, the work I did the night before was pretty much rendered irrelevant,” he said. “I would work and fix 100 bugs in a night and get it down to 50, then wake up the next morning and have 200 bugs to fix.”

The crunch came about during the last four months of Super Meat Boy’s development so that it could be part of the Game Feast promotion. However, once the game was finished, MS told the team the price of the game was too steep and it didn’t look as good as other games listed in the promotion.

The game was launched alongside of Costume Quest and according to Team Meat, its games did not garner strong support from Microsoft, which led the studio to feel “very confused and taken advantage of.”

“We were told our price was too high, our visuals too rough and simply not as eye catching and flashy as the other Game Feast games Comic Jumper and Hydrophobia,” McMillen wrote. “Our hearts sank when we were informed that we were projected to sell as much if not less than Hydrophobia, which would be the second-highest grossing game of the Feast in their minds.

“The biggest mistake we made during SMB’s development was killing ourselves to get into a promotion we would gain basically nothing from.”

In the end though, McMillen states it wasn’t all bad, as the studio’s experience with Steam and the game’s composer was an pleasant endeavor.

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20 Comments

  1. Ireland Michael

    And yet Hydrophobia was fucking shit.

    Jesus, Microsoft… sometimes you really don’t have a clue.

    It seems a lot of devs are coming out lately about Microsoft’s apparently quite bullying tactics when it comes to the Xbox Live Live Arcade, and it’s really starting to put a sour taste in my mouth.

    I think I might starting supporting them elsewhere..

    (Ya know, being the rampant Xbot I am and everything!)

    #1 3 years ago
  2. ensabahnur

    This sucks to hear as i love getting my games from XBLA, maybe i go to Steam for everything from now on.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. AHA-Lambda

    “MS told the team the price of the game was too steep and it didn’t look as good as other games listed in the promotion.”

    WHAT?! absolute bullshit. SMB is one the few games that actually deserves the 1200 msp price point (imo both braid and limbo can get to fu–)

    plus it is one of the best games i played last year and probably the best xbla game on there imo

    #3 3 years ago
  4. TheWulf

    And this is why Steam wins.

    - Valve are pro-developer.
    - Valve are known for never engaging in under-handed tactics in relation to developers.
    - Valve lets the developer set their price.
    - Valve lets the developer set their date.
    - Valve lets developers decide which sales they want to be in on.
    - Valve is good at doing things that boost revenue for developers whilst keeping prices down for the gamer. (Their limited time sales are genius.)
    - Valve offers Steamworks as an option but no developer is forced to ever tie into it a la the Steamworks interface. (Though the PS3 has this going for it, too. Not forcing developers to use an interface or system that they don’t want to, that is.)
    - Valve doesn’t force a developer to go through an authentication process which can take months.
    - Valve doesn’t use monopoly money. (The PS3 also has this going for it.)

    These are all areas in which Microsoft fails, and really, the GfW Marketplace on the PC is absolutely awful compared to Steam. Terrible interface, shoddy stuff, which is also fairly typical of Microsoft. I have to use Windows, but I try to avoid as much of their software as possible, this is the wise choice.

    And now Microsoft’s console arm is chasing their consumers and developers off with sticks, and into the open and entirely welcoming, friendly arms of Valve. Good job, MS! Keep up the good work!

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Hunam

    “- Valve lets the developer set their price.”

    This is a double edged sword though as it helps indies sure, but it also means that big pubs likes EA and Acti enforce silly prices on their games for months if not years down the line.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DSB

    You can’t be surprised that Microsoft are doing things ass backwards at this point. Have you tried MSN messenger lately?

    I love Team Meat, though. At least they had that learning experience without signing their work away. I definitely think they’re more than capable of going it alone, and far more so than most other indies.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Old MacDonald

    It would seem the glory days of Xbox Live Arcade as a good platform for indies are long gone. Seems they want the indies to stick to Xbox Live Indie Games, which isn’t even available in my country (why? no idea) and seems to be virtually unsupported by Microsoft in the first place.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. dvcy21

    As far as I’m concerned this is like any corporation. It’s called a deadline. You either make it or you don’t. We’ve had that beaten into us since the first day of school and it continues to remain prominent in every aspect of life. I’ve heard the same story from them over and over again and I can understand Team Meat’s frustration but you have to let it go and that sometimes not everything goes your way once you sell out for a larger corporation. While I don’t condone the comments and behaviour that Microsoft has said according to them, they really should have realized something like this was bound to happen. Best of luck to them in the future, as Super Meat Boy was a fun game, but it didn’t hold my interest for very long.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. David

    Super meat boy is a good game but by no means is it worth 1200 points in that regard Microsoft are right. Considering its difficulty as well only a small percentage of people probably can be bothered completing it.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. onlineatron

    It harsh of Microsoft, but Team Meat came out laughing in the end.

    Their game is fantastic, and I’m sure they’ll have their pick of partners next time round.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DSB

    It was worth every penny to me. I’d say it’s pretty cheap for what you get.

    It is super hard, but it’s also super tight, and the fact that it’s so hard makes it even more rewarding when you actually do it and get to see yourself die a million times.

    Fair enough if it isn’t for everyone, but the game is still a stellar trick platformer in my opinion.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. OrbitMonkey

    @10 They won’t have their pick of partners if they keep slagging them off if they find things a bit rough.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Stephany Nunneley

    I have yet to play this game. It’s on sale on Steam this weekend, I might just get it.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DSB

    @13 Make sure you have a gamepad and you don’t mind dying a 100 times within a few minutes. If you’re a major rager I imagine it gets pretty rough.

    I’ve definitely walked away in anger more than once :P But in a weird way you just respect the game for challenging you like that.

    I tried it with the keyboard at first, but there’s absolutely no comparison to the 360 pad.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Stephany Nunneley

    Well, I can hook my 360 controller up to the PC then. And yes, I have been known to rage quit on a few occasions, never in MP though just so you know :)

    #15 3 years ago
  16. TD_Monstrous69

    My piece of advice to Team Meat for future IP’s, stick to Steam and the PSN (or at least expand to those stores). Both seem to treat indie developers better.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. itsucks

    PieceofShitN wasteland that sell jack shit? don’t make me laugh.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Razor

    Very subtle isn’t he?

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Christopher Jack

    @4, All very good points, but I love the simplicity of console gaming which is why I prefer using my PS3, let’s hope that Sony get all of that right with the PS4. I’m actually surprised about how awful Sony & MS are doing with digital distribution, I’d expect this for Nintendo but I’m disappointed in the big boys here.

    I’d expect Sony to have better indie support but I figure that the reason they’re doing pretty bad with that is not because they’re not trying but because indie developers find it too hard to learn & develop for.

    I’d love for Valve & Sony to team up with the PS4, using a more traditional architecture, it could very well work too. Make the PS4 more PC like but keep the simplicity of a gaming console, turn it on 3 seconds later press X & your game has started in an easy set up, no stressing because of incompatible hardware or worrying about sudden crashes caused by external software.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Mike

    @8 – well said. They could’ve told MS to do one and gone elsewhere.

    They really should stop crying into their beer.

    #20 3 years ago

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