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Stranger’s Wrath HD dev ‘gives up on Microsoft’ over 360 SKU

Friday, 22nd June 2012 10:46 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Just Add Water boss Stewart Gilray has clarified earlier remarks which appeared to suggest the 360 version of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD had been canned. The project is still viable, the developer has confirmed, but now hangs in the balance after JAW was “dragged along” by Microsoft for 15 months.

Just Add Water head Stewart Gilray has has clarified earlier remarks today which appeared to suggest the 360 version of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD had been canned, saying instead the Microsoft as a publisher, not the game itself, has been kicked to the curb.

“What I said was that we’d given up on Microsoft, not that we’d given up on 360,” he told VG247.

“What I meant was that we’d given up on Microsoft doing anything with it.”

The original game released on Xbox in 2005. The updated, HD version was announced in 2010, and released on PS3 in December last year.

Microsoft was swift to move on the title after it was announced for PS3.

“Two weeks later Microsoft contacts us and asked if we wanted to a 360 version,” said Gilray. “We said yes.”

JAW filled in the paperwork and showed Microsoft comparison shots of the Xbox 1 and HD assets, and the Redmond firm appeared to be satisfied that things were moving ahead.

Gilray added: “Just before Christmas, they came back and said that they didn’t want it because it’d already been on a Microsoft platform. We said, ‘Hang on a minute. We didn’t come to you. You approached us.’ They said, ‘Yeah, but politics here says that we don’t want it on XBLA.’”

Oddworld Inhabitants boss Lorne Lanning then spoke to contacts “upstairs” at Xbox to be told that they could “work it out”. The game was going to be potentially put out on Games on Demand instead of XBLA, but would make it to 360.

In May 2011, Microsoft responded again to say the game couldn’t be put out on Games on Demand because it had to be sold for a minimum of $20 in Microsoft Points. This created an issue, as it was being sold on PS3 for $15, but Gilray was told it was possible to “work it out,” and to “not worry about it too much”.

Games on Demand titles must also have sold 1 million units at retail, but the original game only sold 500,000 copies. Microsoft reps said they’d “see what they could do,” according to Gilray.

In January 2012, Microsoft again responded to say the game couldn’t be released digitally on 360, this time reasoning that it was already out on PS3 and the platform team would have preferred a sim-ship with 360.

“We said, ‘We’ve been talking to you for over 15 months, now,’” said Gilray. “‘We haven’t stalled. You’ve been stalling us. If you’d had come to us six months ago and said fine, we would have held back the PS3 version until the 360 version was ready.’”

Microsoft also said the game needed a MetaCritic rating of 80% or higher to get onto Games on Demand, although it’s unclear why this should have been raised: the PS3 version stands at 82% and the Xbox version is at 88%.

Losing patience, Gilray told Microsoft he would “go elsewhere.” JAW is currently in negotiations with two publishers who are “more interested,” but “because Microsoft dragged us along for 15 months, we’re now having to add new content to the 360 version.”

But the additions will only be made if the publisher “says the right things” to JAW and goes on to get concept approval from Microsoft.

“We can’t wait forever,” said Gilray. “If we did, PS4 and 720 would be out. We have to, at some point, say, ‘We tried. End of.’ And that’s sooner rather than later now. But people can’t accuse us of not trying.”

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20 Comments

  1. sh4dow

    What the hell? Why on earth would they invest the time in developing a version for the 360 apparently without signing a contract?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. SplatteredHouse

    Am I reading this right, that Microsoft were dicks, strung JAW along over an extended timeframe (it looks like they only wanted the game because PS3 already had it, and they didn’t want Sony pushing it as an exclusive), and continue to want content added to their version! Microsoft, get over it. The way they behaved here is terrible.

    They probably are just annoyed that they can’t pull another “Super Meat Boy”, and now just want to hold up JAW as much as they can, so that they can’t move on to focus on other things.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. freedoms_stain

    @1, why should they require a contract? That’s not really how game development works. Just Add Water have a complete and quality product, it costs nothing for Microsoft to actually publish the title since it’s already ready.

    Microsoft are just coming off as massive arseholes here.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. OrbitMonkey

    Just seems like a bureaucratic bungle really.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. SplatteredHouse

    @4: How so? First they say we want this. Fair enough, so JAW sets to working to bring it to the 360 under one scheme…Months later, they’re told it can’t go here, but must go there. THEN, they get told not there…oh, and then, not at ALL – we’ll get back to you about it..?

    WTF. That’s more than a bungle. It’s a continual, recurring inconvenience that Microsoft has wrongly placed on JAW, who answered their call in the first place.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. The_Red

    Stranger’s Wrath HD first appeared on PSN. Microsoft is a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGEEE dick when it comes to games that don’t release on XBLA first so, this makes perfect sense.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. absolutezero

    “Microsoft also said the game needed a MetaCritic rating of 80% or higher to get onto Games on Demand”

    You have to be fucking shitting me. They just added Call of Juarez : The Cartel which has a metacritic score of 47%.

    It sounds like bullshit to me!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. monkeygourmet

    Sounds like a weird situation…

    Not to much of a loss though, XBLA is the strongest part of the Xbox service imo…

    Even recently:

    Radiant Silvergun
    Trials 2
    Trine 2
    Bastion
    Sine Mora
    Mine Craft
    Dead Light
    Perfect Dark

    XBLA has prob the strongest line up of quality games over all the systems.

    Last game i bought on PSN was Journey and the less said about Nintendo’s offerings the better.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ge0force

    #8 Half the games of your list are also available on pc and/or ps3 :)

    Microsoft is a huge dick to devs if they don’t go exclusive or aren’t mainstream. Those devs should just move on to other platforms, gamers will follow eventually.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. monkeygourmet

    @9

    I know what you mean, it was supposed to be an ‘overall’ example of the different type of games the service holds.

    Yeah MS are dicks when it comes to dealing with devs as evidenced when i watched ‘Indie game : The movie’ the other day.

    Thing is, nerd programmers have been exploited for years, same as every other industry that finds out it can manipulate and use someones love of doing a job for a small payout and restrictive working conditions.

    Thats not just MS, that describes EA, Ubisoft, Capcom et all…

    It’s only recently we have started the trend of ‘rockstar’ devs like Blizinski, who steal the limelight while hordes of nerds do all his coding for him…

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Ge0force

    #10 You’re right, all publishers have their flaws. Sony isn’t that perfect either since they rejected Super Meat Boy.

    But the way Microsoft is a dick to devs to keep games and DLC away from other platforms is just lame. As a platform holder, they should focus on adding good stuff to the gaming business, instead of preventing owners of other platforms to play multiplatform games/DLC.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Erthazus

    @8, Sorry, but that offering is not big compared to Steam.

    and half-assed Trine 1-2 with Minecraft on XBL are not doing any favour.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    @5, Yeah that there is a bureaucratic bungle. Guy even said MS said it was down to politics.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. monkeygourmet

    @12

    And that list doesn’t comprise of ALL the games on XBLA…

    Of course STEAM is going to hold more titles, it’s purely an online service.

    I was just stating that XBLA has the most ‘complete’ line up of games & exclusives on consoles…

    Why is Trine 2 half assed?! Because you can’t use a mouse and keyboard? Thats because it’s on a console fer christs sake! Jeez, you should fully understand what a console is by now.

    It’s a closed platform with generally one main control input, expecting anything else clearly makes you an idiot.

    Troll Harder…

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    Does it really surprise you guys?

    Microsoft. Who made Vista. Who made Games for Windows Live.

    For a company that actually pretends to care about games, they don’t lift a finger to attract or accomodate any sort of talent, and apparently they care fuck all about their reputation among developers.

    They’re cunts, and that may be par for the course, but they’re also lazy cunts. If it takes you a month to certify something, then you’re also letting everybody know that you’re doing absolutely nothing for at least half of that time.

    I wonder what the world looks like through the eyes of a Microsoft executive.

    “Oh, another developer swore to never work with us again? That’s the third one this week! We’re getting more exclusive by the day! Mmmm, quality, mmm, exclusive, yum!!!”.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. monkeygourmet

    @dsb

    Did you work on Super Meat Boy? ;)

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Froseidon

    @2 – Pushing it as an exclusive?! It was exclusive to Xbox solely up ’til 2010, when it then became available on PC.

    Admittedly, it was a slightly updated version the PS3 got, but it was Xbox’s first…

    #17 2 years ago
  18. monkeygourmet

    So many cry babies out there…

    If you make games but want to make cash too, there is a high probability you may have to ‘sell out’ and work with a big company, jump through hoops etc…

    But, guess what? This is practically the same scenario as any industry where big companies take hold… Example, music industry:

    Work hard, try to retain artistic integrity and hope you end up like Steve Albini (most likely not), or sell out to some big label and hate yourself for being a fucking sell out….

    I’m not saying either is right or wrong it’s just a fact of business these days. Gaming is no different…

    #18 2 years ago
  19. DSB

    @16 Oh, I wish. Team Meat is just one out of several developers who have publicly stated that they don’t want to work with Microsoft again.

    http://2dboy.com/2011/10/03/xbla/

    Playdead have dumped Microsoft as the publisher of their second game.

    Signal Studios had to give up on multiplayer for the PC version of Toy Soldiers, because Games for Windows Live is impossible to work with.

    I’m pretty sure Monolith aren’t too happy that the Games for Windows Live matchmaker pretty much singlehandedly ruined Gotham City Impostors. They had a patch ready around launch, but thanks to Microsoft’s “certification” it took them a month to get it out, and then it was too late to save the launch.

    I’m glad I haven’t been accused yet, but I’m also not a fanboy. I’m on my second 360 at the moment, and I’m quite content with the console.

    But Microsoft need to be taught a serious lesson at this point. They’re making EA and Activision look like geniuses.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. OrbitMonkey

    @17 Which does make this weirder right? Unless what happened was a enthusiastic exec approached JAW with the offer.

    Then when it got higher up the food chain a bigger exec went “Only 500,000? GTFO!! You’ll be wanting Psychonauts next!”

    #20 2 years ago

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