Braid Coming To Impulse, Others

By Jim Rossignol on February 18th, 2009 at 8:51 am.


[EDIT: Actual price for this is $14.95.] Exquisitely clever time-bending platformer Braid will finally see a PC release on March 31st, and the $15 pre-orders are up on Stardock’s DRM-free digi-delivery system, Impulse. Blow says: “”I’ve signed the game with 3 different online distributors. One of them, Impulse, has already announced. The other two haven’t put out their press releases yet, so I don’t want to jump the gun saying who it is.” (Thanks, Paul.)

The IGF winner is one of the most heavily praised indie games of the past few years, and has caused many people to say “beeeeoooowwwoop!” in earnest. Creator Jonathan Blow gave a memorable keynote at FreePlay in 2007, in which he both talked up Braid and described the reward scheme of World Of Warcraft as “unethical”. Braid trailer after the click.

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140 Comments »

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  1. Pags says:

    has caused many people to say “beeeeoooowwwoop!”

    Soulja Boy’s review was pretty good wasn’t it?

  2. obo says:

    @Tei: About Steam, from Blow himself in December:

    Oh, and about Steam: Originally they did not seem very interested in Braid, but now that it’s a successful game they seem to have changed their mind. I haven’t signed a contract with them, but they seem interested, so the biggest factor now is just me finishing the PC version and giving it to them.

    He also confirms there that GFW:Live is not getting Braid.

    For me it’s the work that counts, not the person behind it.

    If Derek Yu puts out Spelunky v1.0 for free before Jonathan Blow can release a $20 game that was practically finished for PC back in 2006, I’m giving Derek Yu at least $20 and pirating Braid. God knows Derek deserves it for his work, and Blow already has plenty of money from pulling a Bungie and giving Microsoft a console exclusive out of a game designed for the PC from the start.

    Hell, at least I can play Spelunky on my Media Center. A GeForce 6800 is apparently an insufficient GPU for Braid, so there’s no way I’m getting by with anything I own but my main gaming rig.

    The only hope Braid had of having an serious impact on PC was if it shipped with a level editor in 3Q 2008. Blow’s already gone on the record saying Braid doesn’t need more levels and won’t ever have an official level editor. I can’t wait for the postmortem that explains what happened between his level-, plot- and feature-complete PC demos in 2006 and the final PC release in 2009.

  3. UncleLou says:

    “God knows Derek deserves it for his work, and Blow already has plenty of money from pulling a Bungie and giving Microsoft a console exclusive out of a game designed for the PC from the start.”

    Bit too much hubris for my liking. If I see reasons not to buy it, I won’t, but I’ll man up enough to not play it, either. That you think you can decide if he has already made enough money strikes me as quite odd.

  4. Okami says:

    You really shouldn’t run around stating that you’re going to pirate a game in the RPS comments section. It’s not going to make you very popular around here…

  5. Pags says:

    @Okami: Well, not if the game in question is an indie game anyway. Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 or GTA 4 on the other hand…

  6. AndrewC says:

    Is it just me or is the ‘If it so much as looked at a console it is evil’ attitude getting stronger round here?

  7. Joseph says:

    Hurray. I get to see what all the fuss is about. I’ll be getting it, to investigate aforementioned fuss, but I’m very poor. I might have to download it for free. If I want to eat AND play, anyway. Interesting keynote speech indeed… what a guy.

    P.S.

    You saw how far I rewinded that shit?!

    And there ain’t no point to the game.

  8. dhex says:

    platform tribalism.

    also those motherfucking consoles stole my motherfucking lean! motherfuckers!

  9. obo says:

    My only interest in Braid on PC is in level editing, which Blow won’t support. I already own it for 360, and I’m not buying it again, especially since it’s inexplicably more expensive on PC while lacking any new content, with system requirements that put it over either of my laptops.

    Perhaps a better thing to say is that Blow already has enough of my money – though considering the relative quality of the PC product he’s dead set on producing, I’m happy to stand by my statement that he has earned enough from the work he put into the 360 version to warrant not getting much for the lack thereof into making the PC version worth the same amount.

    And considering his views on level editing and Braid, I don’t think he’d even consider that I’d be playing his game if I modify it from his vision.

    This isn’t about the console being evil. It’s about Blow sitting on a finished game, still manipulating the hype engines to get people all frothy to throw money at him.

  10. Arnulf says:

    I can disagree with Blow.

    But I can still like his game.
    And buy it.
    The art (by David Hellman) alone is worth $20.

    Considering buying it again for my PC… but probably won’t.
    My Xb360 copy is enough for me.
    For now.

    Still need to get this blasted full speed run achievement.

  11. unique_identifier says:

    if you’re so stubborn as to let complaints about game delivery systems get in the way of playing this gem of a game, it’s a pity.

    i borrowed a friend’s xbo, transformed my hard earned cash into imaginary microsoft currency, and then spent some of that to buy braid, which i finished in five hours. no regrets.

    @ obo: i think they made the game beautiful, amongst other things: href=”http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3753/the_art_of_braid_creating_a_.php

  12. Candid_Man says:

    Many months later and a 20$ price tag? No thanks.

    Money is scarce and Blow is [] for having delayed and overpriced his piece on PC – to no avail as far as I’m concerned, since I won’t be playing it.

    Happy to hear that many here won’t be indulging Blow’s bungieness. Sorry for those that actually defend Braid, but there’s more to a game product than artistic content as of late: there’s the technical context, that is, port quality, release date, pricing and protection scheme. If PC gamers want to see their preferred platform regain some of its earlier shine and preeminence, they have to start making demands, and start taking into account the technical aspect of the so-called “ports” they so obligingly spend their money on. Maybe Blow’s piece is a real gem of game design (and not even a port, as it’s being said), but the actual details of its release on PC mark it as another console-afterthought, some late-night humping of the PC crowd for their remaining good will. I don’t know about you, but it smells all the more so like a 2008 release.

    In short, no game company will take our interest into account if we don’t get more *gasp* political about the games we buy.

    Edited

  13. AndrewC says:

    There’s a line where political demands turn into entitled whining, and it’s probably where Blow gets called a cunt.

  14. obo says:

    Arnulf, UI: Yes, David’s art is great. It’s a shame the Lesson is Learned shop hasn’t come back yet, as I’d like some posters. The music is wonderful and the artists are easy to find, as well.

    Candid_Man: Don’t you mean it looks like a “sometime in the first quarter of 2007” release?

  15. MrDeVil_909 says:

    Honestly. 6 months ago I cared about Braid. 3 months ago I cared about Braid.

    Now? Forget about it. If it appears on Steam, on one of their 75% off sales I may get it. But paying $20 for an old platform game doesn’t appeal.

  16. Candid_Man says:

    So I guess he’s Not [] for having delayed and overpriced his piece on PC, that it?

    For having surfed the earlier wave of indie gaming on PC’s actual Inter-net to get his name out and then bailing out on a more strictly controlled and profitable platform? For announcing here and there plausible plans of release on the platform he made his game on, then reneging on them and ending up arguing some great line of self-fulfilling prophesying bullshit about piracy when his actual release would have all the necessary details to warrant any really “entitled” PC brat to pirate the damn thing?

    Because this thing will get pirated, believe you me. And you can be sure the stated rationale will be two times out of three: “he delayed and overpriced it compared to the consoles.” And PC will once again suffer the finger-waggling of being a rotten, piracy-riddled market. And Blow will delay – or maybe forsake entirely – the PC release of his next game. And so it goes. No [] hereabout.

    Edited

  17. Ian says:

    I’m trying not to allow the release delay diminish my giving-a-shit about Braid because I thought at the time it looked plenty splendid. But if this is indeed true that we’re paying the extra for it (even if it’s not much) it seems a bit off, and I’m not putting another content delivery thingmajig on my PC. I think I’ll just sit and hope Steam gets it.

  18. Tei says:

    I think I am going to buy this “2008 award winning XBOX 360 exclusive” based on the comments of tons of people is a great game.

  19. shinygerbil says:

    Holy crap, looks like this perfectly ordinary RPS comments thread got somehow mixed in with a YouTube comments thread.

  20. Rich_P says:

    Candid, that still doesn’t justify pirating the game.

    My guess is that the people who’re interested in Braid have already played it on the Xbox. Those who were holding out for a comparatively-priced PC release might instead buy the cheaper Live version. Sloppy seconds + game whose hype has died down = fewer sales.

    But I understand why PC gamers are frustrated these days: delayed releases, shoddy ports, accusations of being thieving bastards. Personally, I refuse to pay full price for obvious console ports (not referring to Braid here). I only spend that kind of money on games made for the PC. I also find it odd that so many people bitch about console ports, but still pay $40-50 for them anyway.

  21. Ginger Yellow says:

    In short, no game company will take our interest into account if we don’t get more *gasp* political about the games we buy.

    And if we refuse to buy great, risk taking games for political reasons, we won’t get great, risk taking games. I’ve got no interest in defending or attacking Blow’s actions, and I certainly think the differential pricing is wrong, but you’re only hurting yourself if you refuse to play the game at all (by all means don’t buy it again if you have a 360).

    Honestly. 6 months ago I cared about Braid. 3 months ago I cared about Braid.

    Now? Forget about it. If it appears on Steam, on one of their 75% off sales I may get it. But paying $20 for an old platform game doesn’t appeal.

    First of all, it’s not a goddamn platform game. Second, it’s only old in the sense that it came out on another platform game first, like, say, Mass Effect or a large number of other games. Yes it sucks, but it’s not like the world of puzzle games has moved on in the last 6 months and Braid’s gameplay/art/music/narrative feel irredeemably stale. In fact they’re still far ahead of pretty much the entire competition on any platform. Portal’s about the only game in its genre that can hold a candle to it, and that’s pretty high praise.

  22. Ian says:

    Partial quote from the official Braid website front page:

    “Braid is a platform game”

    Another partial quote from the official Braid website front page:

    “Braid is a puzzle platformer”

  23. Smurfy says:

    I’ll buy it if it’s on Steam.

  24. James Tao says:

    “Is it just me or is the ‘If it so much as looked at a console it is evil’ attitude getting stronger round here?”

    Definitely not just you.

  25. Candid_Man says:

    @Rich_P

    Wasn’t justifying anything, only laying out possible rationale. Otherwise, with you on the port-jobs.

    @Ginger Yellow

    I disagree that all great, risk taking games should be supported with equal zeal (and money). As I said earlier, the state of the gaming industry forces us into taking account of stuff that common sense would dictate are outside the experience of gaming proper, but are now sadly all-too-present (and sore) elements for PC gamers: asymmetrical release dates and pricing, invasive protection schemes, frankly insulting port-jobs, etc.

    To make do as if nothing of these was relevant ensures that travesties like the reviewer’s community reaction to GTA IV become the norm, while the industry as a whole sinks further and further into a complete disregard of the PC gaming market (except as peripheral testing ground for ad-based formats, DRMs and console-promoting bloatwares).

    A great, risk taking game is now also a technical matter. In this regard, Braid fails hard. I’ll pass.

  26. Francis L says:

    Impulse is ok, but the whole back-end system is pretty clunky. When you buy a game, they ask for an email address, which gets sent a serial key (and also gets signed up for a newsletter, without so much as a pre-checked box you can uncheck, also I have been unable to get them to unsubscribe me from it, so far). When you then download and install Impulse, you have to create an(other) account for Impulse. If you use the same email address, it automatically knows your serial numbers, otherwise I believe you have to type them in. The UI is pretty clunky and half-devoted to pushing lite versions of Stardock’s “business” software. It also wraps IE (like Steam), so I have to click away internet zone permissions warnings everytime a tab opens with web content.

    It isn’t a GOG-style, DRM-free store; games must be installed through Impulse, and Impulse does an authorization check when installing the game. Like Steam, there’s no way of making a backup which doesn’t require an internet connection and it also requires Stardock to still be operating Impulse when you reinstall.

    The install process is pretty clunky, with the interface locking up for extended periods, and requiring 2-3x the final installed size available on your hard drive, to allow for a downloaded copy, an extracted copy, and an installed copy, before it (sometimes) cleans it all up. It’s also somewhat buggy; it took some registry hacking before the copy of GalCiv 2 it installed would run, because it was creating a key listing my language as “” which confused GalCiv 2; I believe this bug is now fixed in Impulse.

    Like some 3rd party Steam games, it doesn’t add any Impulse-specific DRM to the game’s executables unless you use Impulse to launch the game (in which case you have to wait several seconds for it to login, like Steam, before your games are listed). An advantage is that it doesn’t create shortcuts pointing to Impulse for each game, but rather straight to the game’s executable, which would be a nice improvement to Steam, as many of those games can run without having to load up Steam.

    Of course, an Impulse-installed game may have DRM of it’s own, but there’s nothing like Steamworks for integrating an Impulse authorization check into the game. Stardock doesn’t seem to have integrated even their own games’ activation with Impulse’s authorization checking system yet, instead running two separate authorization infrastructures side-by-side (the Stardock games I’ve tried through Impulse have required online activation only before running the first time, like Bioshock, Spore, or GTA IV’s activation).

  27. elle says:

    It will very likely be on Steam. Jonathan Blow unofficially hinted to it back in December.

    Oh, and about Steam: Originally they did not seem very interested in Braid, but now that it’s a successful game they seem to have changed their mind. I haven’t signed a contract with them, but they seem interested, so the biggest factor now is just me finishing the PC version and giving it to them.

    So it’ll be on Impluse, Steam and one other provider that’s probably not Games for Windows because Microsoft wants system sellers, and probably not GameFly or Big Fish because their money sucks. That leans toward Greenhouse or Direct2Drive, among others, for the third.

    No Linux support. He also seems a little more amicable about a WiiWare port now than he was in December, but Wii and Mac ports would be farmed out to 3rd parties. Still nothing new on potential PS3 or portable ports; even farmed-out portable ports probably won’t get made because of his preferences for high-res art at 60 FPS.

    Jonathan insists on keeping the high-res art, background details and solid 60 FPS, because “the more random and un-cared-for your player experience is, the less it’s the case that what you’re playing is really Braid.”

    Yes, the system requirements are admittedly steeper than you’d expect from a 2D platformer, and yes, especially when talking about system requirements, it’s a 2D platformer with puzzle elements. Please don’t launch another war over that horribly minor detail.

    I do hope the PC version is hackable, as there’s just not enough levels to warrant $20 and neither is the overall “experience”. $15 on the 360 was hard to stomach. Don’t be surprised if March 31 isn’t a fixed date, either: “that could change in either direction!”

  28. Rich_P says:

    Yeah, installing SupCom from Impulse was a PITA. Impulse was installed on my 250 GB game partition, but the temporary SupCom install files were downloaded to my 15 GB C partition. After the download finished, the client told me there wasn’t enough HD space to perform the extraction and install. Turns out you have to click on that huge blue button to open the options menu and change some install paths. The entire process was clunky.

    To be sure, I adore Stardock and prefer Impulse’s offline mode to Steam’s, but I’m not in a rush to use Impulse again.

    Given that, I think the only practical way to compete with Steam is by ditching the client completely. Just admit that Steam won the client “war” and PC gamers are reluctant to deal with multiple clients on their machine. I’m interested in Gamersgate and GOG precisely because they’re client-free. As it stands, Impulse is dangerously close to being too annoying for me to bother with it.

  29. Dr_demento says:

    @ PHeMoX
    I am pretty sure you’ve never played Braid then. It’s certainly not ‘dumbed’ down at all.

    I’ve finished it twice. The last level is the best one, but the epilogue is definately a mistake. And no, it’s not dumbed down at all, much like any number of multiplatform games that come out on console and PC and have all their deficiencies blamed on those of us who prefer consoles for one reason or another.

    I was being sarcastic, before… you thought I was seriously asking for a hi-res texture pack or a multiplayer mode? A multiplayer mode? In Braid?

  30. Markoff Chaney says:

    I strive to support innovative as well as risk taking games when I can. I played the demo of Braid at a friend’s house on his 360 and it was very enjoyable, a nice mix of platforming and puzzling and it makes one think, something I love in games. As soon as my time with the demo was up, I put the controller down and looked forward to being able to play this game soon on my PC. Soon turned into Later turned into Next Year. That’s ok, I thought, I’ll still get to enjoy it on the PC and it will be more open with a great community used to tweaking and changing things, have a level editor and be cheaper, since it was the primary dev system too. Boy was I wrong…

    The fact that the game is coming out on the system he was developing for at a price point higher than it came out on a console for a significant amount of time later without offering any stated improvements or changes from the cheaper version as well really irks me, and it seems I’m not alone. I, honestly, can’t justify to myself paying more for the same. I, also, can’t believe that Stardock (or either of the other 2 publishers) will take a bigger slice of the pie than Microsoft did.

    I’d love to pick this game up, but it will have to wait until it is, at a bare minimum, competitively priced with the other IDENTICAL (other than the hardware on which it runs) product on the market. That’s just basic economics. The real issue is that there will be one other competitor for the platform that will offer it at a 0 dollar price point. After it sells more for free than it did for 20 dollars, we’ll have another media darling who already was given good will start railing against the evil PC and the evil Pirates that infest our waters. /sigh

  31. PHeMoX says:

    I just thought you were saying the game was somehow too easy or something, perhaps even too casual for it to be taken serious by more hardcore gamers. The kiddie look is a tad deceiving (it’s definitely not an impossible game, but you’ll understand what I mean).

    I should have caught your sarcasm but I must admit that I simply missed it. It happens. ;)

    Ah, and nope, I do not expect or even want Braid to get a hi-res texture pack or multiplayer mode just for the PC version.
    Creating that kind of exclusiveness just for the sake of exclusiveness itself never got me excited, regardless of which game. I don’t buy games on a specific platform just to get the ‘extra’ content. :P

  32. Ginger Yellow says:

    “Yes, the system requirements are admittedly steeper than you’d expect from a 2D platformer, and yes, especially when talking about system requirements, it’s a 2D platformer with puzzle elements. Please don’t launch another war over that horribly minor detail.”

    Sure, from a system requirements perspective, you can consider it a (remarkably beautiful) platformer. I’m just saying that gameplay-wise, apart from the first world, it’s completely wrong to think of it as a platformer, rather than a puzzle game playing with the idioms of platforming.

    And I have to agree with Francis L that Impulse is bizarrely clunky. There’s no good reason why the key input couldn’t be done automatically. I love Stardock, but given an equivalently priced choice between buying a game on Steam and on Impulse, it’s Steam every time.

  33. AndrewC says:

    So aren’t most Indie games $20 on release? Is that not simply industry standard that the game is following? Wasn’t one of the reasons given for the failure of Space Giraffe on the 360 that it was actually too cheap?

    And why is mod support so important? It’s kind of the whole point of this game that all of its pieces – art, story, level design – fit together very deliberately to make a mutli-layered statement. It is very self-consciously being Games-As-Art, for better or ill, so changing it simply breaks it. It isn’t modular.

    Level editors and all that are very good fun, but why do you think all games would benefit from them? Why should all games be the same?

    And why does it’s length come into it? Is that argument based on the idea that more=better?

    And this idea of the delay is based on six month’s wait from the 360. You are calling this game dead because of a six month delay?

    Further, you are calling that delay proof positive of a deliberate and well organised campaign against the PC in an attempt to undermine it as a gaming platform, painting Blow as a moustache twirling villain.

    This need for a vast conspiracy against the pc, coupled with using Bungie as a self-evident pejorative, the idea of sloppy-seconds and phrases like ‘console afterthought’ all suggest an extreme fanboyism, based on an irrational identification with one platform. Any percieved advantage to another platform is seen as a direct attack upon your own.

    Perhaps you laughed at the reactions of the PS3 fanboys to the Killzone 2 reviews last week. This demonisation of Blow is an example of exactly the same behaviour.

  34. AndrewC says:

    @ Johnathan Blow

    Coward!

    btw. your game is awesome.

  35. Candid_Man says:

    Okay the “cunt” thing was uncalled for. Sorry about that. I am humbled.

    Edit: AndrewC, I’ll get back to your misreadings of my (?) posts in a bit. I hate that conspiracy charge leveled at anything and everything the least bit critical and engaged.

  36. Pags says:

    I’m just waiting for someone to twist Mr. Blow’s recent post into evidence of him trying to get as much out of the PC release as possible even though he doesn’t need it because the ‘XBLA version was nicely profitable’. Not that I’m going to be that guy, because that guy is an asshole. But I’m waiting nonetheless.

    Either way, I think $20 is a small price to pay for this kind of enjoyment:

  37. Markoff Chaney says:

    The main thing I enjoy about level editors, in both platformers and puzzlers (see what I did there?) is that they allow people to use the mechanics of the fundamental game to create more puzzles (whether cerebral or twitch based) to share and enjoy the experience. Do all games benefit from level editors? I can’t think of many that wouldn’t, honestly. I know user created content may not fit the artistic vision of the original game as a whole, and I respect that. I also don’t feel that level editors would detract from that same vision, and, in fact, would provide greater value and longevity of the game after the original game is completed.

    Mr. Blow, thank you for sharing your comments, even in linked form. I’ll read them as soon as I get to a non-proxy environment that will allow me to do so.

  38. Pags says:

    Bugger! Soulja Boy removed the video.

  39. Pags says:

    All is not lost!

    http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/21446

    This is my favourite video on the internet.

  40. A-Scale says:

    I’d consider buying at $5. At 20 dollars, Blow can do just that.

  41. jsutcliffe says:

    I really like Ginger_Yellow’s Braid/Portal comparison. I’d not come across it before, and it’s spot on.

    I do think $20 is a little too steep for Braid though, and I dare say they’ll lose sales to piracy because of it. $15 would fare better.

  42. Ian says:

    As one of the people who was being (unfairly, perhaps) whiney about the extra $5, I for one would like to thank Mr Blow given he’d probably have still got plentymuch sales by keeping it at $20.

    Now I just await the Steam announcement. (b ^_^)b

  43. Tworak says:

    +1 sale

  44. Pags says:

    I’d consider buying at $5. At 20 dollars, Blow can do just that.

    http://braid-game.com/news/?p=519

    Still not $5, but there’s less room for complaint anyway.

    I do think $20 is a little too steep for Braid though, and I dare say they’ll lose sales to piracy because of it. $15 would fare better.

    http://braid-game.com/news/?p=519

    He’ll see your $15, and raise you another 5 cents. Or something.

  45. unclelou says:

    If PC gamers want to see their preferred platform regain some of its earlier shine and preeminence, they have to start making demands, and start taking into account the technical aspect of the so-called “ports” they so obligingly spend their money on

    My impressions recently go in the opposite direction. The PC community seems to be particularly whiney, fickle, and makes mountains out of molehills more than anyone else. That’s not an attack on anyone particularly here, but rather a general observation from visiting gaming sites and forums.

    This won’t lead to shine and preeminence, but further disregard of the platform.

    Small example: Game not on Steam? People flat out refuse to even consider buying it. Another: Absolutely everything gets called a “bad port” these days. Everything. I am not excusing bugs here, but people sometimes forget that the PC’s biggest strength is also one of its weaknesses. It won’t always be as smooh sailing as it is with console games.

    “Political”, reasonable demands are one thing, but they seem to get lost in a lot of nonsense.

    On a sidenote, I see from Mr. Blow’s link in this thread that he’s already made clear that he doesn’t depend on us.

  46. Anthony Damiani says:

    “Why does everyone insist they’ll only buy something digitally if it appears on Steam?”

    Because I want one– ONE– of these resource-hogging all-in-one shopping/download/matchmaking/messaging/achievement/grouping things.

    At this point I don’t care much. It can be Steam, or Impulse, or even GfW:L. Just freaking pick one so I don’t have to be using them all, piecemail. They all do basically the same thing, having three+ of them gives me little added value.

  47. Hybrid says:

    If its on steam ill probably check it out. Plus the $15 is pretty good.

  48. Markoff Chaney says:

    Mr. Blow, I would like to extend my gratitude.

    Not only do you recognize the true nature of our currency, but you listen to those that propelled you to your current position in certain areas of the Internets. Thank You for listening. We have read your words for months and are grateful you have read and understood ours. I feel at this price point you now have a much greater possibility of receiving your optimal amount of money from this release because this follows precedent. Mind you, this is regardless of the statement that you wanted to only charge 10 dollars for Braid on the 360 but Microsoft wouldn’t let you.

    I look forward to enjoying your game on my platform of choice. Thank You.

  49. Mr Popov says:

    generic question here but why aren’t we, the consumers, seeing any price reductions in games due to digital distribution?