Eighteen New Games You Already Knew About Greenlit

By John Walker on April 17th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

A new crop of games have been rescued from the Steam Greenlight tarpit. Bigger names in there are City Of Steam, Frozen Endzone, Dreamfall: Chapters, and other games you look at the name of and say, “Huh? Why on EARTH was that having to fight it out to get on a shop?” The full list is below.

There are eighteen new games in total, each of which you can learn about by clicking below:

Agarest: Generations of War
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
Battle Worlds: Kronos
City of Steam
Cradle
Dead State
Dead Trigger
Death Inc.
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey
Elsword
Faceless
Frozen Endzone
Hammerwatch
Legend of Dungeon
Pinball Arcade
Planet Explorers
Rush Bros.
Shovel Knight

Valve have acknowledged in the past that Greenlight is problematic, but it’s still pretty sad to see such big-name indie games getting such late recognition from the primary online store for PC games. Hopefully the megastudio will soon find a better way of going about things.

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116 Comments »

  1. Brugt says:

    Edit: oh my, pinball arcade IS on the list!

    • Hyetal says:

      Have another look.

    • Greggh says:

      Yes!!! PINBAAAAAAALL!!!!!

      (There are no words to describe my excitement, only exclamations)

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Yes! Yes! Oh, wait, it’s Pinball Arcade. They get one of the Big Two pinball franchises onto PC and it’s the one I don’t care about. Sigh. What are the odds? (Yes, yes, about 50/50, I know.) Eh, still, cool for the nostalgia crowd, I guess.

        • ulix says:

          Zen actually aren’t even trying to get onto Steam (if that is the second franchise you’re talking about… what else would it be though?). I can’t think of a good reason why, but they seem to be quite happy with Windows 8 (and Microsoft AppStore, or whatever the fuck it’s called) exclusivity.

          I actually enjoy Zen Pinball 2 (and before that Zen Pinball and Marvel Pinball) quite a lot more than I enjoy Pinball Arcade, but they’re both great, amazing games in their own right, trying to achieve very different things in that niché.

    • ulix says:

      Yes. Finally. Already got most tables on PS3. Will probably buy again though, if they put in cabinet support AND I have the spare money laying around to actually build one (a cabinet).

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Holy crap! It has my most favorite pinball machine ever! Funhouse! I very well might have to get this.

  2. Lord_Xia says:

    Did Dominions 3 ever make it through Greenlight?

    • tstapp1026 says:

      This was the first game I searched for on the list. It surprises me greatly that Dominions 3 hasn’t been greenlit (greenlighted?). A shame that it is taking so long, really.

      • iridescence says:

        Really pisses me off that F2P MMO games (Why do they even need to be on Steam in the first place?) and recently Kickstarted games that won’t even exist for a couple of years get through and a great games like Dom3 and Out of the Park don’t. Stupid system.

      • Yglorba says:

        You should also give people a link, like this, so they can click on it and vote it up if they like that kind of game.

        • frightlever says:

          Done! Didn’t even know they were trying to get Greenlit.

  3. RedViv says:

    Agarest will forever be That Game With The Really Bloody Loud Intro first and foremost, and the Greenlight page did absolutely convey that.
    After that, it’s That Game Where I Hit An Elder God With A 808-hit Combo And It Was Not Dead Yet At All.

    Very sweet to see Death Inc. on this list too.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Isn’t Agarest also known as a rather bad game?

      • RedViv says:

        It’s a just about good SRPG, as the mechanics were fitting together just well enough to not make it boring. I’d call the follow-up, Zero, actually bad. Agarest 2 then was pretty good in its condensation of SRPG elements in a more “standard” battle system.
        What I could criticise strongly would be the ero ero ero focus of the ad campaign, as all of the games are far cheekier and not at all porny.

        • dE says:

          Good thing you mentioned that. I looked at its Greenlight Page and thought “wait, doesn’t Steam ban this kinda game?”. So, those silly fanservice image aren’t actually in the game? Well, the Ad campaign certainly turned me away from it and I actually do appreciate JRPGs and might have been interested in this game.

          • Chizu says:

            There are servicey images in the game, and there is a focus on romancing girls, as you go through 5 generations and have to pair up with one each generation.

            but the US ad campaign for the game added mosaic censorship to the images to make it look like they were more pornographic then any of them actually are. They are suggestive at best in reality.

            It’s not a bad game, its not the pinnacle of srpg, but I am glad to see some games of this genre on PC.

          • dE says:

            Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t aware the US campaign added mosaics. One way or another, those images do drive me away from the game.

        • El_Emmental says:

          Strangely, no “That’s sexist !” alert on this one ? That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it: “oh my, John Walker gonna love this one !”

          There was more than 500 comments on the Cyberpunk trailer, which was clearly a tribute to the Blade Runner chase scene (where the replicant runs away with the raincoat) even if most people refused to see it.

          With many people saying the female character was pictured as powerless (being able to violently murder everyone around you, using blades hidden in your forearms (!), and bullets not even leaving a scratch on your skin, is nothing apparently) and the posture of a “fallen angel” being ultra-sexist (the head to the side + spread “wings”: angel, as represented in Middle-Age/Renaissance arts ; on its knees: fallen)(as androids are seen as the New Perfect Human, like angels were usually described).

          And a good bunch of people saying how Geralt is a sexist macho in the Witcher’s games, using women like trophies/sexual objects. Death to CD Projekt RED !

          Fine. Valid opinions (to some extent).

          Here we have a publisher/devs exploiting that to the maximum in their advertisement, with pictures barely escaping the NSFW/porn qualification, even the Green Light featuring such images, from the onsen scene to the several “wedding dress” ones (yay trophies), with a few bent-over pictures and even a “tentactle rape” with vines.

          Edit: bonus point for the “vulnerable girl crawling on the floor, trapped in a dark corner (the walls seems to indicate a medieval-era-japan alley/dead end), asking ‘what do you want from me ?’ ” – if we can’t find someone to see it as a disguised “rape fantasy” scene, I’ll eat my hat.

          Yet this stuff get a free-pass, for some reason, even on an article written by Mr Walker – is it because the game is actually good ?

          Is it because it actually doesn’t feature all that stuff in the game, and the marketing team is just exploiting that oversexualization and sexism to sell more copies ?

          Is it because “many japanese games/J-RPG do that”, so “it’s a japanese culture thing, you can’t understand” ?

          If some writers on RPS want to be on a crusade against sexism (including sexism through oversexualization and objectification of women), then they better make sure they don’t just keep it for the week-end to let the comments roll in.

          I might be harsh saying that, but that’s how it’s starting to look like from outside the castle (for quite a few readers).

          nb: I haven’t played this game, and what I read about it seems to indicate the game isn’t that full of boobs and buttocks (unlike its marketing campaign), which means this is a clear case of exploiting sexism to sell more copies, something I was told (by several game journalists) to denounce whenever I would encounter such a thing. Just saying.

          nb2: If the game was actually about sexual content, then it would be an honest marketing and the question would be “Are porn games allowed to be sexist ? To be about domination, multiple partners, rape fantasies ?”, not “Should entertainment companies exploit sexism to make money ?”.

          Not a porn game here apparently, it’s just a blatant exploitation of sexism by the marketing. Not cool ?

          • FhnuZoag says:

            Probably because no one has played it/is interested/have heard of it, to be honest. I think I’ve only heard Agarest mentioned on japanator, and instantly consigned it to the ‘oh japan’ box. I suspect J-SRPGs aren’t really RPS’s thing, especially not a minor series console port (?).

    • strangeloup says:

      I’ve got to say that Agarest is the most interesting one on this list that I didn’t already know about, and I only knew maybe half of the listed titles. It falls squarely into the category of “JRPG’s I’d rather like to play but probably never will because sod buying a PS3″, so I’m quite tickled that it’s going to show up on Steam.

      Edit: Given lordcooper’s summary of the game below, I am significantly less enthused, much as I love strat-RPGs in general. Having some of NIS’s games on Steam would be nice, but I doubt it’ll happen…

    • lordcooper says:

      I was given a PS3 copy as a gift years ago. The entire game revolves around gradually seducing the female of your choice to spawn a valid heir to take over in the next ‘generation’. Sometimes one of the options was present (and sexualised) in the previous ‘generation’ as a child. IIRC you unlock ‘sexy’ anime images of the female characters by doing something or other.

      It is not My Kind Of Game.

  4. Reapy says:

    Does steam not use the ‘normal’ channels in addition to greenlight anymore? Some of these would have thought they could just write in to steam and get accepted without needing to whore out for votes via greenlight.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I might be wrong here, but from what I understand Greenlight is now the only way for those who aren’t on Valve’s “Trusted Publisher” list to get their games listed in the library. There is no other submission process for developers who don’t have a profitable track record with Steam.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        I’m not sure that’s 100% correct. Greenlight is a way to highlight games that haven’t garnered enough press, attention, or backing. If you have a publisher, you can get your game on Steam. If you’re a big winner at the IGF or Valve likes your stuff at PAX, then you can probably get through without Greenlight. Greenlight is, basically, a crowd-based method of getting games noticed for sale on Steam.

    • JP says:

      In almost every case, any developer who had previously (before Greenlight) published a game on Steam doesn’t have to go through Greenlight.

      I agree the current system sucks. Gabe has floated the idea of making Steam a network API with which any company can set up a store, which would fix the situation and undoubtedly open several new exciting extradimensional cans of worms.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        I hate Möbius worms the most.

      • Caiman says:

        So why in cod’s name is Frozen Endgame going through Greenlight? Mode7′s previous game, Frozen Synapse, certainly didn’t have to.

        Greenlight is such a terrible concept anyway. The idea that only the most popular titles deserve to have an audience is fundamentally flawed, and why our TV stations are polluted with reality TV dreck across the board. What the masses want isn’t necessarily what we should all aspire towards. It’s why Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures gets greenlit in 9 days whereas Dominions 3 languishes for months.

        • FF56 says:

          I believe Mode 7 have stated that they intentionally wanted to go through Greenlight in order to get some feedback from the community.

  5. Erkin says:

    A lot of games that are in development, and games which are already released like Alea Jacta Est or the Hunter are still not accepted.
    I’m starting to hate Greenlight.

    • elevown says:

      Yup cant belive the hunter and stardew valley havn’t made it yet- I’ve been playing hunter for years and its got tons of content, realism, well polished etc etc. One of the most immersive games ever.

    • Jomini says:

      AGEOD games have to go through Greenlight now?
      That’s just sad.

  6. bluebomberman says:

    At the risk of being beaten down with a very large stick, I’m gonna contest your assertion that Greenlight’s a tarpit.

    For it to be a tarpit, quality games need to languish in Greenlight and die. Enough games with potential are making it through that you can’t assert that.

    Valve doesn’t want to hire enough people to oversee game submissions. So they crowdsourced it instead. Until Valve decides to form a robust team to oversee submissions, we’re stuck with Greenlight and companies abusing their privileges to get terrible stuff like The War Z, ORION: Dino Horde, and Aliens: Colonel Marines onto the store.

    • KDR_11k says:

      It is a tarpit. The rate of quality game production is greater than the rate of acceptance on GL.

      So Dino Horde is still crap? Is the verdict in yet?

      • bluebomberman says:

        Well let me crowdsource this out then: what quality games are stuck in Greenlight after this latest round?

        Perhaps it’s foolish for me to believe I understand what Greenlight detractors are thinking, but it seems to me that people’s real problem is that Valve, one of the great big champions of gaming, apparently can’t recognize awesome stuff.

        • KDR_11k says:

          For example Greenlight was announced shortly after Mutant Mudds was refused by Valve and in their defense they said they don’t have the means to check everything. Yet that game is still not on Steam. It has a metascore of 80 on the 3DS so I’d say it’s certainly high enough in quality.

          Also a personal favorite is Bunny Must Die but that’s much lower profile.

          • elfbarf says:

            Another excellent DS game in Greenlight hell is Shantae: Risky’s Revenge. It has a 85 on Metacritic, but it’s hidden underneath a bunch of crap on Greenlight.

          • bluebomberman says:

            Well for what it’s worth I checked out your referrals and voted for them.

            For better or worse, until Valve decides to set up a more robust screening system, all we can do is spread the word and vote for good stuff.

        • Bishop says:

          My Game, Trash TV, has been on greenlight for 227 days and needs a futher 30k votes before Valve will even look at it (they only really look at the top 50). All the while Valve are hosting the Trash TV demo. It’s a weird and depressing situation. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=93760163

          Eventually I’ll commit indie suicide and just patch the demo with the whole game if I never reach it.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        I’m sorry, but that is complete garbage reasoning. You have a flood of fantastic indie titles in the past few years, and the gaming community is throwing a tantrum because the old guard is having trouble figuring it all out, which is neither surprising or unique to the gaming industry.

        In no other sphere do you have such fantastic feedback between the industry and those that consume it, and instead of taking that seriously, and limiting our criticism to things that actually make sense, the gaming community acts like a bunch of spoiled children, not because we aren’t getting our way, but because it isn’t fast enough.

        I’m done being like that. I’m grateful for an art form that has consistently blown my mind, again and again, for over two decades, ever since I was a tyke. They’re entitled to mistakes and growing pains.

        • RobF says:

          Yeah, it’s totally that and not that it’s a worse gatekeeper system than even Microsoft have managed at all.

          • derbefrier says:

            its still better than what they had before, which was nothing. I think that’s the point he was trying to make. This is new, new things tend to suck but also get better as time goes along, which leads to his other point. Have some patience and give them a chance to improve the system. Contrary to popular belief this shit doesn’t happen over night.

            My opinion, raise the entry fee to 500 bucks that outta keep out the shit. 500 bucks is an acceptable risk compared to the possible outcome of getting on steam and isn’t out of reach for serious developers but it will keep out those that just keep throwing shit against the wall hoping it sticks.

          • RobF says:

            If you think £500 will keep the shit out, you’ve never met people who make games and have £500.

          • MarcP says:

            There is nothing keeping anyone from selling their game on their own website. Valve is the gatekeeper of… What, exactly? Are they supposed to promote every game you like personally on their platform? Seems like the definition of entitlement to me.

            If you don’t like the way Steam does things, there is nothing stopping you from selling your games on your own website (as a developer) or buying games on other websites (as a player). Literally. We’re not talking material goods with some level of tradeoff here, setting up an online shop is a matter of hours and buying a game takes minutes.

            Throwing a tantrum and still using the service exclusively or even predominantly is exactly the kind of behavior putting companies in a position where they can afford to not do what you want, anyway, so not only the reaction is immature, it’s also pointless.

          • RobF says:

            Yup, anyone can sell games on their own website and I absolutely encourage everyone who makes games and sells them to do just that. I do just that and it suits me fine, I’m happy with my lot in life generally also. However, the gulf in audience reach and size between Steam and everywhere-else-on-the-internet is not to be underestimated. “Must have a Steam key” is increasingly becoming a common condition of purchase, that’s something that whilst saddening in many ways, is impossible to deal with in any sensible manner, right?

            Which leads to developers promising that -should- they make it onto Steam, they’ll offer keys. Which is erm, probably not a situation anyone should be in, developers feeling the need or people buying things wanting it but there we go. It’s a thing, it happens a lot and it exists.

            Unless you’re an outlier like Minecraft and everyone, I think, aspires to that sort of success, Steam is increasingly seen as a “have or no sale” thing. Which makes it a whole lot more complicated than just “sell it on your own website”. I know this, I’ve seen the difference in numbers from many developers and they are -vast-. It can be the difference between a few quid on the side and being able to make another game, solely by being present on Steam even for the lowliest of games.

            Which is why we, people who make games and people who buy games, should argue for a better system. Maybe that system is bolstering other stores or buying direct more, I don’t know. But just giving Greenlight time doesn’t seem like a useful or practical solution to anything – vaguely hoping Valve improve something doesn’t communicate anyone’s wants or needs here and raising the fee is not going to magically improve submission quality because some of the people with the most money make the shittest things.

            At the moment, Greenlight isn’t really serving Valve’s needs hence they’re having to maintain two routes (albeit one is blocked off to most developers but still, it remains) and it isn’t suiting the vast majority of developers. It needs to be better.

          • malkav11 says:

            I can understand frustration with Greenlight, but it replaces a Star Chamber-like opaque and unarguable rejection by Valve with a popularity contest with slow uptake. I consider this progress. Already games have gotten onto Steam through Greenlight that had previously been rejected by Valve.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Yeah, it’s totally that and not that it’s a worse gatekeeper system than even Microsoft have managed at all.

            Indeed Rob, god damn VALVe charging developers $40,000 per patch.
            They should be more like Microsoft where updates are free and as regular as the developer likes not to mention allowing games to be alpha sourced through their distribution network and allowing developers to sell games completely independently of said distribution network (entirely cutting said distribution network out of the transaction) while still providing licence keys for said distribution network.
            What do they think they’re playing at?
            Quick everyone, to the boycott bandwagon!

            Sorry, fell into bizarre mirror world for a moment there.

          • RobF says:

            Hey man, that’s some epic point missing. For all its faults, here’s how getting on XBLA works.

            You contact Microsoft, you can either publish with them or “purchase” a slot from a publisher. You can then publish your game on XBLA providing you meet cert requirements. There’s an obvious cost to these and it is far from insignificant but you will get to publish on XBLA.

            Or you can pay your yearly Microsoft tax and whilst it still exists as a service, publish to XBLIG after some messy but still more straight forward then Greenlight, gatekeeping in the form of peer review.

            Whatever the faults with XBLA as a service, and there are many, whatever faults there are with Microsoft as business partners, and there are many, is entirely separate to how they gatekeep their service.

            Compare to Greenlight where you pay a small fee to be in with the chance of getting published, no promises, no requirements from Valve to even look at your stuff, even if you do shoot up the vote chart. That’s pretty shit gatekeeping, yeah?

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          This isn’t a growing pains issue, it’s a laziness issue. Valve introduced Greenlight to take the burden of maintaining a proper submission process off their own shoulders.

          Valve can’t even be bothered to precheck the shitty AAA games that make it onto their service; what makes you think they’re going to try any harder with the indie scene?

        • KDR_11k says:

          1. Game sales decay exponentially after release.
          2. Steam is a storefront, not a museum.

          You’d expect retailers to be a bit more on the ball. There are some games that actually manage to get a retail release before getting on Steam!

      • InternetBatman says:

        I would honestly like to see some numbers to back this up. Greenlight is certainly not a cure-all for Steam’s acceptance problems, but I could see it eventually successfully integrated with other measures. The average wait time of a game vs. its total sales (and the percent of those sales on Steam) would be some interesting numbers to have.

        I think there’s also an issue of there being a significant backlog before greenlight existed. To combat perceptions of stagnancy, Valve should have been more aggressive about accepting games at the start.

        And complaining about it being a popularity contest is foolish. The marketplace is a popularity contest and people vote with money. Steam is a retailer, so they should operate by the basic rules of their environment.

      • frightlever says:

        It’s not a tarpit, it’s a popularity contest. People can be far more enthusiastic about a game that hasn’t been released yet than they may be about a game they’ve been playing for years and don’t actually need to HAVE on Steam. Community builds up behind an unreleased game like bubbles behind a Champagne cork (poor analogy, I know). Once the game is out in the wild that enthusiasm withers away.

  7. MaximKat says:

    How can it be “late recognition” when most of these games haven’t even been released yet?

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      As I put on another post here, out of the 66 games Greenlit before this batch, only 28 of those have actual releases which you can buy of which 3 are “early access” alphas & a 4th (Towns) should be but was added long before “early access” was a thing on Steam.

      And yet people will whine about the time the process takes.

  8. KDR_11k says:

    I’ve recently stickied Desura on my task bar. They need to remove the limited throughput rate from Greenlight and just accept games whenever they rise high enough (and of course manually pick out gems that they missed out on during their initial submission even if they don’t have very high vote counts).

    • Professor Snake says:

      Pretty much this. Unfortunately, greenlight is currently a horrible platform for discovering new games. And with valve only checking like… the top 20 games every now and then, it became a popularity contest instead of an objective measure of whether a game is of high quality enough to get on steam.

      Or it might be my project’s utter lack of publicity and subsequently votes speaking, draw your own conclusions. I really dislike greenlight as it is now.

      • Shuck says:

        I don’t know if it was intentional on Valve’s part (I don’t think it was), but Greenlight is a system that requires game developers to have outside websites and means of building a community that they bring (in large numbers) to Greenlight to get games advanced through the system. So it’s all about one’s ability to market one’s project on the web.

      • Brun says:

        it becomes a popularity contest

        Why wouldn’t they want a popularity contest? Steam is a store, and Valve is its manager, and like most store managers Valve wants to stock Steam’s shelves with products that are popular, because popular products sell.

        Valve has no obligation to “enlighten” the gaming population by pushing more obscure titles, even if they are “higher quality” (quality being, of course, entirely subjective). Greenlight is set up in such a way that a game has to have some degree of notoriety (and thus popularity) before it can make the cut and end up on Steam. That makes Greenlight a bad game discovery service but a pretty good filter for games that are going to justify the overhead of their Steam spot.

        • Convolvulus says:

          I don’t think Valve as a retailer is trying to be an arbiter of quality or run a popularity contest. Steam doesn’t have the limited shelf space of a regular store, and the overhead for an indie game doesn’t require much justification. Greenlight doesn’t gauge popularity. It’s a sample-biased survey built on usually poor information. ["Do you want this game? Here's a picture of how it might look."] I’m sure many Steam users (like me!) aren’t voting at all, so the process can’t possibly predict success.

          And even if Valve had some sure-fire method for figuring out which titles garner interest from the largest percentage of customers, that wouldn’t dictate which titles to let in. A game that sells 10% of what a hit title does can still make a profit for everyone involved. Steam makes money in volume, so fostering a larger, more diverse audience is preferable to concentrating on general popularity. If a hundred games make money, who cares what fraction of total users bought them? If a game does become really successful, the sales will cover all the downloadin’. If it doesn’t sell, the launch and maintenance costs are all that matter, and that’s why Greenlight exists. It’s more about gauging unpopularity than finding the next big thing. Voters are a component in Valve’s risk assessment procedure.

        • RobF says:

          Right but stores don’t just stock what’s popular, they play (usually) an integral part in making something popular. That’s where things get a bit more complicated.

          Like in retail, the store will have a buyer (or buyers, depending) and the product distributor/manufacturer whatever will have a rep. It’s the buyers job to work out what will be popular in their relevant department and the reps job to convince the buyer that their store is the right one for the product so you should really stock the product. A large part of this does involve leaning on the unproven.

          Whilst Greenlight goes someway towards making everyone the rep, it’s then relying on the rep proving that the product is popular before it might have had the opportunity to become popular precisely because it was in the right store. Which might not seem like too big a missing piece of the jigsaw but it’s a fairly fundamental change in dynamics.

          It also ignores that Steam have openly repeatedly stated that they don’t -just- want to stock “what’s popular” which is why they’re attempting to use other gauges like the IGF but that’s a once a year thing and you’ll be hauling about 10 or 20 titles from that, it’s a nice extra but little more.

        • Baines says:

          An issue with Greenlight’s popularity contest is that some of the better ways to “win” are for developers to throw away their (and Steam’s future) sales.

        • KDR_11k says:

          But it’s a popularity contest where the games fight each other for slots. Why does it matter that game A is ten times more popular than game B when B would still be profitable (including all secondary effects on things like Steam’s reputation and such)? Both should go up, not one or the other.

          • Professor Snake says:

            Precisely. Every game should be given a chance, not only the popular ones.

  9. Michael Fogg says:

    STARING EYE

  10. Universal Quitter says:

    This seems kind of nitpicky and impatient, Mr Walker. Greenlight is about five minutes old.

    In the words of Loius CK, describing a douchebag impatiently yelling at his cell phone: can you give it a minute!? Can you give it a minute, for space!?

    • Iamerror says:

      When you’re the premier method of getting games onto the largest digital download store within gaming you don’t get to have the benefit of the doubt. Not to mention Greenlight is far more than ’5 minutes old’ and has been both active and abysmal for months.

      I’d also like to point out how ludicrous [regardless of explanations for its happening] it is that the Angry Video Game Nerd game – a product for which a 20 second ‘reveal’ trailer and about 5 screenshots have been released to the public, is on Steam ahead of finished, quality games.

    • Shuck says:

      Thing is, Valve should have done a certain amount of work figuring things out before Greenlight when live, and they didn’t. It was frankly embarrassing – there were some pretty dumb mistakes made that indicated they didn’t give it very much thought or attention, and certainly not the degree of thought and attention it required.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        That’s par for the course. The glaring lack of forethought involved in everything Valve does outside of games, from annual sales to client updates to new features, is pretty shocking.

    • Baines says:

      Greenlight is around eight months old, isn’t it?

      People pointed out potential problems from the start. Valve didn’t really think out the concept, which led to a lot of fumbling and confusion at the start. It still isn’t exactly a satisfactory system. With the implementation of Greenlight, Valve mostly went from one broken review system to another broken review system.

      Steam is pretty terrible about reviewing content in general. That’s what led to Greenlight in the first place. Not as a fix, but just as an extra gatekeeper. I’d argue that they’ve also managed to waste some of the benefits the Greenlight system would bring, while simultaneously encouraging even more detrimental behavior than existed pre-Greenlight.

  11. Chizu says:

    Ah, Greenlight.
    My ever standing problem is that there are games on this list that shouldn’t have even had to come through greenlight, and are taking places from smaller games that actually need greenlight.
    I mean, Dreamfall? Really?
    I pledged to that game, and am looking forward to it, but no way should it have been necessary for that game to go through greenlight to get onto steam.

    Meanwhile gems like Bunny Must Die and War of the Human Tanks that actually NEED this service to get onto steam get ignored and disappear of into greenlight purgatory.

    • KDR_11k says:

      The whole slot limitation is the core problem. Without that there would be no worry about “taking away slots” or stuff like that. I consider Microsoft terminally backwards with their handling of XBLA (you need to have published retail games. To get onto a download service.) and Greenlight is approaching that level of nonsense. Wasn’t it bad enough when Nintendo had that limitation in the NES days?

    • thelongshot says:

      To be fair with Dreamfall Chronicles, while it might be some of the same people developing it, it is a new development company. I can perfectly understand why it had to go through Greenlight.

      Course, there are other games that have been on their forever and it is a mystery why they haven’t been approved. Gray Matter? Venetica?

      • strangeloup says:

        Venetica is pretty hilariously awful though. I got a promo copy on the 360 for a song and even the admittedly quite substantial entertainment value of its monumental crapness wore thin long before the end.

        • UncleLou says:

          Well, it was a bit like Fable with a lower budget, but much better combat and level design.

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      The big names shouldn’t even need to go on Greenlight, stuff like Dreamfall and Frozen Endzone are by companies/people with successful games already on Steam and Valve at least used pretty much just accept games by people they’ve dealt with before.

      It’s almost as if Valve are just using big names to try and encourage more submissions but that’s just going to cause some developers to feel they don’t have a chance.

      All the while, vitally important games with Monocle-based gameplay are slipping further away: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=132805838e

      • Baines says:

        I get the feeling it is more that Steam does as little as possible when it comes to reviewing potential games to carry.

        Steam obviously isn’t taking a close look at “trusted publisher” work. Even a cursory look should have raised flags with The War Z, and anything more than the cursory look would start raising flags that the submitted description didn’t match the content of the game.

        Steam seemingly wasn’t taking a serious look at new publisher work before Greenlight. Getting on Steam was a combination of a lottery and already making your game a success elsewhere. People submitting games were complaining that the information included in their rejections was often worthless in explaining how to possibly get their game approved in the future. Steam itself admitted that they weren’t able to give titles adequate time or consideration.

        With Greenlight, who knows. With a massive voting popularity filter in place, maybe Steam is doing even less work than ever in their approval process.

        Dreamfall has to go through Greenlight I think as much because no one at Steam even noticed its existence.

  12. BurningPet says:

    whats the big-name Indie game from that list that only got late recognition? seems to me like the big ones here got greenlit pretty quickly considering their initial posting time.

    • elfbarf says:

      I guarantee you that many IGF finalists/winners would never have made it on if it wasn’t for the deal with Valve. There are also countless high quality, lesser known indie games that are struggling on Greenlight.

      • BurningPet says:

        That doesn’t really answers my question.

        I think that most IGF finalists/winners would have got greenlit if they had to go through the process, but even if not, So what?

        Regarding the second argument – I guess that production values doesn’t necessarily comes into play in greenlight and that’s a very good thing.

        we cry and cringe when we see CoD #32423 get to be the best seller just because they made it prettier, but when indies create bland games with higher production values than most we suddenly have a change of heart and maintain that its all about production values? pretty double standard if you ask me.

        unless you meant high quality as in good which is very subjective.

        No one says steam greenlight is perfect, it isn’t because its still not a platform for developers to build and maintain a community in. but i also don’t think any of those games up there on that list should have gotten greenlit before others who have. especially since it was not possible because they weren’t existing when the platform went live.

        • solidsquid says:

          Higher quality doesn’t necessarily mean better production values, or at least not more “bland” as you put it. It could mean better/more varied sprite work, tighter control system, better integration of systems, all kinds of things other than “shiny”

  13. 1Life0Continues says:

    Battle Worlds: Kronos inclusion was part of a push by the developers at the behest of backers who wanted Steam keys for some reason. Can’t really understand why, but I suppose the ‘all in one place’ factor could explain it.

    Speaking of which, I know they’re already funded and all, but they need $50k in the next 10 days to meet their 2nd stretch goal, which will be asynchronous TBS on Android and iOS and that console that sounds like someone regurgitating. Surely that’s a goal worth attaining?

    But yes, Greenlight does seem to have the air of popularity contest about it, rather than a rational and level-headed approach to curation. Still better than the alternative though in my opinion.

  14. ass wasp says:

    agarest was a garbage game that was 90% pandering and 10% awful combat
    still the fact that it’s pretty much the quickest greenlight yet should encourage good jrpgs to come to pc

  15. sinister agent says:

    Salvation Prophecy really needs some love from Greenlight. It’s a little repetitive if played in long bouts, but a remarkable accomplishment, particularly given that it’s all by one person.

  16. Rolly says:

    RPS favourites Soldak were told to take Drox Operative to Greenlight despite their previous games Depths of Peril and Din’s Curse being already on Steam.

    • malkav11 says:

      And Din’s Curse was rejected by Steam arbitrarily for a very long time. They still refuse to put Kivi’s Underworld on. At least Greenlight means that Drox has a chance.

  17. ResonanceCascade says:

    Greenlight is such a disaster. They need to put the poor thing out of its misery.

    • Don Reba says:

      And replace it with what? All Valve did was place its selection process in public view and give fans some input. It isn’t as if more or better games would get approved without Greenlight.

      • Bishop says:

        I think if they just increased the speed at which games were greenlit things would be a lot better. 20 games instead of 15 or whatever.

        • El_Emmental says:

          At the same time, since most sales happen within the first week/first 2 weeks after release (unless there’s a major update), releasing indie games 20 by 20 would dilute the very little attention each 15 games get at every turn, favouriting the few indie games being able to pay for a marketing campaign (or be lucky enough that journalists do that for them with very positive articles, interviews, etc…) over the 1-2-3 devs team with little to no marketing/people/communication skills.

  18. Vinraith says:

    Greenlight is one of many reasons that Steam shouldn’t continue to be the “primary online store” for PC. Don’t vote to greenlight great games, people, just go buy them on a platform that has more respect for indies.

    • InternetBatman says:

      To be fair, you’d say that getting wet while walking in the rain is a reason we should stop using Steam.

      • Vinraith says:

        Why make this about me? Are you prepared to defend Greenlight as a good mechanism for independent developers? As good for the industry as a whole?

        • UncleLou says:

          Could you specify that? Because I just checked if Battle Worlds: Kronos or Legend of Dungeon were available (respectively: announced) on Gamersgate, Desura or Good old Games. They weren’t.

          Serious question, btw. If there is a reliable store for indie games (that is not overflowing with any old nonsense game, mind), I’d love to hear about it.

          • ankh says:

            Desura or if you keep track of the indie scene then just buy direct from the developer.

          • UncleLou says:

            Well, I use and mentioned Desura (none of the games I checked were listed), and obviously buying directly from the developer is always an option and a good idea, but requires that I know the game already. I do keep track of the indie scene a little, but there’s just way too much going on these days.

            An alternative to Steam/Greenlight would have to be a better (general) store (or “platform”, as Vinraith put it) that offers more exposure. I am not aware of one.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I’m prepared to defend it as a step in the right direction that needs several more steps.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        I actually LOL’d.
        It’s funny because it’s true.

  19. Vorrin says:

    I did not know most of those games, and I read most of the stuff posted here, so, maybe greenlight is not faring quite so horribly?

  20. Savv says:

    Glad to see Cradle in the list, it’s the only game from the batch I’ve voted for. It seems that even the games that were submitted quite a while ago (September 2012 in this case) still have a real chance to make their way to the top.

  21. wu wei says:

    If you want your game to definitely be greenlit, it seems that throwing the slender man in to it is a sure fire guarantee…

  22. InternetBatman says:

    I think there are two possible quick solutions to the greenlight problem (good games stagnating). One is to maintain a dual system, and have a small team of testers look over the entries (or at least the top 200) and accelerate ones of excellent quality straight to Steam.

    The other is to have a sale, call it the week of greenlight or somesuch and knock a 100 or 150 of the top games straight on to Steam. Do that once a year, and it will take care of a lot of pent up demand.

    The problem with opening the system up to everyone is that people are going to want returns for shitty games, and returns take actual staff looking over them to judge whether a reason is valid or not. Valve needs to turn its Steam wing from a software development company into a major retailer or these issues will keep cropping up. There’s a reason Amazon has armies of customer service professionals.

    • Don Reba says:

      This is Valve we are talking about — the flat hierarchy company. It is not supposed to have teams of testers.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Valve needs to turn its Steam wing from a software development company into a major retailer or these issues will keep cropping up.

      I’ve been saying this for a while. Sadly I think it’ll take a massive paradigm shift at VALVe for anything remotely like this to happen. Steam is clearly a big moneymaker for them but it’s also sucking a lot of resources from their other projects unnecessarily. I think it would prosper if it were an autonomous sub-division of VALVe rather than the current setup.

  23. Jenks says:

    Greenlight sucks, *insert game here that no one cares about* still hasn’t made it through!

  24. Phasma Felis says:

    I follow indie gaming pretty intently, and there’s a total of three games on that list that I’ve heard of, and two of them only in the last month. I’m not saying Greenlight doesn’t have problems, but these are not in fact “big names”.

  25. Joote says:

    Battle worlds: Kronos is the star here. It got greenlit so quickly it made my head spin.

  26. Screamer says:

    City of “Steam” should have been a shoe-in, surely?

  27. Malibu Stacey says:

    Good to see Dead State, Death Inc, Hammerwatch & Planet Explorers on the list.

    So far not counting the titles in this current batch, VALVe have Greenlit 66 titles. Only 28 of those have been actually released so far, 3 of which are early access alphas (Gnomoria, Kinetic Void & StarForge) plus one which should be (Towns). For all the bitching on this site (of which there would be regardless of what VALVe do I expect), it seems to me like the system is working.

    • Kaira- says:

      So, effectively 25 “completed” games in 8 months. That’s… what, 3 games in a month? Big whoopee.

      • Baines says:

        That’s one thing Valve could do to help Greenlight look more productive… Approve more finished games, even if those games aren’t in the top 20.

        • MacTheGeek says:

          Perhaps Greenlight should have separate categories for games, based on their development status: pre-alpha, alpha, beta, released. Weight the voting in favor of the latter two categories, while marking large vote counts for the former two as “ones to watch”.