By Nathan Grayson on May 2nd, 2013 at 11:00 am.
Not so long ago, Gabe Newell sounded like he was dead-set on killing off Steam Greenlight, but still the rather obtuse game selection process persists. If nothing else, though, at least it’s not treading water. Say so long to a sludgy trickle of monthly additions, as Valve’s paving the way for a rapid-transit highway straight to the heart of the Greenlight system. From now on, it’ll greenlight more titles faster, but in smaller batches. And the first to benefit? How about surging (and completely marvelous) communist document thriller Papers, Please? Or, if that’s for some insane reason not to your liking, there’s also Edge of Space and ambitious, otherworldly action-RPG Venetica, in which you play as the daughter of Death Incarnate. Innnnnteresting.
Oh, also, there’s a new piece of game development software called Substance Designer 3, but that’s generally less exciting than communism.
Anyway, the rationale behind Valve’s decision goes a little something like this:
“We have decided to Greenlight a smaller batch this time, so we can move more quickly. There are lots of titles getting attention, so we are likely to continue Greenlighting titles in this quicker, but smaller batch fashion.”
The minotaur to Steam’s labyrinth/occasional game developer also noted that the selection process is still the same. Also, it reiterated a point that many still haven’t fully grasped due to less-than-obvious communication: Greenlight votes aren’t the be-all, end-all of game selection. “Votes in Greenlight give us a hugely valuable point of data in gauging community interest along with external factors such as press reviews, crowd-funding successes, performance on other platforms, and awards and contests to help form a more complete picture of community interest in each title,” Valve explained.
So then, Greenlight is continuing to evolve slowly and methodically, as is its paradoxically un-actual-green-light-like way. The system’s been propelling some fairly excellent games up to the top, too, but its colossal claw remains rather creaky and slow to take note of a fast-moving indie scene skittering around right under its nose. In all honesty, Papers, Please is basically an example of the optimal Greenlight Cinderella story: A game somehow garners widespread fame pre-release, and that makes it a shoe-in for Steam. Then, on day one, it launches everywhere and takes over the world for the glory of the mother country.
Unfortunately, Cinderella found herself enshrined in the hallowed halls of storytelling history because she was special – the exception, not the rule. Same with games like Papers, Please, leaving other (sometimes equally deserving) hopefuls out in the cold. And while it’s entirely possible to be successful on PC sans Steam, it’s orders of magnitude more difficult. So fingers crossed that Valve either molds Greenlight until its a sleek, speedy game discovering machine or pulls the plug and starts from scratch. And here’s hoping that doesn’t take too terribly long, but then, this is Valve we’re talking about. Better late than never.