Satellite Reign, 7 Days To Die, Maia, More Greenlit

By Nathan Grayson on August 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

The Steam Greenlight machine keeps right on churning, and I have to say: it’s getting a little more efficient. Initially, batches of new games were wheezing out in sickly trickles, but now we’re getting 15-game shotgun bursts every couple weeks. There’s still plenty of room for improvement of course, and it remains to be seen whether or not Valve can keep pushing this pace, but it’s good to at least see some baby steps in the right direction. With that said, let’s dive into this week’s selection. Standouts include Syndicate spiritual successor Satellite Reign, the ever-popular (and hilarious) Viscera Cleanup Detail, open-world zombie sandbox 7 Days To Die, extremely ambitious god game Maia, and quiet, thoughtful ghost romp The Novelist.

What’s that heading our way? Can you hear it? I think it’s… oh god… it can’t b– [words drowned out by ominous stomping] A LISSSSSSSSSSSSSST RUNNNNNNN FOR YOUR LIIIIIFE.

This really is an excellent lineup. A few – like SWAT team RTS Door Kickers and spookyweird Dungeon Keepery thing Nekro – had previously escaped my notice, but the rest are known bastions of promise. I mean, just have a read of some of our Satellite Reign coverage or find out why Adam is unreasonably excited about Maia. And now, since these are, I suppose, videogames, I’ll leave you with, you know, some videos.

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43 Comments »

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Hooray for Doorkickers. Hope this comes to Early Access soon. I’m tired of re-downloading the whole game every update.

  2. subedii says:

    The Steam Greenlight machine keeps right on churning, and I have to say: it’s getting a little more efficient. Initially, batches of new games were wheezing out in sickly trickles, but now we’re getting 15-game shotgun bursts every couple weeks.

    To be honest, I think at that stage it becomes a question of whether or not you want Steam to be a curated store or not, whether you want it to just put everything on there that comes up. Personal and wholly subjective viewpoint is that the number of games getting greenlit now is actually pretty decent if you’re gunning to have Steam still remain curated. More than that and I feel like you’re really pushing the number of titles and it risks becoming more like the iOS / Android store.

    • Teovald says:

      They already said that they wanted to open up steam to all softwares at some point.
      Since it is more and more becoming a hub for all digital pc gaming, it seems only fair to give equal entry chances to everyone.
      Curation is a problem indeed. Both Android and iOs have showed a real lack of ambition on the gestion of their respective stores.
      I don’t expect too much from Valve in that regard, they don’t really seem to be developing Steam very actively. There are huge UX problems that have been there for years.

      • Triplanetary says:

        See, and this is why I do want the Steam store to remain curated. The Android store is awful. Plenty of great apps, sure, but far, far more shlock. And I don’t just mean poor apps, I mean malware, adware, completely useless apps designed solely to farm data from dipshits. Is that what we want the Steam store to become? Do we want to it be that much more difficult to find good games because we’re wading through pages and pages of spam?

        And even spam aside, do we want Steam to become a repository of microtransaction-laden, energy-based, two-currency Facebookesque games? Because that’s what the majority of games in the Android store are, and it sucks hard. I’m not just referring to “casual” games, which Steam already has plenty of. I’ll take Diner Dash over “social gaming” any day.

        A fully open Steam store sounds great in theory, and it would be, if there weren’t enormous numbers of spammers whose sole job is to take advantage of that kind of thing.

        (As to your other comment, I do think Valve is developing Steam pretty actively, they’re just not overly concerned abut and/or good at fixing certain UX concerns. But they’d be stupid to let Steam flounder; it does account for the vast majority of their revenue these days.)

        • Teovald says:

          Well, fixing the mobile stores (even if on the surface they may look different, Apple & Google have pretty much the same approach here & the same problems) looks a lot like the war between search engines & SEO. It needs a lot of attention & smart developments but it is possible to arrive in a situation when it is very hard to game the system.

          As for Steam, you are right I am exaggerating, they are developing & maintaining it, they just don’t seem to care about the UX, which is a shame.
          I fear that the store would become almost unusable if they just open the doors without revamping it (but for all I know, a new & ten times better version could be around the corner).

        • iridescence says:

          I’m perfectly capable of researching my own purchasing decisions and taking responsibility if I buy a bad game. I don’t need or want want Steam or the “Steam Community” to do it for me. I’d love to see all “curation” just disappear and it become a level playing field. Shelf space makes this impossible in physical stores but that’s the advantage of digital.

          • HothMonster says:

            You know what else died with digital age? Needing a store. Anyone can sell their game relatively easily from their own site or through one of the many other online stores.

            The problem is recognition. How do you get people to know you have this game available for purchase? There is this whole massive web of people trying to sell things and it’s hard to get noticed.

            Right now getting onto Steam is a huge sales bump for any indie. For two reasons, millions of people suddenly become aware of you and you have a tiny badge of honor that somebody deemed you worthy of getting on Steam.

            If you open the floodgates and let anyone put up anything Steam will be useless as a storefront. Like now I don’t go shifting through all the games on greenlight looking for things I might play, I still wouldn’t if they were purchasable. But if a game shows up on the storefront I might look into it.

            Indies wouldn’t like it either. Sure they get on Steam, but it would no longer be a 10000% increase in their sales because they would just be another drop in the bucket of torrent of crap that spewed onto Steam that day.

            I’d much rather see more stores becoming popular so Steam stops being THE PLACE to get your game into. Instead of them becoming a giant bowl of crap with small lumps of quality mixed in like the Android store.

        • The Random One says:

          It boggles my mind that people trust Steam to curate games for them. Those I let curate games for me are RPS, for instance, who doesn’t have any veiled interest in getting me to buy as many games as possible. And they very often point me to games that are not on Steam, or any other vendor. If people want to buy two-currency pay-to-win games on Steam that’s their problem. It might even instill in people a healthy distrust (although if Steam reinstating WarZ and then making it a weekend deal hasn’t fostered that distrust, nothing short of PC-exploding malware will do so).

        • Contrafibularity says:

          Being curated isn’t great either and it allows plenty of bad games that are designed solely to manipulate the player into spending money on virtual items or resources, for instance, such as a lot (or most) “free-to-play” games which prey on people vulnerable to these kind of schemes, who they call “whales”.

          It has to be possible to be open while simultaneously filtering out the malware. But the benefits of being an open publishing platform outweigh the bad stuff by far. I would hate for Steam to turn into something like the Appstore who don’t allow political or edgy content of any sort (Apple’s “reasoning” being that games are toys, and toys should not be thought provoking or cause even the slightest of controversy in any way). Curation like this always starts out with the best of intentions (like Steam) and tends to end up at the worst possible reality (like the Appstore) which is probably why Steam are looking for an alternative like Greenlight or whatever they’re going to do with it next.

    • InternetBatman says:

      tjrp did a pretty good analysis on the forums (he has a whole big greenlight database) where he showed that the number of games released on Steam has gone down since greenlight started. That’s not great.

  3. gravity_spoon says:

    What is the point of Greenlight for those projects which already got funded through KS ? For example, “A hat in time”, which got funded 900%. They can always cut a deal with Steam later on as the people who pledged will get their copies and it would be counted as sold anyway.

    • Anthile says:

      A Hat in Time was on greenlight before it even was kickstarted. I’m not sure you can just “cut a deal”.

      • gravity_spoon says:

        Yes “Cutting a deal” is what every dev/publisher does to get their stuff on Steam and no, your comment still did not answer my question. According to me Greenlight is pretty irrelevant now since the KS has already been funded for them and they dont need public support to get through Greenlight anymore. KS was more substantial for them since it actually provided them money to get things done. Cuz lets be honest here, being Greenlight doesn’t mean that the game is funded. It only means people might buy it once it is released.

        • Infinitron says:

          Being funded through Kickstarter didn’t help Expeditions: Conquistador get on Steam. They had to get a publisher (bitComposer) to put them on the platform.

        • The Random One says:

          I think you’re confusing Greenlight and Early Access.

          Early Access, like Kickstarter, is a way for people to give money to games in development and be rewarded for it. A game that has been Kickstarted shouldn’t need Early Access (although, due to ballooning costs, some do).

          Greenlight is a way for people to buy games. If your game is a commercial release you’ll want people to buy it, and lots of people buy games on Steam. It doesn’t matter whether your game has been crowdfunded or funded by an angel investor/the Indie Fund/John Riticcello in a fake mustache/the Dark Lord Satan/the sacked treasures of Andorra, if you don’t have a publisher you’ll still need to get through Greenlight to sell it on Steam.

        • Shuck says:

          Well, almost every Kickstarter project is counting on sales after release to recover the investments they’ve made in the game to break even, not to mention make an actual profit. (Because people aren’t raising the full costs of development on Kickstarter, they’re raising enough money to get the game finished after they’ve already invested their own time and money in it.) Getting on Steam means a profit and hopefully enough funds to start working on the next game. And of course, as an indie, you need to go through Greenlight to show up on Steam.

    • Ansob says:

      You can’t “cut a deal” anymore. If you’re not already on Steam or AAA, you have to go through Greenlight. Valve have even denied a game in the past for getting a publishing deal with a publisher who were already on Steam, because they wanted to force the devs to go through Greenlight.

      • gravity_spoon says:

        IIRC, Greenlight is just one way and not the only way. And yes Valve has denied numerous people for numerous reasons.

        • Saul says:

          Greenlight is about 99% of the “only way” now (for anyone without a prior relationship with Valve). I say this as a developer who is currently climbing that mountain. See this sorry tale as an example: http://kotaku.com/steam-sends-indies-who-got-publishing-offer-back-to-gre-510922011

          Kickstarted games have to go through it like everyone else.

          • Triplanetary says:

            I don’t buy the narrative in which the Paranautical Activity devs are a victim here. They can pitch a game to a publisher, or they can pitch a game to the community via Greenlight. Neither route is easy. But trying to do both is a dick move. It’s like if I qualify for a college scholarship based on financial need, and then suddenly I inherit $10 million, but then I STILL expect to get the financial need scholarship.

          • RobF says:

            Hang on, hang on. Why does it have to be either/or? What’s so special about Greenlight that its sanctity must be preserved even if it means a game has a harder route to being sold?

            I don’t get this at all. I mean, I know -why- Valve made the choice they did with PA and I agree that it’s in the interests of developers for them to discourage potentially predatory publishers but when Greenlight itself and Valve’s idiot policies that divide people up into “has prior relationship, can get on Steam unless we arbitrarily say no to a dev for completely unfathomable reasons”, “is a publisher with a prior relationship so put ANY old shit on there and party” and everyone else on the entire universe” naturally encourages these things because how could they not, then wait a minute, no. This isn’t a dick move/not dick move thing.

            There is nothing wrong with seeking a publisher, there is no right/wrong behind trying to make the best business decisions to get your game to market providing no-one gets hurt along the way, pitching your game to the community is not a game you play where you can either do that or do one because you’re cheating. Just because Greenlight exists doesn’t make this an ethical choice between the two or an either/or. That’s insane.

            People go through Greenlight because that’s the route Valve woke up one day and decided people do. Not because it’s useful to anyone in the main, not because anyone wants to in the main, not because it’s a better way. Simply and purely because Valve said and they won’t let anyone in any other way, they won’t give out that coveted appid any other way. Except when they do because it’s Valve.

            I just, y’know, think about what you’re saying there and what that means to the majority of people making games, how hard most people have to work after splashing out $100 and how many games get Greenlit vs how many games would sell bucketloads and be appreciated by their audience on Steam (clue:more than the 160 we stand at) and how horrible for developers to make his arbitrary and broken system Valve concocted to have some sort of moral place where if you do this, you can’t choose any other way because it makes you a dick. For… Well, why? What are you defending, right?

            I know that in time, this argument is kinda moot because they’re working ever closer to removing Valve from Steam and the store updates recently are pushing ever closer but in the meantime, let’s not make this a moral issue. It isn’t, it’s shitty business all round.

          • Hyetal says:

            This is his game: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=160936704

            I voted yes, by the way. It looks cool.

          • Ansob says:

            Potentially predatory publishers, totally – but Adult Swim is anything but that. They’re making their business picking up cool indie games no one’s really heard of and helping them get released (cf. Super House of Dead Ninjas and Fist Puncher). They’re actually a pretty awesome publisher.

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      what does kickstarter have to do with greenlight? I don’t understand what you’re getting at

  4. Hulk Handsome says:

    The 7th Guest! Finally! One of the greatest games of all time available on Steam!

    • frightlever says:

      That’s sarcasm, right? Please tell me you’re being sarcastic.

      To be fair I had fond memories of it myself, then I bought the iOS version. Hmm. Maybe it was just a bad version.

      It is just crappy parlour games and cut-scenes though.

      Hmm.

  5. Teovald says:

    I am not sure what the point is to greenlit games that are not even in development yet (like Satellite Reign).

    • subedii says:

      Presumably that they have an easy route to Early Access then. And in the meantime they can get a community going on Steam. Devs often use it to canvas for views and opinions on things (what players want to see, if there’s a demo then what you liked / disliked etc.) even before the game’s officially greenlit.

      • Teovald says:

        Good for them (and since I kickstarted Satellite Reign, for me as well) but :
        - They already have Kickstarter & their own forum to reach out to the community
        - They will not need Early Access for roughly a year and in the meantime only a few games are greenlighted with many already finished products waiting at the entry door.

        • HothMonster says:

          I don’t think Satellite Reign making it in keeps anyone else from getting in. If a game has the votes to meet whatever metrics Valve wants they get in, if they don’t they don’t. There is no 15 games a month or 30 games a quarter quota they are chasing.

          Also this allows them to build the game around steam integration from the ground up. And they can now use Steam to distribute betas well before the game is released. Takedown (a Kickstarter from about a year ago) has released their early beta(s) this way and it is certainly not early access ready.

        • RobF says:

          Two reasons.

          1. Without a Greenlight you can’t do much of use with Steam and ideally, you want these things in place as early as you can. It’s better if you can plan and implement stuff as you go along rather than having to selotape it in at the last minute.

          2. Because Kickstarter is a tiny den on the internet. There’s a lot of bang and clatter about the amount of money raised for projects there but in terms of numbers of people, well… it’s tiny. 15k backers for Satellite Reign. So for the game to reach more people alone, it makes sense. There’ll be way more people interested in a game than Kickstarter will reach.

          In order to work for people making games, any system popping up now has to provide for both.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Because greenlit doesn’t equal released on steam. It puts you in contact with a steam rep who helps integrate the steam code into your game.

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      I don’t get why that’s an issue for people. Why shouldn’t developers be able to secure a distribution deal during development?

  6. Fanbuoy says:

    Okay, so when is Black Mesa actually getting on Steam? It’s released and was greenlit in the first round, I think. Is it because they haven’t finished Zen? It puzzles me.

  7. distantlurker says:

    Ooooo I’ve had Maia on my list for ages, very much looking forward to that. Should I risk the alpha I wonder… hmm…

    • HothMonster says:

      Not really much to do in the current builds. It’s cool to take a peek but don’t expect any real playtime.

    • Malfious says:

      There is however a 21% code off, if you check their greenlight post from last night.
      Can’t say anything about the game as I haven’t tried it yet though

  8. KDR_11k says:

    I think I’ll just consider any attempt to get Bunny Must Die onto Steam a lost cause.

  9. wodin says:

    DoorKickers got a Greenlight aswell.

  10. Triplanetary says:

    Sweet, I Kickstarted Maia, so I’m glad it’ll be on Steam.

  11. Stitched says:

    Satellite Reign and Shadowrun Returns need to make lovely, wonderful, babies together.

  12. Wedge says:

    Waaaat I never thought INFRA would get greenlighted, frickin’ sweet!

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