Race The Sun, Hyper Light Drifter, 30 More Greenlit


This week, on a very special episode of As The Greenlight Turns, social intrigue rules the spotlight. Remember Race The Sun? It’s an excellent blink-and-you’re-wall-pizza racer in its own right, but it also recently catapulted its way into prominence due to its trouble getting on Steam, abysmal initial sales, and a subsequent, er, sale its developers organized for others suffering from their same plight. Well, all that stuff worked! Kind of hilariously quickly, given that the sale only started yesterday. Race The Sun has been greenlit. Other standouts this time around include Thief/Dishonored-inspired roguelike wonder Eldritch, Kickstarter darling Hyper Light Drifter, and PULSAR: Lost Colony.

The full list is a biggie at 32-strong. Remember, no sudden movements or loud noises. Otherwise… oh no. GAAAAME AVALAAAAANCHE.

Phew. Is everyone OK? Look, if you lost an arm or a leg, you should be fine. Just put it in milk and have a dentist reattach it within a few hours or a couple days or a month or four. That’s how people work, right?

Anyway, this is quite a list, and a decent many of the games on it show great promise. I’m especially enamored with Death Road to Canada, Eldritch, Hyper Light Drifter, PULSAR, Claire, Dysis, and Race The Sun, myself. A few others, however, do seem fairly early and a bit worrisomely janky. Hmmmm. Is this the price of greenlighting games like a Papers, Please player whose family is cold and sick and hungry and haunting dreams with their disappointment? Hopefully not, but I suppose we’ll find out in time.

As for Race The Sun, it seems to be the latest beneficiary of a rather bizarre recurring theme. Not on Greenlight? Far off from making the top-30-or-so and in desperate need of sales? Then talk about it. Loudly. Don’t get me wrong: your game still needs to be good, but yeah. Incredipede also rocketed upward due to a similar situation, as did a smattering of others. It’s tough to say how exactly Valve should fix Greenlight, but you know your system has a problem when one of the most effective methods of cutting its line is lamenting its flaws.

For now, though, Valve finds itself at a weird impasse. Greenlight more games and maybe end up with lower quality on the whole, greenlight less and drown in dissatisfied grumbles. Many like claim that Greenlight’s bulb was burnt-out from the get-go, that the idea was noble but fatally flawed. In light of the fact that Valve has substantially increased Greenlight’s output in recent months, how are you feeling about the system these days? Should it stay or should it go?


  1. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I do remember Race The Sun. It’s right there in the main image of the “Not on Steam Sale” article. They jumped the gun on that one.

    • jo-shadow says:

      Hmm, hard to say, it could be that the attention they got because of the ‘not on steam’ sale (which, to be fair, has a bit of a passive aggressive undertone to its name) pushed them high enough on valve’s radar to validate adding them, either because the added attention that their greenlight page received, or the direct coverage by sites like RPS.

      I wouldn’t be as quick as to say they ‘jumped the gun’ especially because the 50-odd other games in the sale certainly can only benefit from the exposure. Would you really say that’s a bad thing?

      • AeornFlippout says:

        Aye, truth be told, we had a Let’s play from Dan Nerd Cubed two days before the sale began, and when we launched the sale we were already at #10 on Greenlight with Race The Sun. We had talked about the possibility of our game (or others) being Greenlit about a week ago, and decided that it was OK for them to be in the sale as long as they weren’t currently on Steam. In fact, one or two of the other games in the sale are already destined for Steam in the future, but for now they’re selling direct or doing preorders. Hopefully it doesn’t seem like too much of an oddity once you understand that it’s not an anti-Steam sale at all :)

        • Apocalypse says:

          The next logical question would be: Do I get a steam key for ‘Race to the Sun’ when I buy it on the ‘not on Steam’ sale? Because, you know, this would be great.

          • kalirion says:

            They’re using the Humble Store Widget, so you’ll get the key as long as they provide Steam keys to the humble store once available – and it would be very silly of them not to.

          • emertonom says:

            There’s a green key icon (with mouseover text “steam key included”) that indicates if a game will provide steam keys when they become available. Most of the games have them; the only ones I see that don’t are “One Finger Death Punch,” “When Asteroids Attack,” and “Voyage to Farland.” Notably, “Race the Sun” does have the “steam key included” icon, so yes, if you bought it in the sale, you’d get it on steam once it appeared there.

        • KevinLew says:

          I’d like a report on how your game performed after getting on Steam. There’s several games that have struggled fiercely to get on Steam… Race the Sun and Paranautical Activity are two recent examples. However, there’s been several games where the developer mentioned that they struggled getting on Steam in the past (like Space Pirates And Zombies).

          What I’d like to know is: Did it pay off? Because I’m wondering if Steam is that large of a factor in getting game sales after all.

          If your game is good but just undiscovered, then Steam serves as a great promotional/advertising vehicle. However, there’s numerous games that are on Steam which still resulted in bad sales. The game Retro/Grade, for example, sold so poorly that the game Unending Nightmares is inspired directly from it.

      • kalirion says:

        I doubt the not-on-steam sale had nearly as much to do with the game being greenlit as their “1 month after” post which was spread all over the interwebs: link to flippfly.com

  2. Gap Gen says:

    Best alt text.

  3. lsjroberts says:

    Could greenlight be improved by allowing players a time restricted access to the game, with the option to purchase it at the end, from a separate area of the steam store? The number of plays and/or purchases could then be a better way to judge which ones would go onto the store proper.

    • Wedge says:

      This is the problem Valve is dealing with, that their current store model was never really designed to handle so many games (and they’ve said as much), but I don’t think they want to segregate games like the XBLIG thing did either. All the bitching has always bothered me as it’s not like it’s a simple problem to fix, and ultimately is going to require a total restructuring of how their store system works, which I think it’s likely they have plans for eventually.

  4. RedViv says:

    Skyscraper Simulator.
    No Drox Operative.

    • Anthile says:

      I for one always wanted to be a Skyscraper.

      • The Random One says:

        I imagine Skyscraper Simulator is a game where pressing any key causes you to lose. “Your attempt to move has caused excessive tension on the structure and you collapsed.”

    • MykulJaxin says:

      But Cabal Online! CABAL ONLINE! I remember when it first came out… I was in high school. Being stupidly poor, I was a huge fan of trying every worthless ftp game with a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe this would be the one, this one would actually feel like a video game. I waited hours and hours to download the client. I booted it up, got into combat, played for less than a minute and asked myself “Wait… That’s it?” before turning it off and never feeling the desire to play again. As an added perk, it looks just as much like butthole now as it did then. I’m thinking I need to take to the streets and evangelize to my fellow gamer brothers and sisters: “BEWARE OF TRASHY GAMES, LEST THY GAMER’S SOUL BURN FOREVER IN GAMER’S HELLLL!!!!”, because weird things keep getting Greenlit.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Yeah, the lack of Drox is utterly mystifying.

    • Zorn says:

      Too polished, too actively supported? We may never know. :|

  5. Dances to Podcasts says:

    1. Read announcement
    2. Go to Steam to add games to wishlist
    3. Games not there

    They could time these announcements a bit better.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      The announcement is for getting greenlit, not for getting released. Some games are not finished and those that are still need to jump through whatever administrative hoops are required for actually putting your game on the store.

    • bleeps says:

      1. Go to Steam
      2. Mouseover Community
      3. Click on Greenlight
      4. Click on Greenlit on the right
      5. Find games you want
      6. +Follow them

  6. Premium User Badge

    urbanautomaton says:

    So glad to see Death Road to Canada in there. I backed them on Kickstarter, and it’s really nice to see a sensibly-scoped project without crazy stretch goals (dogs driving cars helps, too). It’s a well-formed idea that they plan to deliver before the heat death of the universe.

    I backed the heck out of Hyper Light Drifter too, but every stretch goal they hit seems to bring a new, ambitious feature or platform to support. It looks gorgeous and I really hope it works out, but as a (non-gaming) developer, this sort of scope creep gives me the willies.

    • Geen says:

      Hell yeah! Death Road to Canada seems like it has the right ideas, it had Tarn Adams in the video, and realizes that crazy stretch goals are a bad idea.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Complaining about Greenlight being a bottleneck and lamenting a drop in quality when more games get through? Can’t have it both ways. The “stay or go” question will become irrelevant as they incrementally build towards the open API they’ve already said they intend to create.

    • killias2 says:

      For some reason, RPS and a few other outlets -want- to hate Greenlight. I swear, they can’t have a single Greenlight post without some negativity. In this case, it’s particularly hilarious because they actually admit that there’s not really a better option. Straight up, the choice is between too many low quality games getting through and having some respectable games not making it through. I think Valve is trying to find a good center of balance here, and I think the recent move towards larger graduations is the right approach. Still, I never had huge problems with Greenlight in general. I don’t think Steam should be like Desura, where everyone makes it on more-or-less automatically. There should be -something-, or else you risk ruining the experience for the very developers trying to make it on Steam to begin with.

  8. The Dark One says:

    I guess it’s too much to expect Tiling Window Manager to be SteamPlay compatible.

  9. MadTinkerer says:

    ” It’s tough to say how exactly Valve should fix Greenlight, but you know your system has a problem when one of the most effective methods of cutting its line is lamenting its flaws.”

    It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. ;)

    • BooleanBob says:

      It seems a strange vector to snipe along when you consider RPS have directly enabled said cutting of line. Kudos to Flippfly though, they needed the exposure and they got it. Guerilla marketing at its best.

  10. ColCol says:

    I bought eldritch, but was so short and disappointing that I’m not happy it has been green-lit so fast . If it had stayed off for a little bit longer, maybe the creators would feel the urge to add more to it.

  11. Winner says:

    Hyper Light Drifter… wonder if Sega knows they’re using Shinobi.

  12. Scumbag says:

    From all those Hyper Light Drifter looks nice.

    Trying to work out if I’m hallucinating, but does the other advised vids after that have one that appears to be a woman having anal sex? Not a “That looks like something” but just outright blatant porn.

  13. JasonD says:

    Nice to see that a few of the games that I voted for made it. There are others up there I don’t recognize and will have to check out. What is frustrating is, as stated above, how some games are so far from being where they probably should be get greenlit, while others that are further along are still waiting.

    Asteria for example. They’ve still got a long way to go on Greenlight, but the game in it’s current ‘Alpha’ is 100% playable from beginning to end. They’ve got mod support, made the code available, full multi-player functionality, and provides an experience that is unique enough to be different from the games that inspired it. It’s all there on playasteria.com.

    I mention this one because it’s the one I’m playing. I’m sure there are others, and I’ll find them eventually, just a shame that I have to look through the games pending approval to find some of them, while investing in those that have been approved to find out they’re a waste of my money.

  14. daphne says:

    This (rather, the header image) reminds me. I don’t think you guys ever noticed Radio the Universe. That was a mistake.

    Hint. Hint.

  15. Frank says:

    Huzzah for that zombies game, one of the first I found out about through greenlight. Also, for whatever that thing pictured is, that RPS wrote about a few weeks back

  16. HoosierBrad says:

    I just supported Hyper Light Drifter on the strength of its entrancing music. I figure even if the gameplay is terrible (though it looks like it has a lot of potential), I can just start it up and crank the speakers. Hope they release the full album.