Double Fine Recover Iron Brigade, Ditch GFWL

Like a video games company keen to own and preserve everything it makes, Double Fine have swooped in to snatch back 2012’s Iron Brigade [official site]. That simile’s perhaps unpoetic and unamusing. Could’ve said “a big protective bird” or tried a 50 Shades of Grey joke that didn’t work and was a good few years behind pop culture.

Anyway, the point is, Double Fine now own The Intellectual Property Formerly Known As Trenched and have started self-publishing it – taking over from Microsoft Studios. To celebrate this, they’ve put it on sale and ripped out the hateful Games for Windows – Live.

Released in 2012, Iron Brigade was one part tower defense, one part stomping around atop a honking great tank bristling with guns. Our Alec was a big fan back in the day.

Yesterday brought the announcement that they’ve picked up the rights and released a new patch for the Steam version. “In addition to bug fixes and improvements, the original matchmaking system has been removed and replaced with matchmaking via Steam,” DF say. Good stuff!

Iron Brigade is on sale on Steam until next Tuesday. An 80% discount makes it £2.19, or £5.99 for four copies so you can play with your pals or trade gift copies or whatever it is you kids do on Steam nowadays. Sexting? That’s a thing, isn’t it? Someone mentioned ‘sexting’ on Radio 4’s The News Quiz and everyone laughed so I assume you’re doing the same right now.

I’m smashing it today.


  1. FuriKuri says:

    For me, this is about the only good game DF has made since 2006, but even then I ended up hating it due to numerous crippling bugs that prevented any long term enjoyment (massive performance issues, progress loss etc).

    DF placed the blame entirely at the feet of windows live at the time and apparently couldn’t be bothered fixing these issues because of it. As shit as windows live was, I didn’t ever see these particular issues exhibited in other live games of the time so always found this excuse quite suspect. So it will be interesting to see if this game is finally playable, not that it would make their past behaviour acceptable.

    • LTK says:

      They did mention that one particular stuttering bug that they had been unable to solve has gone away after GFWL had been excised, so Double Fine definitely can’t take all the blame for those bugs.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      > For me, this is about the only good game DF has made since 2006

      Funny, for me it is the other way around. This is the only DF game I haven’t enjoyed so far, I bounced off it after an hour or so of trying. I thought the first person view obscured the information I needed to do correct “tower defense” build choices.

      Might give it a new try now with GFWL gone. Good on DF for getting the rights.

    • Zorn says:

      Was Microsoft -also- the publisher of all this other games?
      It was of Iron Brigade. GFWL is a service that’s implemented.
      The intellectual property rights, that’s a whole other thing.

      • OfficerMeatbeef says:

        This. GFWL was indeed the cause of the stuttering problem, but the actual root cause of all of it being unfixed for so long was MS owning the game and IP, and MS didn’t give a shit about the game working on PC. Simple as that. DF hacked around and fixed what they could as best they could but one of the devs explained long ago:

        After extensive investigation, we believe that issue is somehow unique to the signed, release GFWL version of IB PC, a version that is nearly impossible for us to test directly (we lack the signing key required to create these exes). We’ve discussed several possible ways to work around these restrictions with MSFT, but so far have not been able to get the support necessary to actually debug and fully resolve this issue.

        Hence why as soon as the IP was theirs again and that awful GFWL could be torn out, the issue was fixed immediately.

        What a strange future we’re in where a pretty explicit “Microsoft owns this and is to blame” isn’t met with knowing nods anymore.

        • Premium User Badge

          gritz says:

          DF has confirmed that the scrap stuttering bug is NOT fixed in this patch, and there are several posts about it persisting on the steam forums.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Why people still consider them relevant is a mystery. Everything they’ve done recently has been utter garbage. I refuse to ever buy one of their games after the Spacebase debacle. The fact they have the gall to still sell that piece of shit for £15 after abandoning it means they will never see a cent from me. I’m more than happy to torrent Grim Fandango remastered, none of the rest of their shit is worth playing anyway.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      “For me, this is about the only good game DF has made since 2006”

      I.e. They’ve only ever made one good game, lol. Brutal Legend was ok but yeah I agree, other than Psychonauts, nothing of importance has come from that studio.

  2. Deadly Sinner says:

    Progress loss is definitely something that happens with GFWL games. It happened to me with Arkham City, though I miraculously had a backup save for some reason.

    • iainl says:

      You’re not the only one; I played the first third of Arkham Asylum three times before I gave up on the whole pile of crap and vowed never to return, even after they ripped Going For Woeful Losses out.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        You’re missing out on a great game there in my most humble opinion.
        Arkham Asylum is one of the best ‘superhero simulator’ games I’ve played. It’s also got a pretty decent plot/story (well decent in videogame standards).

        I can never get tired of the fighting in that game.

        • Jalan says:

          Best Batman Simulator. Saints Row IV is the best Superhero Simulator.

          Also, of course the story is engaging – expecting anything other than quality from Paul Dini is just silly.

  3. Kollega says:

    I think I can sum up the feelings of everyone who wanted to play the multi of Iron Brigade but couldn’t by saying: FRIGGIN’ FINALLY. I couldn’t play it at all because it wasn’t sold by Microsoft in the CIS area, and while I got it off a friend as a gift, the multiplayer matchmaking simply didn’t function. And because the Hospital level was so unreasonably hard, I never reached the Pacific or the Martian Bear DLC. Time to remedy that, methinks…

  4. Alexrd says:

    “and ripped out the hateful Games for Windows – Live”

    Only to replace it with Steamworks… Ugh.

    DRM-free version, please.

  5. hollowroom says:

    Is the single player any good?

    Is it worth the two poond nineteen?

    Will someone please just remake Battlezone II?

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “Is the single player any good?”

      I’m wondering this too. Most of the comments here and on Steam seem to relate to multi.

    • Jenks says:

      If you liked Orcs Must Die, you’ll like this. Not quite as funny and the towers aren’t as fun as traps, but it’s every bit as solid a game.

    • Zorn says:

      The gameplay and the story line kept me well entertained for the original price.
      It’s fun in multiplayer, but I tend to replay it every once in a while in single player.
      I’ve clocked over a hundred hours in it, and I still love the cutscenes.

      If the game sounds like it’s up your alley, then grab it, it works splendid,
      and it will deliver some smiles upon your cheeks. :-)

  6. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Have they fixed the horrible stuttering bug in Co-op??

    • Zorn says:

      It is fixed. Four player games are working like a charm.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Actually the developers posted in the Steam Forums that the “scrap stutter” bug is still in the game, making it completely unplayable for a large number of people.

  7. headless97 says:

    This game was a hit with my friends and I. We have very different tastes and interest levels in games, and that makes finding a game that suits all of us very difficult. Iron Brigade was brilliant for us. Once we managed to work around GFWL causing peculiar glitches, we played for hours. But when we tried for a second round, GFWL would cause nonstop problems and we had to give it up. Once the service was shut down, I thought that was the end of it and Iron Brigade would be permantly dead because Microsoft certainly wasn’t going to do anything about it. I’m glad that DF was able to get the property back so they can fix those problems.