MercurySteam’s four-player cooperative (and sometimes 4v1) shoot-o-brawler Raiders Of The Broken Planet will relaunch as fully free-to-play in August under the new name of Spacelords, the Spanish studio announced today. Since its 2017 launch, Raiders has run under a shareware-ish model of giving the starter campaign away free then charging a tenner for each extra campaign (three so far). Game director Enric Álvarez says they hoped this “would open it up to a large number of users, but it didn’t work as we planned.” And so, F2P.Raiders Of The Broken planet is a cooperative-focused cover shooter with different classes romping through missions shooting and bashing faces, and occasionally going up against another player. A fifth player can join as the ‘Antagonist’, see, a big nastie who has come to wreck you in the name of “a dark space demon.” And it does support solo play too. I hear it’s, like, okay? But playercounts are low, peaking at barely over a hundred concurrent players in the past 30 days, which puts a multiplayer game in a death spiral of bad matchmaking.
“Our vision is to see our game enjoyed by millions of users for years to come and putting all of the game’s rich content into their hands for free is the way to realise it,” director Álvarez said in today’s announcement. “We’ve answered our community and hope this removal of any payment barriers will build our devoted community further.”
MercurySteam did briefly give all the campaigns away for free in May, but evidently that didn’t produce enough of a long-term boost to keep the old model going.
The full extent of how MercurySteam plan to make money off Spacelords is still unclear. The FAQ says they will sell optional instant access to specific campaigns, rather than having to complete a campaign to unlock the next. The devs promise “exclusive and unique content” for people who have bought campaigns pre-F2P, and keep them unlocked too of course. Beyond that, dunno really.
But why Spacelords, of all names? “We felt that ‘Raiders’ only focused on one specific side of the battle for the Broken Planet: The Raiders,” Álvarez starts.
“But this is about the Aleph, a mythical substance from the Broken Planet, a substance everybody wants -the Raiders, the Antagonists, each of the invading human factions…- All of them know that whoever controls the Aleph, will dominate the universe as the ultimate Spacelord. So, the new brand is not going to change the game lore at all, quite the contrary. Spacelords comes to embrace all of them -Raiders and Antagonists- under one umbrella.”
Ha ha what? Mate, it’d be fine to say “We thought Spacelords was snappier and kinda funny.”
Spacelords is due to launch on August 23rd.