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Sub Rosa is out (again?), in Steam Early Access this time

After previously being hidden from the Steam store

I first played Sub Rosa around nine years ago, but it's only today reached Steam Early Access. Publisher Devolver Digital marked the occasion with a new cinematic trailer that introduces the multiplayer first-person shooter's slapstick deals and double-crosses.

Watch on YouTube

Sub Rosa has been available to buy elsewhere for a long time, and SteamDB suggests it has been available on Steam since 2014. The game's Steam page explains that it "has been in Early Access for years now, albeit hidden from the store and relying on word of mouth to build a small but motivated community of fans around the world." This method of release was referred to in 2017 as "earliest access" by some of that 'word of mouth', aka a marketing tweet by its publisher Devolver.

In any case, it's nice to see the game opening up to a larger audience. Sub Rosa is a great idea: basically, a multiplayer shooter that's designed to dynamically produce Mexican stand-offs between players. You need to trade data disks with other teams in order to get money, but you can get more money if you double-cross them and try to walk away from an arranged deal with the money and the disk. The result is a lot of backalley bloodshed, shootouts in parking lots, ambushes gone wrong, and hostage-taking, all in a large open world that's also filled with (v. simple) NPCs and governed by daft physics.

Honestly, I never had fun when I tried to play it with pals a lifetime ago, but presumably it's come a long way since. I almost hope Sub Rosa is a success either way, because it's an interesting game and a Dwarf Fortress-like act of dedication that it's still in development all these years later.

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