Outer Wilds is a first-person game based on the exploration of space. In Outer Wilds, you play through a 20 in-game minute section of time which ends when a star near you goes supernova. During these 20 in-game minute sections, you get to explore the planet and attempt to find a way to save the planet.
A brief history is required to fully understand why this move has outraged the community. Alex Beachum started the Outer Wilds project in 2012 for his masters’ thesis at the USC. Outer Wilds started its commercial development back in 2015. Team Outer Wilds originally started the development of the game. However, they have since been replaced by the firm of actor Masi Oka, Mobius Digital. Masi Oka is most known for his roles in Hawaii Five-0 and Heroes.
Crowdfunding Outer Wilds
The game started their crowdfunding campaign in September of 2015 and has been in development since. The community pulled together and funded the entire game for a total of $126,480 of the $125,000 initial goal. Since the crowdfunding, the alpha build of the game has been made available for people to try. This alpha build is downloaded nearly 90,000 times.
Recently the Mobius team announced the game will not be published on Steam and other platforms, as initially promised during the crowdfunding period. Instead, Outer Wilds will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store and Xbox. As quoted from one of the earlier crowdfunding campaign posts:
Currently, we’re planning to release Outer Wilds on PC, Mac, and Linux through Steam next year. But our dream is to bring it to new platforms in as many languages as possible, and we need everyone’s help to make that happen!
The blog post announcing the exclusivity deal further stated:
Throughout the development of the game, we’ve welcomed helpful partnerships with Annapurna Interactive, Xbox, and Epic to support us…
This statement was one of the main aspects the community took issue with, as the community was the ones to fund the game in the first place.
A user on Reddit, /u/grady_vuckovic made a comment we think represents the issue well.
“A crowdfunded game only made possible by gamers sticking their necks out to support them, with the explicit promise of releasing the game on Steam (and by the sounds of it Linux version as well), and they thank Epic for supporting them while giving their actual supporters the middle
Following the announcement of the exclusivity, some backers have expressed their intent to refund their backing. Their reasoning is that the promises made during the crowdfunding phase were broken and they no longer believe in the success of the game.
How this exclusivity deal and the negative reaction towards it will affect the success of Outer Wilds is something we will have to wait and see. With the Epic Games Store still being relatively new compared to their competition in Steam, they will have a lot to prove to the community to make it a success.
For more PC news, make sure to take a look at the news surrounding the new Euro Truck Simulator 2 expansion.