Just Add Water: Microsoft "dragged along" Stranger's Wrath HD

Developer abandons Microsoft as publisher following 15 month process

Just Add Water's Stewart Gilray has placed responsibility for the long delay of the Xbox version of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD on Microsoft's shoulders.

The PlayStation 3 version was released at the end of last year, and yesterday a representative for the company told commenters on its official site that it was "winding up development" on the Xbox version.

"Blame Microsoft for not letting us publish on Xbox 360," he said.

Today, VG247 published a full explanation from Just Add Water head Stewart Gilray, who clarified that the developer has given up on Microsoft as a publisher, but not an Xbox 360 release.

According to Gilray, Microsoft approached Just Add Water about an Xbox 360 release just weeks after the company announced its intentions to develop a HD version in 2010.

However, Microsoft continually posed problems, pushing the game from XBLA to Games On Demand, then questioning its place there due to On Demand's $20 minimum price-point and Stranger's Wrath's failure to break 1 million units on its initial sales run. Eventually, Microsoft said that Stranger's Wrath HD could no longer be released digitally due to the PS3 version having already been on sale for several months.

"We said, 'We've been talking to you for over 15 months, now,'" Gilray continued. "'We haven't stalled. You've been stalling us. If you'd had come to us six months ago and said fine, we would have held back the PS3 version until the 360 version was ready.'"

Just Add Water is already talking to two other publishing partners about releasing the game, claiming that the 15 month process of dealing with Microsoft means it will have to create even more new content for the Xbox 360 version.

"We can't wait forever," said Gilray. "If we did, PS4 and 720 would be out. We have to, at some point, say, 'We tried. End of.' And that's sooner rather than later now. But people can't accuse us of not trying."

VG247 has the full story, and it's well worth reading.

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Latest comments (8)

Terence Gage Freelance writer 9 years ago
For whatever reasons, it sounds like Microsoft have been deliberately obstructive because they didn't want the game on Live. A shame as it's a great game and JAW/OI deserve all the sales they can get, but it's Microsoft's loss at the end of the day.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam9 years ago
Microsoft really need to loosen up, as they're rapidly falling behind the competition (from Apple and Amazon to Sony and Nintendo) with their online offerings. My understanding is that -

- Microsoft insist on charging $20+ for full retail games through their Games On Demand service, and won't release them until months after their retail release, by which point boxed copies are probably available for under $20 while they're often still charging full RRP online.

Meanwhile Sony regularly host day-and-date digital releases of boxed games, and Nintendo plan to do so on Wii U. New releases are often stupidly expensive, but some back catalogue titles are under a tenner now on PSN.

- Microsoft refuse to allow games that have previously been released on other platforms appear on Xbox Live Arcade, unless the developer adds a load of extra Xbox exclusive content.

Meanwhile Sony seem happy to get sloppy seconds, because it's all extra content for their users and extra revenue for them.

- Microsoft charge 40 a year for Xbox Live Gold, which lets you play online.

Meanwhile Sony let you play online for free (a service that works perfectly well in my experience), and for 40 a year you get PSN Plus, which gives you monthly discounts, free stuff (now including full retail titles like Little Big Planet 2, Space Marine and Darksiders) and free one hour game trials (including the likes of Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed and Battlefield).

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Bye on 22nd June 2012 3:24pm

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Daniel Hinkles Management/Design 9 years ago
Hard luck Stewart.

It sucks when you get so far down the line developing a product and then someone you thought was on board, lets you down. Ah, well. At least you had your PS3 version and presumably that's something you can build on.
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Show all comments (8)
Henrique Olifiers Gamer-In-Chief, Co-Founder, Bossa Studios9 years ago
^Argh, deleted the comment myself! =D

As I was saying...

Don't get me started on platform policies and politics that don't move on with the times. One that makes my head spin: having to pay to issue a patch to a game. It's more or less like this: 'Oh, you want to make our players' experience better by fixing a bug or perhaps adding a treat? Fine, here's the bill'.

This is just one story. One. Dig into how many people went down this sort of loop when dealing with console manufacturers and you will soon understand why some things just don't happen as they should. Like having an MMO on the 360 (remember Age of Conan?) and so on.

The times are changing!
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Kevin Patterson musician 9 years ago
MS has really let me down here.......

I was really looking forward to playing this on my 360, I loved the original on the original xbox, one of it's best games in my opinion. MS isn't what is used to be it seems, I miss Ed Fries.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
I still think this SHOULD have been given a disc release on the PS3 in addition to getting a PSN version. Granted, I said this way back when the PSN version was still in production and was told it would cost too much to produce a retail packaged game when I first suggested this. I also recall mentioning that perhaps the developer try to fund a retail release through Kickstarter (this was before Double Fine struck gold and opened the floodgates) and the reply I got was "What's Kickstarter?" (which makes me wonder what would have happened had the developer gone that route first).

Anyway, I'll never understand what it is some game publishers have against making money on projects like this and taking money from gamers who WANT to spend it. The game might have actually sold better if more people knew about it and had the chance to pick it up in whatever version they wanted.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
I don't think that trying to fund a console project with Kickstarter would be a good idea because of the exact sort of thing that happened here. A PC or Android game you can always release, an iPhone game is very unlikely not to pass approval, but console games can be unreleasable due to corporate politics and there's nothing you can do about it. But by the time it gets to that point you're not going to be able to refund the Kickstarter money.

I can kind of see why MS does this sort of thing. They'd really like to have the kind of exclusive content that Sony has with the PS3. Unfortunately, they're just going about it the wrong way: instead of building or buying internal studios and making brilliant games, for the most part they're trying to beat external developers over the head not to release for PS3. That's not going to work very well. Presumably the petulant, "if we can't have it first, maybe we don't want it at all" attitude is to make sure developers know they will be hurt to some degree if they don't give in to MS's demands.
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Stewart Gilray Managing Director, Just Add Water9 years ago
Situations entirely different Daniel.

We hadn't entered into an agreement, nor had we written a line of code.

All advisors said to avoid.
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