It’s tough for small developers to bring games to retail, as indie studio Yacht Club Games has discovered this week.
The physical version of its critically acclaimed platformer, Shovel Knight, was due out in retail stores next week, but it’s run into a number of problems. Most notably, the Xbox One version is no more, with Yacht Club citing “publishing policies on that platform that are totally beyond our control.” It’ll come as a disappointment to many fans, and it shows how behind-the-scenes business decisions can sometimes get in the way of good intentions.
The cancellation certainly wasn’t down to lack of interest as Yacht Club says that pre-orders on Xbox One were strong. It’s going to keep fighting for a retail release, but for now the Xbox One boxed version is in “indefinite limbo.”
Yacht Club’s also had to push the retail release — now just on PlayStation 4, Wii U, and 3DS — back to Nov 3 (and October 30 in Europe) in order to include the Plague of Shadows expansion straight out of the box. And it’s increased the price of the game from $19.99 to $24.99 due to rules regarding where games at certain price points appear in bricks-and-mortar stores. “We didn’t want our ‘bargain priced’ game to go straight to the bargain bin of obscurity,” said Yacht Club, “so we had to raise the price.” Stores should honor any existing orders at the original price, however.
To help counteract all the bad news, the studio’s now adding a digital copy of the game’s soundtrack to the retail release, which is something it clearly wants to get right, despite forces acting to the contrary.