The quest to save a Stadia exclusive

Written by orobulletin

Earlier this year, Google announced it was shutting down its game streaming service Stadia. This is just three years after its launch in 2018. While fans of the service are mostly feeling the effects of the shutdown, there are a handful of developers offering Stadia exclusive services. Unfortunately, games will be lost when the service shuts down completely in January, one of which is Q-Games. pixeljunk raiders. The Barge Q-Games Founder and CEO Dylan Cuthbert explains the unique situation Q-Games finds itself in, taking exclusivity from Stadia’s founding ship and ensuring a safe place for people to play I’m trying

pixeljunk raiders is a space exploration roguelike game that utilizes Stadia’s unique “state sharing” feature. This feature allows you to share instances of your game that other players can jump into and experience.

Previous raiders Cuthbert said Google was showing off Stadia to developers, and was quick to get to the idea of ​​allowing players to share their gaming experiences with others. “We built the game around these basic ideas, and it was a fun design challenge,” he says Cuthbert.

as under development raiders Cuthbert wanted to flesh out more ideas the team had for the game and extend development time.but half a year ago raiders When released, he began to wonder if Stadia was in trouble.

“I wanted to develop the game further, [our Stadia representative] “No, we really need to ship it, or it might not ship,” said Cuthbert.

Raiders launched in March 2021 to less than glowing reviews. By that time, Google had already closed the studio headed by Jade Raymond, which had been set up to create first-party games for the service.

“I think the writing was on the wall,” said Cuthbert.

Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Cuthbert has been confronted trying to save one of his games. Q-Games was released in 2017 children of tomorrow, an adventure game with a unique voxel-based art style. The free-to-play game failed to generate enough money to cover its server costs, so Sony shut it down six months after its release.

“We had a strong fan base and a strong user base, but we didn’t want to squeeze more money out of it,” recalls Cuthbert. “I struggled to accumulate base income, so [Sony] Please shut down.

children of tomorrow‘s sudden closure plagued Cuthbert, Q-Games, and the game’s strong fan base.

“We shut it down [in 2017]but fans kept posting about the game and talking about it,” said Cuthbert.

A screenshot from The Tomorrow Children featuring a small child holding something like a shovel.

“Even though the game was no longer live streamed and unplayable, screenshots were being posted to Twitter every day.”

That ardent love inspired Cuthbert to try to revive the game. This meant a complicated legal dance with Sony’s licensing department.

“So I said, ‘Well, if you give me the IP back, I’ll rework the game so it doesn’t cost me anything to run,'” Cuthbert said, releasing the IP rights with Sony. explained negotiations for children of tomorrow to the Q game. “We’re reviving the game for our fans and improving it for the PlayStation 5.”

But before Sony could say yes, Cuthbert had to track down the various licensors of the tools used. children of tomorrowNot only the development of the game, but also its voice actors and music director have been given permission to re-release the game.

“It took about a year to get permission. Some were difficult to track down because the company went out of business.”

But after collecting information on Cuthbert’s shoe leather style, he was finally ready to re-release all the pieces. children of tomorrow That’s what Q-Games did earlier this year. And the fanbase is proving to still love it as much as it did back in 2017. they are all angry In a good way,” Cuthbert laughs.

Cuthbert hopes he can engineer a similar fate. pixeljunk raidersWhen asked how Q-Games plans to port a game that seems to rely on Stadia-exclusive features, Cuthbert seems confident it’s a simple technical fix. It looked like

“So I think the state stock system is copyable,” he said. “Obviously couldn’t jump in from the video or anything like that, but in the end it didn’t really matter. [of development]so I think it’s actually fine.

Screenshot from PixelJunk Raiders. A human player dodges laser bolts fired from jellyfish-like creatures against a sandy landscape.

The friction Cuthbert feels is with Google itself.The end of the challenge to re-release children of tomorrowone of the lessons Cuthbert learned was to hold onto the intellectual property rights of the games he created as much as possible. pixeljunk raidershe said the deal he signed with Google made it economically unfeasible to release the game elsewhere.

“I think the graffiti was on the wall.”

“The main idea inside is that if we can find the funding, we’ll take the game and remake it to the more complete vision we had and then start again,” he said. We could have added an addendum to the contract to allow us to release on other platforms, but the royalties for that addendum were too high to make it happen.”

Cuthbert’s idea is to bring in a publishing partner who can help with development costs and marketing to re-release the game. But before that happens, he needs someone. Anyone, on Stadia, helped him renegotiate his contract. If Q-Games has to pay Google a lot of royalties for publishing this game elsewhere, the publisher doesn’t want to get involved. Anything that is currently on will cease to exist.

for now, raiders I am at a loss.

“There’s one guy who looks like he’s trying to get things done,” said Cuthbert. “He sent me a message saying he was working on it. So be patient. But I don’t know how long I’ll have to be patient.”

“I don’t know how long I have to endure”

Despite looking like raiders Looking to fly out of space, much like Thanos’ snap, Cuthbert is proud of what he’s accomplished with Stadia. And if Stadia had made the most of its potential, it could have addressed the preservation issues older games face.

“You can make a system that moms can play just by going to watch an ’80s game on YouTube, and it’ll be there so no hassle in any browser. The reason I was so enthusiastic was because it had the potential to lower the barriers to entry.”

One of the problems with video game preservation is hardware degradation and the rapid leaps in technology that the industry repeats every 7-8 years. With Stadia, Cuthbert envisions an ecosystem where all his past games, his technology, are stored and stored in the cloud as emulators that people can play with the click of a button.

“I think if you want to get serious about preserving games from the 70’s or 80’s, or go all the way back from the beginning, you need a system like that,” he said. You can’t rely on people buying them.” (Ironically, one of Cuthbert’s own games made a comeback in the form of the release of the “cheap plastic emulator in a box” he was working on. star fox 2 It was scrapped for 20 years before Nintendo officially launched it on SNES Classic. )

But before Cuthbert could fulfill his dream of a playable online emulator service, smugglers run, he needs to look at google pixeljunk raiders.

“I’m just waiting and seeing what happens,” Cuthbert said. You can run with it now.

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