A certain platform that became one of the homes of the original Orcs Must Die last fall was conspicuously absent from the recent press release announcing its sequel, Orcs Must Die 2. Realizing that a number of Xbox gamers who purchased and enjoyed the first game feel slighted by what they perceived to be Robot Entertainment turning its back on them, the developer posted an explanation on its official forums today.
Justin Korthof, a community manager at Robot, explained that the reasons are not personal, but monetary. Korthof reaffirmed that the Steam/PC community playing the first game is "significantly larger" (note the emphasis) than the audience for the tower-defense title on Microsoft's console. That being said, he did note that "Both communities are very passionate and loyal. We appreciate that immensely." So the small-scale developer is extremely grateful for the support of all of its fans, but game development is a business like any other; and business, as it turns out, is business.
This decision was entirely about spending our resources in the best ways possible. We won't get into too many details because it's been noted already by many indie developers, but it's important to understand that developing and supporting games for XBLA brings with it several additional processes and costs above and beyond the core development of the game itself. This can make development increasingly expensive and time-consuming. As a small developer, we have to be as efficient as we can with our resource investments. We can make a better game and we can make it in a shorter period of time by focusing on PC for the sequel.
It's unfortunate that Xbox gamers will be deprived of the sequel to an incredibly fun Arcade game, but it's hard to blame Robot for wanting to protect its limited funds. The studio has only been in existence for just over three years and has only released three games to date. That means management has to be careful with the risks being taken, and another XBLA release was apparently perceived as not being worth the cost and development time. Furthermore, the justification for the move away from the Xbox 360 also raises some questions about Microsoft's logistical and cost policies for downloadable third-party games versus that of PC digital platform owners.
In any case, Korthof stresses that everyone at Robot knows that they "wouldn't be where [they] are today" were it not for the support of the Orcs Must Die! community. Its an audience that Korthof stressed Xbox gamers are an integral part of. "We have plenty of console players in the studio, so this isn't about a 'platform war,'" said the community manager.
Continuing, Korthof noted that he himself dedicated much of his time jockeying for position on the Xbox Live leaderboards with his friends during the first couple of weeks of the game's release. "Nothing about the decision to go PC-only is because of any ill feelings towards our Xbox community," he emphasized. "I just want to be very clear on that."
Ultimately, his hope and belief is that many Xbox gamers will make the transition over to PC for the sequel. "We'd certainly love to bring as many fans with us into the sequel as possible," Korthof stated. To entice them to do so, the dev is going to include Xbox controller support for the PC-only followup. Wired controllers will work without any necessary equipment, while those with wireless controllers will need to snag a [easyazon-link asin="B000HZFCT2" locale="us"]wireless gaming receiver[/easyazon-link], which supports up to four controllers.
Assuming you have a PC capable of running Orcs Must Die! 2, you'll find the game packed with sequel staples like new enemies and weapons, well, traps in this case. The campaign will also feature a redesigned upgrade system and, since this is a sequel, a cooperative mode. Players will have the option to play alone or with one friend and take control of the hero of the first game or a sorceress who wields "mind-control and magic" abilities. Robot is planning a summer release, but you'll only have to wait a few more days to play it if you're headed to PAX East in Boston this weekend.
Source: Robot Entertainment