Developer MercurySteam is relaunching its 4v1 shooter-adventure game Raiders of the Broken Planet as Spacelords today.
Launched in late 2017, Raiders of the Broken Planet was presented as a free-to-try experience. Prologue missions were made available for everyone but chunks of levels and story-based missions are sold as campaign episodes. Unfortunately, the limitations of taxonomy on Steam, the PlayStation Store and Xbox Games Store meant it was categorized as a "free-to-play" title, leading to many players expressing ire and confusion about this business model.
Game director Enric Álvarez said, “When we launched Raiders [in] September last year, we hoped its low price point would open it up to a large number of users, but it didn’t work as we planned. Our vision is to see our game enjoyed by millions of users for years to come and putting all of the game’s rich content into their hands for free is the way to realize it."
In effect, MercurySteam wants to reformat the game into an experience players are more accustomed to. That means making all content free-to-play. Álvarez said, "The removal of any payment barriers will build our devoted community further," and that re-branding is "the best way to communicate [these changes] to players."
When Spacelords goes live tonight, it will continue the story with "Council Apocalypse" in which the Raiders seek out Valeria Robespierre, "a smart, spunky and cruel-ass bitch with no humanity in her cold, bionic heart" and convert her to their cause. Each episode of Spacelords is an intense adventure made up of four challenging missions that can be played cooperatively or as an Antagonist attempting to thwart the Raiders.
It's a bit like the ill-fated but excellent Evolve, but with more story and cutscenes directly woven between each match. The setting and characters are pretty rad too, sort of a mix between Saturday morning cartoons and European comic books with a dash of punk rock/heavy metal attitude to boot. I'll admit, I dig it a lot and have put serious hours last June.
MercurySteam hasn't gone into too much detail on monetization under the free-to-play model, but Álvarez assured there won't be no loot boxes because, "we don't like them." As for players who have previously purchased content, they will receive “exclusive, top-quality game content” that won’t be available to free-to-play Spacelords players.
Spacelords will be available tonight for download on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.