Update: A ScrewAttack rep has sent over a statement on the matter: "Just to be clear: we have not made a decision on Xbox 360 or Xbox One yet. We're obviously not thrilled with how Microsoft is handling indie games and at this point, we're putting a much higher priority on developing for the other release platforms."
Original Story: Who here knows about the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures? The game that was greenlit on Steam's Greenlight in under nine days and is scheduled to release on Steam, the Nintendo Wii U and possibly the PlayStation 4? If you didn't know about the game, you know about it now.
The side-scrolling, hard-as-a-turtle shell, rage-inducing platformer is a labor of love by FreakZone Games but it's not coming to one specific game console... the Xbox One. “Why?” You ask in a tone that obviously indicates you don't see where this is going. Well, young padawan, it's because FreakZone is self-publishing Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures and that, in Microsoft's book of video game law, is a crime against digital nature.
I don't know how we missed this before but the news comes courtesy of a stage presentation on GameSpot hosted during this year's E3, which took place last month. The video went live in mid-June but everyone who watched it was too busy oogled over the game's awesomeness and too angry at all things Microsoft to pay attention to the bit about the game skipping Microsoft's console. Then again, during that time there was the whole Major Nelson snatching the microphone out of Angry Joe's hands, and the Sony love-train chugging ahead at full speed and then there was that whole Best Buy marketing stunt that has cheering for the Big 'N' to kick it to the man, and so it's easy to see how people missed this bit.
Anyway, let's get to the real meat and potatoes of the story. At the 6:17 mark ScrewAttack founder Craig Skistimas talks up the new AVGNA title like it's a middle-aged guy who dropped kidney stones and bought a Testarossa Ferrari. He then talks up the release platforms and goes on to explain why Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures isn't coming to the Xbox One, stating...
“We are [self] publishing this game [and Xbox One is a no go] out of principle more than anything else” … “I think it's one of the things as indie devs and indie publishers as a whole – they are kind of pissed off about [self-publishing restrictions].”
If you're not sure what he's talking about, he's talking about the Xbox One's restriction on indie devs to self-publish on the platform, opposite of the Nintendo Wii U, the PlayStation 4 and the PC (obviously). The reason for the self-publishing restriction? Why, family content of course.
According to OXM, they caught quotes from Microsoft Studios corporate vice-president Phil Spencer, who stated that...
"Given the role that television plays, and that we know we have a true family box - we everybody to be able to sit down and play Sesame Street, National Geographic or if you're age-appropriate, Call of Duty and Halo - we'll want to keep some control over the appropriateness of the content that's on the box," ... "Which means it's not going to be [like on] the PC. It's just not going to end up in that space."
Whoa, wait a minute... when did Halo and the potty-mouthed, knee-eviscerating, politically jarring, arcade war-movie-wrapped-in-3D-with-button-prompts become age-appropriate? Seriously, WTF?!
Both those digitally interactive name-drops by Spencer are 'M' rated games... 'M' for Mature, that is.
While an argument can be made about the lack of curated content from indie devs on any platform, there are services like the sometimes maligned Greenlight offered by Valve that at least helps weed out the process so that it's not a costly, time-torturing endeavor by the network operators to rate, certify and curate every single indie game that comes their way for mass consumption.
As it stands, Microsoft's main aim is to cut the biggest moving creative force in gaming right now completely out of the picture. No three-game publishing deal every two years? No publisher? No service. That also applies to the highly popular Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures from gaming's ubiquitously recognized ScrewAttack.
Quite naturally, if Microsoft is saying “screw you” to indies, ScrewAttack is saying “screw you, Microsoft!”.