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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is all about family, adventure and creative problem solving, and it's available starting today on the Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points.
Announced through the Major Nelson Blog this morning, Brothers arrives on XBLA just in time to beat the typically crowded winter season. And with a bunch of massive-budget AAA games and quite possibly two new consoles launching this winter, it doesn't get much more crowded than that.
“Guide two brothers on an epic fairy tale journey from visionary Swedish film director, Josef Fares and top-tier developer Starbreeze Studios,” reads the game's description. “Control both brothers at once as you experience co-op play in single player mode like never before. Solve puzzles, explore the varied locations and fight boss battles controlling one brother with each thumb stick.”
Touted as a “journey you'll never forget,” the majority of critics seem to agree that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is something special, as the game currently rests at a score of 85 on review agrigate site, Metacritic.
Which brings me to my big problem: Why haven't we heard more about this game? I spend quite a bit of my time consuming game news and announcements and, save for a single promising video shown off during this past E3 a couple of months ago, I had all but forgotten this game even existed. I remember thinking “dang, that looks like a pretty charming little game,” and then it completely fell off of my radar.
I know that there's only so much you can do to advertise smaller games, and I'm not just blaming Microsoft for not better touting what appears to be a fantastic game at a bargain price. Interviews, developer diaries, screenshots and additional trailers are either free or cost next to nothing to produce. All I'm saying is, it would have been nice to see this game get the pre-launch attention it appears to deserve, and I hope that lack of information doesn't hurt the launch in any way.
Keep in mind I'm just singling out Brothers because this is the latest example of something that happens a dozen times every year. People pour their blood, sweat and tears into making these games, and I realize that there are frequently a number of annoying hurdles to clear on the road to launch, but that's no excuse to leave us nearly completely in the dark about a game when my inbox is filled on a daily basis with the third email in a row sporting new details, videos, etc. from the developer of goofy iOS games that barely pass as “games” to begin with.
In short, some of the best gaming experiences of the past few years have come from these smaller efforts, and it's always a bummer to see one hit the market by surprise. Gamers can start playing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons starting today through XBLA and discover for themselves if it is one such diamond in the rough. If that turns out to be the case, hopefully post-launch word of mouth will be enough marketing to get the game the attention it deserves.