Once an admired Kickstarter success, PC shooter Takedown: Red Sabre is being thrown to the wolves at a 90% discount on Steam, for a remainder price of €1.39. This decision is made just five months after the game’s appearance on Valve’s digital distribution site. Moreover, it’s not even a weekend deal, but one that stretches all the way to February 17, 2014. Ouch.
It’s not been an easy road for Takedown: Red Sabre. Its Kickstarter target was met within the final drops of the campaign, where the designer for Rainbow Six games and Halo: Reach vowed to return to the roots. This would be the game to bring back the old tactical gameplay, where planning actions matter, before bursting in. Its result proved to not really follow through on that promise with a horribly lacking build. Glitches killed any strategy, as gameplay became a chaotic mess.
It’s now being used by some to decry the state of their publisher 505 Games’ track record. Instead of using the “some” straw man argument, however, let’s look at its critical reception. A metacritic score of 34 makes it one of the worst releases of last year.
Here’s the thing with 505 Games; they’re strangely inconsistent in dealing with potential. On one hand, this is the stable where Payday resides. In turn, it also has Naughty Bear, which is terrible. Then, it published Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, who was just honored at the DICE Awards. Yet, it also released Rekoil; a brain dead shooter with equally troubling finish. There just isn’t any measure in the company’s goals.
Coming back to Takedown: Red Sabre; it’s the next logical step for the worries we brought on earlier this year with Lost Planet 3: Games have no value anymore. Only those privileged few who manage to escape their peers to become unrivaled can afford to climb above the absolute dumping. Even God of War: Ascension, one of the industry’s biggest names, took a plunge immediately after its first weeks made it apparent that it wouldn’t hit sales targets.
Games shouldn’t be half off after two months. They shouldn’t be thrown out the door after less than half a year. That just doesn’t leave any room for a game to find its place anymore. Certainly as some projects would rather grow over time and get its feedback from its community, a project needs time. Right now, the gears are fully running towards a throwaway society in digital format. Those who don’t want Steam Early Access to become poisoned by unfinished products demanding money should be the most upset at this. It’s following this model that has games trying to jump the gun, by clocking in that growth before the immediate sink after its release. Once it’s out, it’s clipped from its roots, leaving it out to rot. It’s best to feed the game while still connected.
Before this devolves into a rant too much, let’s just say that this tough position of price dumping is nearly impossible to bring to consumers, because they’re the ones who win in the short term. If a game is good, they get it cheap; if a game is bad, they’ll get it even cheaper. The thing is though, it’s short term. In the long run, developers will need to cut risks to prevent such a catastrophe from happening. That’s how larger companies homogenize content, to ensure redeemable returns. That’s eventually going to lead to fewer better games and not more. So, the next time a decent title comes by and you’re trying to wait it out, maybe pick it up after all. That one extra copy sold at full price can make all the difference towards developers.
Otherwise, you can find Takedown: Red Sabre dumped at 90% off here.
Sorry about having you trudge through a tired speech. Enjoy your consumerism.