Tommy Refenes, one half of the legendary duo behind breakout hit Super Meat Boy, has been speaking to Kotaku about the long-in-development Super Meat Boy Forever. It’s actually a really interesting interview, the full transcript of which can be read here, but it’s the chunk on the Epic Games Store which proves the most fascinating.
Super Meat Boy Forever is one of many Epic Store exclusives, although it kind of got away with it having been announced alongside the reveal of the Epic Store itself. The level of venom we see toward the store hadn’t yet had time to assemble so they had a lucky escape.
On that particular topic though, Refenes believes the additional security which has come from Epic’s cash has allowed the development team to take its time and not rush a product out to meet deadlines.
“It was one of those things where it’s like, ‘I’m not gonna kill everybody on the team to make it happen,’” Refenes said to Kotaku. “We’re not taking Kickstarter money or early access or anything like that. I’m not in debt to anybody. So I was just like ‘OK, we’ll just take longer, and it’ll work.’ We’re not hurting financially or anything.”
Metro Exodus was the catalyst which started the Epic Games Store backlash, moving from Steam to Epic exclusivity just weeks before launch. Some folks got really angry, another bunch jumped aboard the latest meme-fied hate train, and the rest was history. The valid criticisms of Epic’s store were quickly drowned out by the overwhelming wave of negativity.
“When it was announced, some people were like ‘Oh, that’s weird,’” said Refenes the SMB Forever Epic Store exclusivity deal. “And some people were pissed off. But most of the community was like ‘So?’ They were more like ‘When is it coming out?’ There is a barrier to entry on PC, and it’s your specs.” Refreshingly normal thinking for these trying times.
“I was young once too,” he continued. “I remember feeling those feelings, and I did not have an outlet. But I feel like if I had the internet, I would’ve screamed at Nintendo for not having Sonic. I feel like eventually all of these people will kind of go ‘You know what? That wasn’t worth it. That was a waste.’ That’s just part of ageing and maturing.”
It doesn’t sound as if Refenes and the rest of the outfit at Team Meat were particularly affected by the shift away from Steam. In fact, it sounds as if the piles of cash which came their way proved impossible to resist, particularly in terms of ensuring the security of long-term development.
“If Epic comes to you and says, ‘We’re going to give you an exclusivity deal where you’re going to be OK no matter what’ – to not take something like that is a mistake. It is a complete mistake.
“Your community is not the people who are screaming negatively. Your community is the people who are playing and enjoying your game. And I really doubt the people that’ll take the time and energy to scream at you are people who are going to enjoy it. I don’t believe that for a second.”
He’s probably onto something, although that something would be impossible to prove. We sure would love to hear some concrete EGS sales figures though.
Operating on a ‘done when it’s done’ approach, Super Meat Boy Forever is still TBA on PC and consoles.