Braid Dev: XBLA Certification Hindered Development; No Downloadable Content Planned

By Aaron Linde, Aug 08, 2008 8:00pm PDT Following the release of Jonathan Blow's independently developed, time-warping puzzle platformer Braid, the developer has revealed that the Xbox Live Arcade certification requirements may have encumbered the title in its crucial polish phases.

"They removed some of the requirements for XBLA games, but there are still a lot of requirements," Blow told Gamasutra. "And I believe that, at least for a single-player game like my game, the vast majority of these requirements are unnecessary."

Blow continued, "I put in a tremendous amount of work meeting all these requirements, when I could have put that work into the actual game, and made it even a little more polished, little bit better."

The developer further noted that while the Xbox Live Arcade certification process is meant to ensure a standard of quality for games appearing on the platform, he believes that the amount of time and energy spent on passing certification has an impact on a title's final product.

"I definitely had a couple of unpleasant business interactions with Microsoft," Blow admitted. "Nothing horrible—well, nothing quite bad enough to cause me to cancel releasing the game on Arcade. But what would keep me from putting another game on Arcade again is just that they've changed the business deal—at least as I've heard."

Despite the troubles, Blow later stressed that there were some positives in his dealings with the software giant.

"They didn't try to dictate the game design, as many publishers might—they were very hands-off there, and what is in the final game is exactly what I wanted to put there," the designer added. "They also bent a lot of XBLA rules, in order to help me make the game the way I wanted, which was pretty cool of them... For the most part, working with Microsoft has been great."

Blow had previously stated that he had no plans for a Braid sequel, but fans may be disappointed to learn that the developer is currently not planning any downloadable content for the puzzle platformer, either.

"Money is not really my goal, so even if Braid does very well... that's not my concern. I'm not going to do a sequel to Braid—I don't care how many copies it sells. I mean, maybe in five years when I'm motivated, if I have a really fresh idea for it. But I'm not waiting in the wings with a level pack, or DLC or anything," he stated.

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25 Threads* | 145 Comments

  • Ah, by the looks of it, it's just a guy that's not familiar with how commercial games get made (At least from the business side).

    Getting a game published on PS2, PS3, 360 and Wii (Wii is one of the worst) is exactly the same; tonnes of niggly little usability things that have to be addressed. Some of our releases have been held back for months because someone doesn't like the size of the icon or the game throws a hissy if you insert and remove the memory card 50 times while saving.

    They really seem like niggly issues from the development side, but they're important on the end-user side.

  • I want this game so bad. I was debating all day whether I wanted to wait for a price drop to play it but Gee Whiz as Butters would say its gotta be played now and MS takes FOREVER to update prices (Oh, 10 year old South Park episodes? Sure, we'll charge you as much as the new ones! We also fail to ever update our pricing scheme on Arcade games! Which would most likely sell like hotcakes if they were properly repriced like retail games over time.

    End of my characterization of MS. Anyway, my point of this story was its Sunday and Gamestop closes EARLY... Thanks a LOT. I NEED you slaves of retail to work LONG, HARD hours on allegedly HOLY days to appease me. Damn you I want Puzzle Quest while I am at it as well.. Until tomorrow I suppose... SCIV is always sitting in the disc tray...

  • I finished the game and was thinking about the length and price today.

    I think $15 is a fine price-point for this game. The game is excellent from start to finish and has zero filler. It's about five hours long if you don't bother with the speed runs and hunting down the hidden stars (which I didn't even notice were in the game until I read GameFAQs after finishing it).

    If you divide the length-per-price of the average big budget game then Braid seems like good value. If you divide the quality-per-price then it's even better.

    I mean, in the UK the game cost about £10 and "full" games cost £50-£60. Given that many full games won't last you more than ten hours and contain a lot of filler, I think paying 1/5th the price for 1/2 the time and zero filler is pretty damn good. And this is a game that I'm going to show friends when they visit because its mechanics are so interesting.