As part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview
published today, outspoken N+
creators Raigan Burns and Mare Sheppard have questioned the state of Xbox Live Arcade, suggesting quality issues and publisher-guided games are overwhelming its innovation.
The duo, which worked with Slick Entertainment's Nick Waanders to publish ninja action game N+
for XBLA release last month, had sharp words for the games released on the Xbox 360 digital download service, with Burns explaining:
"I think the thing with Live Arcade, though, is that I remember the last year and the year before. Two years ago was when we were first talking with Microsoft about doing it, it was really exciting, because Live Arcade had just came out, and they were like, "Oh, it's new. It's not going to be like retail. There's not going to be all this crap. There's going to be all these small, great, fun things."
But now it's exactly the same. There's all these big-budget ones with big publishers making them, and the real problem, I think, is that the same people who are deciding what retail games get greenlit are deciding what Live Arcade games get greenlit.
I guess it's because they have a lot of power that no one has pointed out that that's the primary reason. Those decisions that are ruining Live Arcade... it's like, who greenlit Word Puzzle? Who green-lit that hoverboard game that's just shit?
Nick [Waanders] has this racing... do you know Iron Man Off-Road Racing, like the old arcade game? It's four-player, and a little isometric. Nick made a racing game like that, and Microsoft was like, "Well, racing is too saturated on Live Arcade." But that's because they've greenlit like ten really shitty racing games. There's no good racing games."
At this point, Gamasutra editor Brandon Sheffield interjected that the service "has that Yaris game", leading the duo to add:
Raigan: "Oh my god. Exactly! That's the whole thing. They all suck. It's like, when we started out, we were excited, just like with N. There were 30 games on Live Arcade. If N was one of them, it would stand out. Now there's like a hundred games, and they're all shit."
Mare: People are used to seeing crap on there.
Raigan: If I was a consumer, I could see not even looking at Live Arcade games anymore if I had downloaded 10 or 20 demos, because at a certain point, you're like, "Whatever. Maybe there's a good game in here.""
The full interview with the trio
is available today on Gamasutra, including lots more detail into the making of N+
for Xbox Live Arcade and their thoughts on the state of the digital download market.