The developers behind upcoming indie platformer Super Meat Boy
have revealed that the Xbox 360 version of their game will offer free, downloadable levels independent from the usual Xbox Live approval and distribution system.
In a post on the Team Meat blog
developer Tommy Refenes details how the game will use Xbox Live's Title Managed Storage system to offer free downloadable levels to players through an unlockable area called "Teh Internets."
MTV's Russ Frushtick reports that
these Xbox 360 exclusive downloadable levels, which are being created using Team Meat's standardized level creation tool, will not require Microsoft certification or approval before being made available for download.
"In a world where it costs $2 to unlock content in a game that you’ve already purchased it is nice to have the power to totally say 'fuck you' to that system and go our own way," Refenes wrote on his blog. "As we upload content there are no micro transactions to play new chapters and we can basically do whatever we want with these chapters and it costs you, our adoring fans, nothing. We love you."
Refenes reports that Microsoft was not concerned about the team using what is essentially a loophole to deliver content outside of the normal Xbox Live approval process.
"In the end they actually welcomed it because they want developers to do anything and everything with their service that makes them stand out," he wrote. "No one has ever done anything like this in the history of XBLA as far as we (and our people at MS) know and it’s seriously the most awesome use of it ever."
However, Microsoft's understanding did not extend to a planned cross-platform, user-generated level sharing system, Refenes said. Both Microsoft and Nintendo refused to support the feature on their platforms, though Refenes says he hopes to make selected user-generated levels available though "Teh Internets" in the future.
Team Meat plans to offer a pack of 20 8-bit-themed downloadable levels alongside the game's XBLA release on October 20th. Four further level packs are currently planned for release, two in Q4 2010 and two in Q1 2011.