Remember that one E3 where we all saw that one cool game, that was about building your own game, and sharing it to everyone. It was like emergent gameplay to the tenth power? Then Microsoft rolled its plans to make everything a microtransaction? Want a lighter blue sky? $2.00. Want six fingers instead of four? $1.50. Want your hero to fart? $25.00 Want it to stink too? $4.00.
Tunes’ changed now. Project Spark has announced that this coming Monday, October 5th, the once promising game building arena will be completely free. The drawback is that Microsoft is withdrawing from producing its DLC and episodic content. Who cares? What made Project Spark interesting that it was about creating games, levels, and more. Not shackling people with microtransactions or extensive 80 hour gameplay grinds to unlock a new sheepskin texture.
Does that mean Project Spark failed? Not really, according to their statistics they receive 300-400 new complete games daily. They are boasting nearly 200,000 players, and not only that all of their packs will revert to free downloadable assets. That’s 46 packs and more than 2,000 assets. Not bad.
Take into account that they are also making engine changes, like doubling the terrain limit, increasing prop limits to 500. Each player (which they refer to as “Creators”) will have 100 upload slots for sharing their games/levels. Also, no more annoying 40 minute mandatory tour before you can even change settings.
There are so few games of this type, and even fewer on PC. This is a boon for all hopeful game designers that are too timid to boot up Unity, but too eager to let their ideas rot. One of the biggest drawbacks Project Spark wasn’t its support, lack of content, it was the nickel and diming mentality, this appears to have changed along with further “unifying” console cousins with PC Windows gamers.