Summary

  • PC Game Pass is empowering [email protected] developers to create their dream projects.
  • We spoke to Head of Global Independent Creator Partnerships, Guy Richards to explain why.
  • We also take a look at four games coming to the service: Lightyear Frontier, Planet of Lana, Everspace 2, and The Last Case of Benedict Fox.

As the [email protected] brand turns 10 years old this year, our indie publishing service is stronger than ever. With PC Game Pass able to put unique games in front of more players than ever, we wanted to take a look at how [email protected] is empowering developers to make their dream projects, and get them onto the screens of players across the world that are keen to find their next hidden gem.

As part of a recent [email protected] event, we were able to get an in-depth look at four upcoming games. The event gave us a first glimpse of gameplay and other details for Lightyear Frontier, Planet of Lana, Everspace 2, and The Last Case of Benedict Fox, some very different but equally exciting titles headed to PC Game Pass in 2023.

Xbox Wire also got to sit down with Guy Richards, Head of Global Independent Creator Partnerships at [email protected], to learn more about how the publisher finds great developers and titles to bring to PC Game Pass.

Richards tells us that there are two main things that ID looks for when it comes to seeking out promising new games. The first is simple – they need to be awesome-looking, high-quality, fun projects. With PC Game Pass, it’s all about quality over quantity to ensure members are getting the best possible experiences. From his perspective, that’s one of the most fun parts of the job, getting to explore as many amazing games as possible.

“We are completely aligned on viewing the games as an art form and wanting to push the industry forward from a creative perspective,” he says.

The second is focused on diversity — the team is constantly on the lookout for something different in genre, art style, theme, from developers and studios across the globe that can tell unique stories.

“We know that Game Pass members play more genres, they play more games, and 90% of them play games they wouldn’t have played otherwise,” Richards says. “So I think it’s really important for the catalogue that we’re providing members with this huge array of awesome experiences.”

Partnering with [email protected] is just the first step for a game; once the journey begins, a whole world of opportunity is unveiled. Richards details how [email protected] is able to utilize its reach to ensure that a game finds its audience. “One of the most rewarding journeys that we can go on is seeing the reaction from fans when those games are finally announced and shown,” he says.

Another asset is the millions of Game Pass subscribers that a game is delivered to on day one. Richards tells us that discoverability is a constant topic with developers.

“Trying to find a way to stand out is harder than it’s ever been, and Game Pass is a really powerful tool for enabling that,” he says.

Your friends can help with discovering new games, too: “I’ve has this personal experience with online multiplayer titles that launch into Game Pass day one, knowing that me and my friends have all got the same game library, and we can jump online to play,” Richards explains.

There’s also the more pragmatic monetary element with which [email protected] and Game Pass can support developers. Richards says that Game Pass members spend 50% more on the Xbox store than non-members, on games both inside and out the catalogue.

“This support is empowering developers to take more creative risks to build the games they want to build,” he adds. “That’s what we were built to do.”

Speaking of those games, let us talk through four titles coming to PC Game Pass through [email protected] in 2023 – and we asked each game’s developer what being a part of PC Game Pass has offered their project.


Lightyear Frontier screenshot

Lose yourself in a beautiful new planet in Lightyear Frontier, a fresh spin on the farming genre. Equipped with your trusty, colourful mech, you’ll set out to build a new life in a mysterious new setting filled with secrets to discover.

Using your mech as a tool you can explore lots of exciting subzones, from lush fields of crops to hidden caverns brimming with rocks and stones. Forage for new plants with special properties or collect resources for upgrades, and bring them back to base to build up your homestead.

Lightyear Frontier is far from a solitary experience, you can use the radio tower to make contact with a number of NPCs living on neighbouring planets, each with their own unique information, skills and missions that will reward you with new items and knowledge. Be sure to visit the Merchant whenever they visit your landing pad too, to trade old resources for new items, and learn about the latest goings on in the surrounding areas.

If your homestead still feels a little empty, you can invite up to three friends to come over and build it with you. Explore the planet together, collaborate to create a bigger, better base and uncover as many secrets as you can.

Xbox Wire: Why did you choose to join Game Pass, and what does it offer to you as a studio?

Joakim K. Hedström, CEO of Frame Break: “We think Game Pass is an excellent environment for a unique multiplayer game like Lightyear Frontier. With a lower barrier of entry, we hope more players will try the game out, both in single player and multiplayer.”

Lightyear Frontier lands on Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One – available with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass – in Spring 2023.


The Last Case of Benedict Fox screenshot

Metroidvania meets Lovecraft in this side-scrolling spooky platformer. You’ll assume the role of Benedict Fox as he works to uncover his dead father’s secrets, accompanied by a friendly demon companion.

Scout around for clues that pertain to your father’s memories, and gain valuable insights to his life work as an inventor, scouring objects in detail. as you try to uncover his magnum opus. As you solve this mystery, Benedict will be plagued by spine-chilling foes, demons with a mission to stop you piecing this puzzle together.

Benedict has a number of skills at his disposal, including various melee attacks and a dangerous pistol to keep the monsters at bay. Once you’ve slain a few demons and collected their ink, be sure to visit the tattooist, where ink can be traded for new skills that’ll help Benedict take down even deadlier foes.

Xbox Wire: Why did you choose to join Game Pass, and what does it offer to you as a studio?

Bartek Lesiakowski, Creative Director at Plot Twist: “Plot Twist isn’t the biggest studio in game devel opment, but we are ambitious. As any other developer out there, we wanted to share our stories and work with others. So going with Game Pass was a natural step for us. It’s incredible how supportive the Game Pass team always been, and the marketing support is just amazing.”

The Last Case of Benedict Fox launches for Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One – available with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass – on April 27, 2023.


Everspace 2 screenshot

Strap in for a starry shootout in Everspace 2, the sequel to 2017’s Everspace swaps roguelike for Rogue One to become a semi-open-world space looter shooter filled with opportunity.

Hop into your ship and pick up jobs from every corner of the galaxy in order to earn credits and unlock better loot. Mission difficulty can be adjusted for a calmer or more intense experience, but the harder you go, the more rewarding the loot will be.

Everspace 2 features a robust campaign, and includes six different companions to befriend, each with their own skills, background and questlines. Outside of missions, there’s a wealth of planets to explore, from the flaming craters of lava planets to the gorgeous depths of mysterious ocean worlds. Each location is full of secret to explore and stories to uncover.

With nine different types of ship available, you’ll always have the right firepower at your disposal, whether it’s for flying long distances or manoeuvring through a dogfight. At the hangar, your ship can be customized even further to match your needs, tinker with everything from weapons to shields, and finetune your handling, speed and other perks to your liking. You’ll be able to change your ship’s look too, for the ultimate interstellar bounty hunter experience.

Xbox Wire: Why did you choose to join Game Pass, and what does it offer to you as a studio?

Michael Schade, ROCKFISH Games CEO and Co-Founder: Everspace 2 is our studio’s dream game. We’ve spent the last five years focused on creating an experience that calls back to some of our favorite games while crafting something that feels new and we’re excited for the millions of Game Pass players to get hands-on with what we’re building.

“The financial boost and the extra time it allowed helped us to craft a more polished experience for players everywhere.”

Everspace 2 flies to Windows PC – available with PC Game Pass – early 2023.


Planet of Lana screenshot

A lush, hand-painted world awaits in Planet of Lana. When her quaint fishing village is invaded by mysterious war machines, our heroine Lana and trusty alien sidekick Mui must embark on a cinematic adventure to save Lana’s sister.

Lana can’t make it through the world of Novo alone, and so Mui must assist with increased manoeuvrability, long distance jumps, and other unique skills –  such as a hypnosis ability – to help the pair progress. The two will uncover help along the way, like the magic stone that allows Lana to bring old structures to life. Here, Lana can learn more about the world and the machines that destroyed her village.

Inspired by the likes of Studio Ghibli and atmospheric side-scrollers like Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and accompanied by a score from The Last Guardian composer Takeshi Furukawa, Planet of Lana is an awe-inspiring journey of growth and survival against a mechanical invasion.

Xbox Wire: Why did you choose to join Game Pass, and what does it offer to you as a studio?

Adam Stjärnljus, Creative Director at Wishfully: “It was a really easy decision to bring Planet of Lana to Game Pass. For one it lowers the financial risk which means we can focus more on being creative and be able to design the game we want.”

“And since we’re an indie studio making our debut game it’s just an incredible opportunity that enables us to reach a huge audience that might not have discovered our game otherwise.

Planet of Lana is heading to Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One – available with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass – in Spring 2023.

Source: https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2023/02/06/id-xbox-pc-game-pass-empowering/