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Returnal - Do you see the White Shadow?


Vemsie
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I'm not planning on buying that many games this year and if this really is as good as it promises to be, I have no problems paying for it. That doesn't mean I don't think Sony is a bit crazy here. Footle is right in that March is a fairly slow month (though the Mass Effect Remasters could be popular I guess) and PS5 owners are probably craving something new. And it probably doesn't need to sell millions to be profitable, this is hardly The Last of Us 2 in terms of budget. So it's kinda baffling that Sony didn't went for a lower price, given that they've done it before with other games. They're probably hoping the hardcore will take the plunge at full-price and spread the word of mouth, so more people will pick it up when the price drops. We'll see how it goes. Day one for me if it delivers on its promises though.
And for all of Sony's baffling pricing decisions I can at least applaud them for basically giving Housemarque carte blanche, as this looks infinitely more exciting than fucking Stormdivers.

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Just speaking from a UK perspective here as I think the jump is proportionally smaller in the US and some other countries, the issue with the prices Sony want to charge now is just how big of a jump it is. For me it's not so much that I think that no game is worth £70 but that I didn't pay more than £50 for a single console game last generation. 

 

The cheapest I can find Returnal for online, physically, is about £65. But last Summer I paid less than £50 for The Last Of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima. That's a more than 30% increase on the price of first party games in the space of 6 months, it's a huge psychological barrier to overcome. It's not just this game either, I enjoy Ratchet and Clank quite a bit but at £65-£70 it'd be another pass from me at launch.

 

Saying this does make me wonder why I didn't just wait a year to buy a PS5 when the price of older games had come down. Launch hype is a bitch I guess.

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I think it’s a wait and see re price vs reviews, I thought the same about Demon’s Souls but having received it for Xmas and now appreciating the quality of it I think it was worth it (or at least around the £59.99 you could get it for). I should probably finish DS first too, which will probably take me a long time having never really played a From game before!

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4 minutes ago, Beezer said:

How long before it’s on PS Plus? Could they even launch it on there?


I’d be surprised if they backtracked again and launched on Plus after the Destruction All Stars mess.

 

I do think they should backtrack on the price though. Curry’s are doing Demon’s Souls for £49.99 (with code) at the moment so I’d expect this to be similar not long after release (if they sell it).

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I think the £70 release price is one of two things - a greedy boneheaded error that will be swiftly corrected when it dents software sales, or an attempt to alter the tapering process for game value - ie they don’t necessarily expect any but the biggest games to sell well at £70 but they also don’t want the first cut after two months to put it at £35 or lower. 
 

Demon’s Souls is already available for £55 new from Amazon - I wouldn’t be surprised if an early cut to this level isn’t standard procedure for all £70 games.

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Yeah, the price tag is difficult to swallow but this looks like it's captured the essence of Housemarque's trademark bullet dodging 2D games perfectly. It's going to be hard to say no!

 

44 minutes ago, Flanders said:

I think the £70 release price is one of two things - a greedy boneheaded error that will be swiftly corrected when it dents software sales, or an attempt to alter the tapering process for game value - ie they don’t necessarily expect any but the biggest games to sell well at £70 but they also don’t want the first cut after two months to put it at £35 or lower. 
 

Demon’s Souls is already available for £55 new from Amazon - I wouldn’t be surprised if an early cut to this level isn’t standard procedure for all £70 games.

 

I think this is exactly right. I don't think £70 is the set new price for games, I think Sony are adding a premium for launch day / month purchasers to offset the speed with which games are being discounted. It sucks if you're on something of a budget and you really want that launch day experience, but I can see the logic of it if they're trying to offset the new, higher cost of development, whilst ensuring gaming as a hobby doesn't become prohibitively expensive... at least under the non-gamepass model.

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Gameplay will no doubt be fun but £70? Ha, you must be joking. 

 

Nothing about it screams that AAA quality that would justify that price tag. Although no game justifies that price tag imo.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Robo_1 said:

Yeah, the price tag is difficult to swallow but this looks like it's captured the essence of Housemarque's trademark bullet dodging 2D games perfectly. It's going to be hard to say no!

 

 

I think this is exactly right. I don't think £70 is the set new price for games, I think Sony are adding a premium for launch day / month purchasers to offset the speed with which games are being discounted. It sucks if you're on something of a budget and you really want that launch day experience, but I can see the logic of it if they're trying to offset the new, higher cost of development, whilst ensuring gaming as a hobby doesn't become prohibitively expensive... at least under the non-gamepass model.

 

Perhaps, but Hitman 3 is £55, not £70.

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2 minutes ago, footle said:

 

Perhaps, but Hitman 3 is £55, not £70.

 

You can get it for under £50 physically. The justification will be that it's cross-gen but that's not my main priority when deciding how much a game is worth to me.

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But Hitman 3, if Hitmans 1 &2 are anything to go by, will have a fairly established season pass and extra monetisation plan following launch, won't it? (Ignore this whole post if not.) I don't necessarily mind paying a higher sticker price if I'm not being monetised for 6 months post-release.

 

Having said that, £70 is a lot of money. With Ratchet & Clank and Returnal seemingly in fairly close succession, it's a tough ask on wallets. They're able to sell Miles Morales and Sackboy at less than the £70 price point, I would think they would benefit from using a wider range of prices.

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There seem to be a lot of awfully sure posts that it'll be great based on the devs making a 2D shooter and yelling "arcade" a lot, but I've not seen anything about the game that hasn't come from the developers themselves or the platform holder.

 

Has anyone outside the studio had hands on and said it's good before people get ahead of themselves?

 

2 minutes ago, Uncle Mike said:

But Hitman 3, if Hitmans 1 &2 are anything to go by, will have a fairly established season pass and extra monetisation plan following launch, won't it? (Ignore this whole post if not.) I don't necessarily mind paying a higher sticker price if I'm not being monetised for 6 months post-release.

 

I don't think so, the previous ones didn't.

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TBH I've noticed for myself that the new PS5 price tag is keeping me from buying PS5 stuff in general. Doesn't "help" that most PS4 games now all run like a dream and are often below 20 euros. For Demon's Souls it felt more like part of the initial PS5 cost, but I've pretty much resigned to not buying stuff at launch this gen and just waiting for the price to drop.

 

It's just a big price hike all things considered. Now for this game 59,99 euros would still be OK in my book, knowing Housemarque. But after years of conditioning that 79,99 is the "Limited Edition" price mark, that price tag just won't work. I mean, I can see a Godfall LE for 100 euros and still stare at it with a strange mixture of awe, horror, and bemusement. Just handing over an extra 20 with 'nothing in return' feels wrong thanks to the same idiots that put the 20 euros on top of it to begin with.

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16 minutes ago, footle said:

 

Perhaps, but Hitman 3 is £55, not £70.

 

It seems to be mostly a Sony strategy so far. Nintendo have generally set out their first party strategy as rarely discounting their first party releases, so I guess this is Sony purposefully leveraging the popularity of their own first party releases to introduce a slightly different pricing model. I don't think every publisher will be in a position to follow suit.

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£70 is not an outrageous amount to pay for a really good game - adjusting for inflation, it's about what you'd pay for a PS1 game back in 1997 - but the problem for me is that it's not really clear why this is supposed to represent good value for this game. I could understand why someone might charge that amount for something on the scale of Red Dead 2, Cyberpunk, Last of Us 2, etc, where the game is clearly exceptionally lavish and has has vast resources chucked at it, but given that Housemarque are a relatively small team who specialise in tight, focused, games that deliberately limit their scope, it seems like an odd choice of game to mark up. Returnal looks interesting, but the procedural generation and focus on repetition makes it look like it cost less to develop than most other full-price games - so why are they charging more?

 

It's an especially odd choice to game to pioneer this new price given that their previous games haven't been huge sellers. Although maybe they've calculated that Housemarque are never going to make anything mainstream, but have a devoted fanbase who will probably buy their game whatever it costs, so are happy to write off the mass market if they can get more from the core fans. Seems a bit cynical, but at the same time, I don't think £70 is untenable if it's a really good game. I don't think I like Housemarque's games enough to pay that amount, but there are developers that I would probably grudgingly open my wallet for. 

 

I seem to recall that Jeff Minter admitted he'd made a huge mistake in charging 400 Microsoft points (the minimum amount you could charge for a game) for Space Giraffe, because he had a small but avid fanbase who would have bought the game at double or even three times that, whereas nobody else would have gone near one of his weird quasi-Tempest games stacked with meme jokes and wacky Monty Python samples. Admittedly, the decision as to whether to charge 400 or 800 moon pounds (about £4 - £8, IIRC) for a game is a bit different from whether to charge £55 or £70.

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Yeah, when you you look at that £70 price point, it's been applied to Demon's Souls, and then this. Miles Morales is £50 (the Ultimate edition is £70, but that's the one that includes the original game too) Sackboy is £60, most third party games are £50-£60 for the basic edition. Deathloop is on the Store for £60.

 

It's a bold choice for Returnal to ask for that full £70. It is a lot of money for a developer best known for Stardust and Resogun. Surely they'd make more revenue at a lower price.

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I get what people are saying about the cost, but Housemarque.

 

If I'm thinking about cost per minute joy from a producer then Nolla, Konami (Pro Evo), FROM and Housemarque are the four. I don't want to pay an extra score on their releases, but there's no way they're still not value at the price.

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2 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:

There seem to be a lot of awfully sure posts that it'll be great based on the devs making a 2D shooter and yelling "arcade" a lot, but I've not seen anything about the game that hasn't come from the developers themselves or the platform holder.

 

Has anyone outside the studio had hands on and said it's good before people get ahead of themselves?


I don't think so. For most people the optimism is based on what's shown so far and Housemarque's impressive track record. I do know more about the game, but I can't talk about it because NDA. We'll see, but I'm pretty confident in saying it will be great. 

It's not a 2D shooter btw, but their arcade heritage is clearly visible in the gameplay footage, so it's not just a buzzword.

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Maybe Sony’s plan is that the game will have legs after it’s discounted, but you only get one chance to make a first impression. I don’t think many games that flop at launch ever truly recover, it’s almost impossible to recapture lost momentum.

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