One of the coolest things on Steam, Valve’s digital game distribution platform, is Steam Greenlight. It’s a remarkably simple idea. Developers post pictures, videos, and other information about games in development. The Steam community votes on their favorites. The Steam staff contacts developers who get enough attention and, if the game is ever released, it’s guaranteed distribution on the Steam marketplace.
Is it a perfect system? Absolutely not. There’s a lot of garbage on Steam Greenlight, and sometimes it’s hard to find the good stuff. Developers have to pay a one-time $100 fee to use Steam Greenlight (all proceeds are donated to the Child’s Play charity), which filters out some spam, but once that’s done developers can submit as many titles as they please. And, of course, many of the games never reach completion – or, if they do, they’re not exactly what developers initially promised.
Despite these issues, Steam Greenlight remains an excellent way for indie projects to gain traction and find an audience. Just look at Little Devil Inside. A week ago, nobody had heard of this small, stylish action-RPG. Now, the title’s taken the gaming blogosphere by storm, with profiles appearing on major sites like Kotaku, IGN, and Game Informer. That’s a lot of attention for a little, early-in-production game, and it’s all thanks to Steam Greenlight’s accessibility and the strength of a single, well-made trailer.
Most sites are calling Little Devil Inside a mix between The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls. While combat resembles a more violent version of Nintendo’s classic dungeon crawler, the developer, Neostream, claims that fighting is just one small part of Little Devil Inside’s gameplay. According to Neostream, Little Devil Inside “tells stories about people with ‘unusual’ jobs such as hunting monsters and what happens in their everyday life,” with an emphasis on open-world exploration, dynamic in-world events, and wilderness survival. There is a story, but it’s not the game’s main focus. In Little Devil Inside, players are encouraged to forge their own path and create their own adventures.
Neostream cites X-Com, System Shock, and Betrayal at Krondor as other influences, but the game’s style is all its own. Little Devil Inside has a distinct Wind Waker vibe, with its bright colors and quirky characters, but the stylish landscapes and whimsical animations make the game look more like a Wes Anderson film than anything else. In the absence of tangible gameplay, the aesthetics are Little Devil Inside’s main selling point, and they’re getting the job done. Little Devil Inside’s trailer is so popular that Neostream recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to capitalize on the all the attention.
Could this all blow up in fans’ faces? Absolutely. There’s no guarantee that Little Devil Inside will deliver the sprawling, open-world adventure that Neostream promises. Even if it does, the finished game is still years away. However, thanks to Steam Greenlight, Neostream has a chance to make good on its claims; for an unknown indie developer, there’s no greater gift than that.
Source: Little Devil Inside