Gang Beasts took the party game world by storm with its early release on Steam back in 2014, and the wacky physics behind the now highly popular (albeit buggy) fighting game has consistently kept gamers entertained en masse. This evidently caught the eye of Sony, as a PlayStation 4 edition of the game is expected out later this year. Gamers hoping to see Gang Beasts fight its way to Xbox One, however, are in for a bad time: game studio Boneloaf has stated that Microsoft's stringent parity clause is a major deterrent in bringing the title to the Xbox One.
This isn't the first time that Microsoft's infamous parity clause has irked smaller developers, many of which have previously stated that indie developers simply couldn't afford to sign on for it. The Xbox One parity clause guarantees the delivery of things like Xbox One exclusive content, or ensures that games launch at the same time for Xbox as they do on rival consoles. Microsoft has defended its parity clause on multiple occasions, but clearly it's still a proving to be hard bargain for many developers – and Gang Beasts is hardly the first title to have a difficult time with accepting the terms of the parity clause.
Gang Beasts is expected to leave its alpha status behind in the second quarter of 2017, so the idea of launching a new Xbox One version of the game in tandem with its planned PS4 release is a difficult task for such a small studio. One of its co-founders, James Brown, had this to say on the issue:
We have Xbox One dev kits, and we'd love to do Xbox One but because of the parity exemption stuff, it doesn't feel like we can prioritize it. It's absolutely the opposite of what [Microsoft] want, but how can we commit resource until we have approval to release on that platform? It's backwards, it doesn't make sense.
James openly states that he'd love to bring Gang Beasts to as many consoles as possible, but doing so has to be done in a logical way. Optimally, he'd love to get Gang Beasts onto the Xbox platform this year, but adhering to all of the clause's stringent rules while simultaneously developing an open Windows version of the game means a lot of extra work for himself and his two brothers. Aside of this, the exclusive content itself would have to make sense, and not just be an exclusive item for the sake of having one:
It might be that we can give exclusive content, but we don't like the idea of exclusive content unless it's locked to that platform - so if we were to add Sackboy, Nathan Drake or something [into the PS4 version]. Making something exclusive for the sake of it just feels an unnecessary step, even though it would be for a limited time.
Those who own a Nintendo Switch will be happy to hear that Brown would also love to bring Gang Beasts to Nintendo's portable console, though there is plenty of optimization work ahead of the studio if the Switch is to prove a plausible idea. For the time being, both the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch editions of the game are up in the air, and both have different challenges tied to each. For now, it looks like Microsoft will have to lessen its parity clause if Xbox One gamers are ever to see Gang Beasts arrive on the platform.
While there may not be an Xbox One version of the game, Gang Beasts is currently in early access on PC, with expected releases on PC, Linux, and OS X in the near future. PS4 and PSVR releases are slated to arrive later this year.