UK developer Rodeo is in a tricky situation. Here we have a studio responsible for handsome and thinky turn-based mobile games that really make the hardware sweat. Ever played Hunters or Warhammer Quest or, much more recently, Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch? That's Rodeo. I spent 14 hours or thereabouts fixated on Warhammer Quest on my teeny-tiny iPhone 4S screen. Quite how Rodeo got the game running on it in the first place I don't know.
And now, understandably, Rodeo wants to personally take its work to PC (Warhammer Quest was ported by another studio, with average results). The style of games fits, the licenses fit, and the visuals can be fancied-up even more. So what's the problem? App Store pricing. You see, an Enhanced Edition of Deathwatch - a game that seems to have gone down well on iOS (but we haven't reviewed) - launches on Steam today. But whereas it costs £2.29 on iOS, it's £18.99 on PC.
Here's Rodeo co-founder Ben Murch explaining to me, in an email, why: "The biggest reason for the price-tag is the lack of in-app purchases and where we wanted to price the original iOS game. It's such a crazy marketplace at the moment on the App Store. People think that £3.99 for a 14-hour high-end game experience is too costly! Everything is expected to be free with the [attitude of], 'Well if I want to give you money, I might... but probably won't.' Frankly, it's not great.
"We really wanted to put Deathwatch iOS on sale at a premium price, as that's what we feel it's worth. However, knowing that the audience wouldn't buy it like that, we had to chop the game up by putting in in-app purchases for the card packs and having a lower entry price. Which means that for £2.29, you only get a very small section of the full game.
"On PC, all that's been taken out, so players get the experience we originally intended... which we believe is worth the £18.99 price tag."
There's a bit more in package besides that. Deathwatch PC has three exclusive chapters of marines (Dark Angels, Imperial Fists, and Black Templars) as well as "re-vamped or totally overhauled" graphics, as Unreal Engine 4 need not be restricted anymore. Plus it has all the proper, and re-mappable, PC and mouse controls you expect.
Murch told me the Enhanced Edition took four months to make. But will all that be enough? Will people pay £18.99 (currently £17) on Steam, or does the existence of a much cheaper mobile version mess everything up? What do you think?
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