There’s a famous quote by Bruce Campbell, “The weird thing about indies is that they are not released – they escape.” What he said is ambiguous but what he clearly meant was that indie projects take a long time to complete.
I remember almost a decade ago at Midwest Gaming Classic 2006 when Dan Loosen of Goat Store Publishing announced 12 new commercial indie titles. To date, only one of the 12 titles have seen the light of day, with many being cancelled, though some, like Age of the Beast, are still actively in development.
So if you are a seasoned indie gamer, you might already know that release dates mean nothing. Though delays are more understandable with indie developers, mainly because their work on the project is usually carried out in their spare time as most developers have full-time jobs.
With the introduction out of the way, 2013 started off as a very promising year for the Dreamcast. In the above video, GagaMan states that we had seven games in development, though I will actually be discussing 10 games. Let’s start with the ones that escaped – Dux 1.5 and Sturmwind.
Almost immediately after the release of Dux, a free revision disc was announced as the game had been released with a scoring bug. While it seemed like an easy fix, it took several years for the patched game to see the light of day. Forum gossip suggested that there was a royalty dispute between Hucast and programmers KTX Software that lead to the delay, though it is more likely that Rene Hellwig was simply busy with NG:Dev.Team.
Dux 1.5 was formally announced, bundled exclusively with Redux: Dark Matters Limited Edition, in addition to bug fixes, the ability to instantly respawn was added along with a remixed soundtrack. The tentative release date was December 2012 though delays in development for Redux: Dark Matters constantly kept pushing Dux 1.5 further as well.
In February 2013, Hucast sparked mild controversy when they decided to give Dux 1.5 a standalone release, as it angered consumers who ordered Redux: Limited Edition specifically for Dux 1.5.
Dux 1.5 stand alone was postponed for 2 months, finally releasing on April 22nd 2013. Previous owners of Dux were given a free revision disc as long as they paid for shipping.
On May 28, 2013, Hucast shocked the community by releasing a limited edition of Dux 1.5 that featured alternate box art and came with the official soundtrack on CD.
Lastly, on Oct. 14, 2013, Hucast announced Dux 1.5 Jewel Case Edition, which featured an alternate hand drawn box art by Senile Team’s Roel Van Mastbergen and was successfully released on Nov. 1, 2013.
Dux 1.5 was not only the first game released for Dreamcast in 2013, it was also the most prolific one with three separate releases. Ironically, Redux: Dark Matters Limited Edition did not come out in 2013, hence early birds were unable to play Dux 1.5 last year. Nonetheless, reviews for Dux 1.5 have been favorable with many stating that it is the best game in the trilogy (of remakes).
Sturmwind has such a rich history, and it is a daunting task to even briefly summarize all the milestones that it has accomplished. For starters, the game was revealed nationally on German television show Neus by Dreamcast-Scene and Redspotgames proprietor Max Scharl. To add on to the hype, developer Duranik launched an open beta test for the game in Q1 2011 and was fairly liberal with mailing demo disks to testers – something that is not common in the indie scene these days.
Perhaps Sturmwind’s biggest milestone was that it is the first and, so far only, indie game to be promoted by SEGA employees. Lastly, Sturmwind is the first commercial Dreamcast game to make use of the homebrew SD card that allowed players to take in-game screenshots, record replays and hopefully play downloadable content in the near future.
Sturmwind was originally announced for Q2 2011, though it was postponed for a Nov. 11, 2011, release due to feedback Duranik received from the open beta test. Unfortunately, Redspotgames was slammed with multiple production problems that forced the game to be delayed repeatedly.
However, Duranik took advantage of every delay and continued to polish the game until the last second. The official release date for Sturmwind was April 24, 2013, though Redspotgames dropped the ball with distribution, and retailers, alongside consumers, had to wait at least a month before they received the game. Duranik worked with the publisher to address many complaints, and it took three months to meet all the complaints, though a few consumers still post on Redspotgames Facebook timeline claiming they haven’t received their copy of Sturmwind.
With all the production drama aside, anyone who has had an opportunity to play Sturmwind probably agrees it was well worth the wait. Critically, Sturmwind is not only the highest rated indie game or shooter, it’s one of the highest rated Dreamcast game period. If you own the Dreamcast, you owe it to yourself to play Sturmwind.
See the difference launch trailer 2013
Stay tuned for next week when we look at all the games that didn’t escape.