Team Meat on Microsoft: “We Felt Very Confused and Taken Advantage Of”
Team Meat, the developers behind Super Meat Boy, went through a lot to get their game out the door and onto the 360 and PC. The game doesn't really reflect the desperate rush and obstacles they surmounted, though--it's a refined, polished, and expansive platformer. But Team Meat says the job wasn't easy, and Microsoft didn't make it any easier.
In the new issue of Game Developer Magazine, the pair that make up Team Meat, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, discuss the challenges they faced and the trouble that working with Microsoft caused them. It seems Microsoft wanted Super Meat Boy out two months ahead of schedule, in time for their Game Feast promotion, which would presumably get the game a ton of attention. “I would work and fix 100 bugs in a night and get it down to 50, then wake up the next morning and have 200 bugs to fix,” said McMillen about the crunch to get the game out.
But while the rush didn't harm the quality of the game, it ended up being a wasted effort. “The biggest mistake we made during SMB's development was killing ourselves to get into a promotion we would gain basically nothing from,” said McMillen, who claims that Microsoft short-shafted them once they saw the game. "We were told our price was too high, our visuals too rough and simply not as eye catching and flashy as the other Game Feast games Comic Jumper and Hydrophobia. Our hearts sank when we were informed that we were projected to sell as much if not less than Hydrophobia, which would be the second-highest grossing game of the Feast in their minds."
This story isn't the first of its kind. Microsoft is developing a reputation for souring the development experience for indie devs. Just last week, the developers of Machinarium spoke of a "quite bad experience with Microsoft." Before that, Introversion revealed they didn't want to work with Microsoft again after the development of Darwinia+.
If Microsoft has any hope of bringing daring and fresh games to their marketplace, they might want to stop ruining their relationships with these smaller devs. They might also want to fire whoever said that Super Meat Boy wasn't as eye-catching as Hydrophobia.