Julian Gollop, creator of X-COM and CEO of Snapshot Games, praises the Epic Games Store and says it’s great for independent games compared to Steam.
Already in 1994 Mythos-Spiele published the first ones XCOM Game, X-COM: UFO Defense with Julian Gollop as lead developer and programmer alongside brother Nick Gollop. They followed these efforts XCOM: Apocalypse in 1997. Mythos Games closed its doors in 2001, with Gollop eventually working at various companies including Ubisoft, and the XCOM franchise went on an extended hiatus.
The first game in the franchise was eventually re-released as XCOM: Enemy unknown in 2012 by Firaxis Games under publisher 2K Games. A sequel entitled XCOM2, was released in 2016. Both games were well received by fans and critics and sold well for the company. However, they were created without the participation of Julian Gollop. In 2013, Gollop co-founded a company called Snapshot Games. In 2016, the developer unveiled a new game called phoenix pointwhich was marketed as a spiritual successor to the original X-COM: UFO Defense and partially funded through crowdfunding efforts. Unfortunately, the 2019 release was somewhat controversial.
In late 2018, Epic Games launched its own digital storefront called the Epic Games Store and was arguably the first real competition Steam had encountered. The company then began courting other publishers by offering exclusivity incentives and a larger share of the game’s in-store earnings. However, Epic Games Store exclusive contracts remain controversial among gamers. Snapshot Games phoenix point was a game that took one of those deals, signing a year-long exclusivity deal with the then-new digital storefront. The company was reportedly paid an additional $2.25 million by Epic Games for the deal, and it’s a decision Julian Gallop is defending to this day.
In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Julian Gallop defended the decision to enter into the year-long exclusivity deal with Epic Games. During the interview, he spoke about the early days of Epic Store promotions and the animosity towards them. Much of the hostility has had to do with the Chinese spyware conspiracy theories, a reference to the China-based multinational conglomerate Tencent, which owns around 40% of Epic Games. He then went on to praise the storefront, saying that it had been great for independent studios and how the company’s money had helped the quality of the game itself. His statement is below:
“When we launched our Epic exclusivity – those were the very early days of Epic Store promotion – yes, there was a lot of animosity. And also many conspiracy theories about it. All Chinese spyware and all the rest of it. Obviously that’s leveled off a bit, and Epic has indeed been great for a lot of indies. It was obviously another way to get funding, which is very, very difficult to get from an indie studio. So overall it was very positive for Phoenix Point itself. We had extra money that we would put into developing the game that we didn’t have otherwise. So it really helped the quality of the game itself, helped us release it sooner rather than later, and allowed us to put more content in it, so it’s been good.”
phoenix point was finally released on December 3, 2019 on the Epic Games Store. At the time of its release, it received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with some negative comparisons XCOM: Enemy unknown and its continuation. The game was eventually released on Steam a year later, with a version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One announced in 2021 XCOM Franchise released another installment titled XCOM: Chimera Squad but seems to have taken another break. Developer Firaxis Games is currently working flat out on it Marvel’s Midnight Sons and there is no telling when they will release another installment in the XCOM Franchise.
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Source: PC Gamers