Non-Service Games

aka regular-ass games.

It is interesting how my perception of games has shifted in the many years we have been living under a “Games as Service” model. Cosmetics, DLC, loot boxes, and all the other myriad monetization strategies nefariously cooked up by black hat economists are just the way things are now. The one little light left in Pandora’s box is that of updates. The suits want to keep engagement high to keep the cash spigot on, so they task the devs with fiddling with all the knobs. Sometimes that ends up making things worse, sometimes maliciously so (e.g. adding time-sinks). But sometimes it works out, and on the player side, hey, at least it seems like someone cares about what’s happening.

Cue my surprise and disappointment and surprise at my disappointment at learning a recent game purchase is… done. Finished. Complete.

Fate Hunters is neat little deckbuilding roguelike I bought for $3.74. The visuals are like Darkest Dungeon, the gameplay is kinda like Slay the Spire, but honestly it plays more like Dominion. There is zero plot, and you only accumulate gold to purchase permanent unlocks if you make it past a boss and retire your deck. Oh, and gold is represented by Treasure cards in your deck, so the more you hoard, the more you dilute your deck. There is no energy, so you basically get to play as many cards as you can (Treasure cards notwithstanding). It is the most arcade-like roguelike I have ever played, but it’s engaging just the same.

It is also “abandoned.”

We finished the game and did almost everything we planned. But there will be no new patches and sequels.


“The devs are done with the game? Can they even do that?!” Fate Hunters actually plays pretty well – I did not encounter anything remotely close to a significant bug. There are some eyebrow-raising balance issues and some card tweaks that would make everything smoother IMO. The thought that nothing will happen with the game anymore though? It feels like I was duped. As though any game I purchase must have full dev support for at least the length of time I play it, lest it be abandonware. If you aren’t Terraria or No Man’s Sky, who even are you?

Well, you’re a regular-ass game from any time 20+ years ago.

[Fake Edit:] I was digging around and found out that the devs are making a new game that looks exactly the same gameplay-wise… but worse, graphically. It’s in Early Access and is called Dreamgate. On their FAQ thread, they mention:

Do you have experience in developing and releasing a game in Steam?

Our team has been developing games for over 7 years and our last game was Fate Hunter. But unfortunately, we could not continue to develop this game, because the rights to it did not belong to our team.

Based on our past experience, we decided to release our own game, the rights to which belong to us fully and which we could develop as we see fit.

So, there it is. Of course, they also mentioned in another post that they are a 2-man team and “this is not our main project” so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Caveat emptor and all that.

[Real Edit:] WTF. How many done games am I going to be buying?! Just found out about Griftlands:

At this time we don’t have any plans for more Griftlands content or DLC. That being said, who knows? I don’t like to ever say we absolutely won’t do more for a game because that often turns out to be not totally true, but at least for now we don’t have any plans.


Maybe devs don’t actually like deckbuilding games? Don’t Starve and Oxygen Not Included are both Klei games that have/are getting paid DLC and ongoing support and tweaks. Scandalous!

Posted on June 29, 2021, in Commentary, Impressions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Maybe I’m not the target demographic, but I see a pattern of never really being excited for a patch or update, unless it fixes a bug I am experiencing.

    I probably leave the (non-MMO) games so soon that I never really tire of the current content, or I leave it so early that the patch/update wouldn’t fix it. I guess the last time I was excited for a new patch was in the 90s while playing Quake…


    • That’s a pretty good point. If you end up spending 20-50 hours playing a particular game to completion, even at something like 5 hours/week, chances are you won’t ever see a patch go live unless it’s around the game’s launch.

      For myself though, I am definitely a target audience for patches. While sometimes it results in my strategy/class getting nerfed, I am typically never committed to one particular thing anyway, and so something else getting buffed gets the optimization juices flowing.

      On the other hand, even when I’m “done” with a game, patches can sometimes bring me back. For example, in MMOs, in games like No Man’s Sky, and so on.


      • I think I forgot one category, I have been regularly coming back for Diablo 3’s seasons, but again I don’t think I’ve been either eagerly awaiting nor taking advantage of the “new stuff”. Guess for me it would’ve been enough if they had seeded 20 sets of parameters like which armor for which class, some special affixes and whatnot, and coded that in to have a “new thing” every 3 months for the next years. Maybe I’m simply easy to please if the game itself is good… I don’t know, maybe a little jealous to lose out on being excited for new stuff ;)

        On the other hand the “big auction house removal patch” and the expansion definitely brought me back, so maybe D3 is a bit of an outlier anyway.


  2. “Cue my surprise and disappointment and surprise at my disappointment at learning a recent game purchase is… done. Finished. Complete.”

    I’ve been doing it a while but only consciously really took note of the thought process behind it recently — when contemplating buying a game, one of the first things I look at is the update history—frequency, how recently, etc.

    If I can’t see signs of life in this respect, it *greatly* diminishes the likelihood I’ll pick up the game.

    And yep… I’ve found myself being disappointed when a game I own ceased development…. Even if it was an EA title I was explicitly putting on hold ‘until it was done’.

    Who needs logic, I guess.


    • Yeah, when it happens to Early Access games, it’s an extra punch in the gut for some reason. Perhaps because updates and communication are (hopefully!) more frequent as the devs push towards release.

      Maybe I have just been spoiled by the devs who have updated their game consistently over the years for free, like Terraria and such.


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