The Iterative Digest #84
Not E3! Games, games, games! Getting the most out of your Steam Page and more!
Hello and welcome to issue #84 of the Digest! What a week! Not E3 Season has kicked off and we were delivered a ton of new games to obsess over! We saw a lot of June showcases bring exciting new announcements and extended gameplay for us to enjoy over the next 12 months.
So without further ado, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s latest - curated by yours truly! If you like what you see, don’t forget to share and subscribe; your support means a lot to us. Have a great week!
Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest arrived and gave us a look at a ton of new game announcements including a Last of Us Remake, Aliens Dark Descent, Goat Simulator 3, Fort Solis, and Layers of Fear 3, to name a few. We also got to see extended gameplay of titles such as Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and The Callisto Protocol.
Microsoft announced ‘Project Moorcroft,’ a program that will see demos of upcoming games being made available to Xbox Game Pass Members. Participating developers will be able to track how their demos perform and be compensated for their work while reaching new audiences with Game Pass.
Xbox + Bethesda’s Showcase showed the power of Xbox Game Pass with 50 games listed for Xbox and PC over the 12 months, with a staggering 43 titles coming to the service. Some notable titles added later this year include High On Life, Scorn, Somerville, Gunfire Reborn, and Persona 5 Royal.
During Xbox’s Showcase, we discovered that the much anticipated Overwatch 2 will be released on October 4th in early access as a free-to-play title. The game, set to release on PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Switch, also took the opportunity to show off its newest tank hero, a ruthless Australian-born Junker Queen.
To close out the showcase we got an extended gameplay look at Bethesda’s long-awaited space RPG Starfield, demonstrating the depth of the game through its promise of flyable, customizable ships as well as the ability to visit a 100 star systems with more than 1,000 different planets. We also got to see highly customizable character customization, craftable weapons, weapon modifications, and player bases. Starfield releases 2023.
In fun fact news, Game Freak originally wanted the first Pokémon game to have 65,000 variations instead of just two. How it was planned to work was that a trainer would be assigned a number between 1 and 65,000, which would change which Pokémon appeared as well as the shape of certain forests.
With Steam Next Fest kicked off, we thought it would be a great time to discuss how to get the most out of your game’s Steam Page. There are a few things that are worth considering from the very beginning, beyond what Steam asks you to include:
When should I create my Steam page? Great question! Your Steam page should be up the moment a game is announced to the public unless your intent is to tease the game with only a small amount of information and a teaser trailer. You want to be able to synchronize the announcement to the public with your Steam page so users have a place to go and check details (aside from the website) as soon as possible. By not doing this, you run the risk of the Steam algorithm not picking up and nobody caring about your exciting new game, as well as users not having the ability to wishlist when the game has just been announced.
Help! They can’t understand my Steam page! When creating a Steam page, it’s crucial that you take note of the importance of clear and concise language. Your description needs to clearly explain what the game is and its hook/unique selling point. This is sometimes the player’s first glimpse into the game, so you want that first impression to matter. When writing for the “About this game” section, you want to start with the big stuff and work your way down, including verbs and visual language, finishing with a strong hook, and if the theme of your game allows it, be original! If this doesn’t work, try the three-steps structure, where the first sentence is a really short description of what the game is, the second sentence is what you can expect, and the third sentence is the hook. Make sure to tag your game correctly as this informs players about particular features of your game. Finally, don’t forget to localize your game if possible, as less than 1/3 of Steam users select English as a primary language.
Is my trailer ready for Steam? Trailers are an invaluable piece of marketing that you should consider having on your Steam Page from the start. What defines a good trailer depends largely on the type of game you’re making, but you should always keep in consideration that a trailer shouldn’t be too long. It should be fast-paced and structured to give players an idea of what your game is like and leave them with the feeling “I want to play this, it looks amazing!”
What assets should I prioritize? You want to get to the front page right? Get a ton of fresh eyeballs on the game you’ve been making? Then you need to key art for your game to stand out. Having a great main capsule with an awesome logo and beautiful art is important, especially when it comes to sizing. Players may see your game’s art through a tiny box, so it’s important that it’s always legible. But good looks are only half the battle! The game’s images need to convey what your game is about and the experience that it will deliver. Its screenshots must demonstrate the gameplay loop/interface simply. Finally, take into consideration Steam’s sizing for graphical assets listed here.
How important is the Publisher page? The publisher page on Steam can be a useful tool to showcase all past products in the same place, as well as upcoming releases, social media links, and more. Sometimes it can make sense to drive traffic to the publisher’s page, such as sales, announcements, and other cross promotion. Having a place for these titles can benefit each game individually, so it’s important to consider it as an addition to help boost your Steam page further.
Hopefully, this has given you a clearer understanding as well as some tips to help improve your Steam Page! For more information visit the Gamesindustry article, How to Get the Most out of Your Game’s Steam Page and leave any questions you may have below!
Nemesis: Distress is a unique multiplayer sci-fi horror experience that aims at creating unforgettable, cinematic moments. This is not a shooter; in nemesis you are the PREY. The game has shooter and survival elements and will be dropping on Steam.
Frozenheim is a serene Norse city builder game that offers management mechanics with multiple progression trees to manage as you maintain and expand your settlement blended with real-time strategy tactical combat. Build, survive, sail, explore, and conquer when the game launches on Steam.
Oxide Room 104 is a bone-chilling body horror game with escape room gameplay and action. Abducted, at the mercy of a ruthless scientist, and stalked by a horrible creature you must try to escape using common sense, just as you would in real life. The game is set to launch on most platforms.
Cameron - Xbox + Bethesda FanFest (Melbourne)
This week I was very fortunate to be invited to the Xbox & Bethesda Fanfest event in Melbourne, where we were able to watch trailers, gameplay, and reveals on the big screen! Fanfest events were held in Los Angeles, Madrid, Ontario, and Melbourne with a few hundred fans invited to attend in-person events.
Upon arriving, we received an Xbox beanie and Xbox blanket sweatshirt to warm ourselves up from the cold, wet weather outside. Larry Hyrb (Major Nelson) and Rae Johnston hosted the event counting down to a 95-minute showcase of titles coming to Xbox over the next 12 months. Out of the games shown, a massive 43 titles will be hitting Game Pass on day one, further demonstrating the value proposition of the service.
Afterward, there were giveaways, game demos, photos with Larry, and catering that we got to enjoy as we discussed our most anticipated titles. High On Life and Redfall are standouts for me with some notable indie experiences like Cocoon, The Last Case of Benedict Fox, and Ravenlok being added to the wishlist.
Thank you to XboxANZ for the awesome experience and unforgettable night. For anyone that hasn't yet, definitely check out the Xbox + Bethesda showcase for some awesome upcoming titles!
Kelsey - Banished
One game that’s drawn me back in during these unpredictable, pandemic-laden times is Banished by Shining Rock Software. It’s from 2014 but holds up just fine, and there are beaucoup mods to spice it up if that’s your thing.
In the game, you start with a few families and supplies (the number of which depends on whether you want to play easy, medium, or hard mode) and a few houses. From there, you have to build your town and help your villagers survive the harsh winters and (hopefully) prosperous summers while expanding your population.
Which do you prioritize first? Food or clothing? Firewood or tools? The choices start to pile up quickly.
Your villagers can all take on jobs as laborers, builders, or specialists as you assign. You immediately have a lot you need to balance in order to ensure your town’s survival, but once you know what you’re doing, it feels good to cross things off your mental checklist, accomplishing so much while sitting in one place... during a global pandemic... alone in your house.
Ok, that got a little dark.
Anyway, Banished has plenty of curve balls to throw you, but at the same time, the experience of playing is one that is, at least once you get the hang of it, quite soothing. It feels good to watch your residents live well-fed, warmly dressed, well-educated lives. It’s fun to keep track of growing families and to watch your town flourish and expand. You get to rely on your own resiliency and careful planning... or fall victim to the lack of them.
While it does get stressful when disaster strikes or your population outpaces your food supply, in the end, it’s a pretty relaxing game—especially because you know you can make a difference and you can see that difference, easily defined and quantified, being made right in front of you in real-time. That sort of validation is something that’s been lost in the shuffle for a lot of us lately, but Banished can provide it in small, pixelated doses for those in need of a little boost while we do what we can to stay safe and navigate the uncertainty of the real world around us.
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We are The Iterative Collective - an indie games incubator & publisher! Each week, we shed light on the latest gaming trends for all folks interested in the scene by going through a summary of the latest news from the industry as well as promising upcoming game releases! Click to learn more about us below!