Ashen Developer Says Xbox Game Pass Is Going to Be a Double Edged Sword for Smaller Indies

Alessio Palumbo

In an interview published on The Sydney Morning Herald this week, Aurora44 CEO Derek Bradley discussed how Xbox Game Pass was a perfect fit for Ashen, the studio's debut game.

There are certain games that really make a lot of sense for early access, and certain games that make a lot of sense for free-to-play, but I would say more than anything Ashen really makes a lot of sense for a Game Pass release.

We want that healthy player base so that the pool of players that are getting collated in the background and matched into your game is as rich as possible.

The friction for getting into Game Pass is so low. We’re a new developer making a fairly ambitious thing, and we really need that community for the game to thrive, and Game Pass really made that happen. We’ve had a very very smooth transition into a Game Pass kind of model.

In the same interview, however, Bradley also pointed out that Xbox Game Pass could also be a double-edged sword of sorts for some indie studios if they struggle to be picked up for it.

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It’s going to be a double-edged sword, especially for smaller indies that haven’t necessarily proved themselves. It’s going to be some tricky waters for the smallest indies, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how the different platforms tackle the same problems.

Ashen is a great option if you're into Souls-like games, according to Francesco's review.

Ashen is a very good action-adventure game sporting interesting lore, good character development, and solid gameplay features like combat and exploration. Unfortunately, the game does almost nothing to separate its gameplay loop from the one seen in the Dark Souls series and therefore ultimately feels like a lite version of the series developed by From Software. The well-made overall experience does make it easy to look past this issue, but if you're looking for something innovative, you won't find it here.

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