As has been a regular occurrence lately, Epic Games has announced another solid free video game coming to all of its Epic Games Store (EGS) users, which until now has been a two-week promo for the relatively new storefront. And again, as has become regular, the news came with a confusing crossover with Steam, the mega-tondealer that EGS doesn’t take on so subtly.
Friday’s announcement confirmed that the award-winning puzzle game World of Goowhich launched on PC and Wii in 2008 before reaching other platforms, will be an EGS freebie and other digital download windows starting May 2.
Shortly after Epic’s announcement, a PC Gamer report clarified one important detail: this version of World of Goo includes a major “framework” update with an emphasis on higher resolutions. However, that report didn’t answer whether that update was an EGS-exclusive — the kind of update that requires the game’s existing fans to log into a second storefront and claim a free copy — or when exactly the Steam equivalent will get the update.
“No artificial delay”
In an interview with Ars, World of Goo co-creator Kyle Gabler confirmed that all existing Windows/Mac/Linux versions of the game on storefronts such as Steam and GOG (and developer’s own site 2DBoy) will receive the update “once it’s ready”. Whether that means arriving on May 2 or a few days later depends on “our own ability to generate and test the builds,” Gabler said.
“It’s a free update for everyone – we’re not doing any DLC,” Gabler added. “Timing is just when we can, and there’s no contractual or artificial delay otherwise. We assumed we’d slip this update out without anyone noticing, so we didn’t come up with a fancy plan or anything.”
While World of Goo Having a relatively timeless look thanks to vector-based graphics and cartoon-shaded worlds, the foundation of the original game was built with an expectation of 800×600 resolutions – more in line with the original Wii’s 480p output. As such, 2DBoy seized the game’s EGS launch as an opportunity to “clean up before you invite the neighborhood,” which includes a redesign of all in-game items at twice their native resolution, a completely superseded framework for rendering assets (“you can [now] play the game on modern widescreen displays at any resolution you want”), and quality of life improvements in the Nintendo Switch version.
The original game’s leaderboards will be disabled because 2DBoy’s three-man team ran these leaderboards on their own server and chose to shut it down rather than transfer it to another service. But they seem to make up for it by doing something really cool: removing all encryption for the game’s assets and saving files. “We hope this makes the game more open and friendly to mods,” Gabler told Ars.
So there you have it: Existing owners get some nice perks, and anyone who hasn’t already bought one of the 50 countless versions of the game will soon be able to dive in and see what the World of Goo fun runs absolutely free, even on their favorite widescreen, 21:9 monitors, if they so choose. It’s certainly a change of pace from the last time 2DBoy spoke publicly about people playing the game for free – the developer revealed in 2008 a staggering 90% piracy rate on the DRM-free version of the game.