Some news that I'm not particularly happy about. Snapshot Games, which includes X-COM creator Julian Gollop, have announced they've cancelled the Linux version of Phoenix Point.
As a reminder: After having a succesful Fig campaign last year, where they raised well over $750K which went up to over $780K after it finished, Snapshot Games also gained over $1.2 million in pre-orders from their own store. Linux was a platform advertised during their crowdfunding campaign along with it being clearly listed as a platform on their official website's FAQ. They went on to release two backer builds, both of which had Linux support and ran quite well. After spending quite a number of hours in their second backer beta, I was extremely keen for the third build which was expanding the feature-set quite a lot.
I ended up speaking to Snapshot Games, who gave me the news ahead of time so I've had a little time to think about this. Even so, I'm really not happy with the situation.
They put up a dedicated page to talk briefly about it, after I told them not to leave the reasons why up to people's imaginations. Citing reasons like Linux requiring "specialised graphics programming" as it uses OpenGL and not DirectX, they also mentioned that Linux drivers are "not as comprehensive as for Windows and Mac" requiring them to make "adaptations to graphical shaders" to get them working. Additionally, they mentioned the issue of Linux having many distributions, Linux-specific Unity bugs like "not being able to correctly render the video player" and input issues. I won't comment much on those points, since I am not a game developer and so I've no idea how Unity handles different APIs and everything else Unity does. It's clear Unity has had plenty of Linux issues in the past year though.
I consider myself a big fan of Gollop's work, after discovering UFO: Enemy Unknown/X-COM: UFO Defense when I was younger on the Amiga. So when Phoenix Point was announced, I was incredibly excited. I actually put my own money down for their "Luxury Digital Edition" without using their discount code (not exactly cheap) as I wanted to support them. So for me, this stings quite badly.
Hopefully they will properly reconsider this in time. In the grand scheme of things, it's only one game. We do have a lot of strategy games as well, so it's not like it was serving Linux gamers something we have a complete lack of. A very unfinished game too, but it's still not great to have news like this. Disappointing is a wild understatement.
Anyone who backed it for a Linux build, should contact them to seek an immediate refund. I already have and that's not me being malicious, but if they're not currently doing what you paid for, that money should be put to better use. If they do support Linux properly in future, I will likely be the first in line to pick up a copy.
Obviously, it's a reminder that during development anything can happen. When you support crowdfunding, Early Access and so on developers priorities can and very often do change. Although, that can happen after you release a game too like with Human: Fall Flat so it's not something that happens only here. It's also a reminder about being realistic. Sadly, with our current market share developers find it all too easy at times to leave Linux in the dust. There's not a whole lot that actually treat Linux as a first-class citizen outside of dedicated porting studios and individuals. This has happened around 8 times this year now, hopefully next year things will improve. I could argue that 8 games out of well over 1,100 released for Linux this year isn't a lot, but it's still 8 too many for my liking.