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Snapshot Games have cancelled the Linux version of Phoenix Point

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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.

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125 comments
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Leopard 9 November 2018 at 7:08 pm UTC
QuoteCiting 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.

Such a bullshit.

1-) There is also no DirectX on Mac as well. Either OGL or Metal.

2-) Linux drivers are not comprehensive. Hmmm. So we are delusional after all ; since i can run Shadow Of Mordor , HITMAN ( OGL ) , Ryse Son of Rome , Witcher 3, Doom 2016 on my system. Probably that is just me being delusional.
Expalphalog 9 November 2018 at 7:12 pm UTC
Ok, this one hurts.
Nevertheless 9 November 2018 at 7:15 pm UTC
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Very sad! I asked for refund too of course.
Leopard 9 November 2018 at 7:16 pm UTC
ShmerlUnity and Unreal are using shaders in HLSL and then compile them to whatever target like DXBC or SPIR-V or translate into GLSL if I understand correctly. Their shader translators and compilers had some problems in the past. Remember how many problems Everspace had until they were ready to release the Linux version? So while engines are improving, it doens't mean they are hassle free.

I can't really evaluate what issues developers encountered in this case with the engine, but at least their comment about multiple distros is not convincing. However their point about requiring OpenGL expertise is correct. If they don't have OpenGL/Vulkan experts and can't afford them - too bad really. Gaming company should have them.

Then which graphics api they use on Mac? Probably Metal. Is it really possible that so many Metal experts around? I don't think so.
TemplarGR 9 November 2018 at 7:19 pm UTC
PatolaThese are heartbreaking sad news. However, it must be noted that some of their "bullsh*t" arguments might not be complete bullsh*t. Like the need to support different distributions: Yeah, in theory you could just support Ubuntu and be ok with that, but it doesn't work in practice: linuxers from other distributions -- at least some of them -- demand equal treatment. It's not "toxicity", these users might even be very polite and willing to help, but each extra distribution is an enormous burden to bear for the audience. Maybe the developers get so much feedback on that that they feel having an unified linux build is an impossible task.

No, it is bullshit. No one, EVER supports a distribution. They support a certain set of libraries, like SDL2. If they make a port that is properly working on Ubuntu, chances are it can work on any other distro, either out of the box or with some tinkering. Most people who use non-ubuntu distros are typically linux-savvy so they tend to fix any compatibility issues by themselves. Archlinux has a whole wiki page dedicated to game workarounds in order to make them work on Arch, and those workarounds typically work for any distro.

Most Linux users will only complain if a linux port is beyond broken and can never work even in future versions of Ubuntu... But this happens rarely these days.

This is just a bullshit excuse. No game on Linux has ever officially supported anything other than Ubuntu, or SteamOS which is essentially a customized Ubuntu. And this has never been a problem outside of a few specific broken ports.
Apparition_B5 9 November 2018 at 7:23 pm UTC
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This is one of the main reasons why I no longer support crowdfunding video games beyond the first tier. I'll pledge to a video game crowdfunding campaign to get developer updates and show the developer that I have interest in the game, but I'll wait to actually buy the game after it releases.
PlayX 9 November 2018 at 7:24 pm UTC
Patola..or SteamOS which is essentially a customized Ubuntu.

SteamOS has nothing to do with Ubuntu


Last edited by PlayX at 9 November 2018 at 7:24 pm UTC
Shmerl 9 November 2018 at 7:34 pm UTC
LeopardThen which graphics api they use on Mac? Probably Metal. Is it really possible that so many Metal experts around? I don't think so.

Good point. If they hired one, they should have hired one for Linux as well.
stretch611 9 November 2018 at 7:35 pm UTC
I'm shocked that they just didn't say that they would only be supporting "Steam Play" for linux users.
Leopard 9 November 2018 at 7:48 pm UTC
stretch611I'm shocked that they just didn't say that they would only be supporting "Steam Play" for linux users.

Yes.

Intent is clear. Zero support effort yet game will work in Proton.

If Proton was available for Mac , situation will be the same.
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