Physical indie publisher Super Rare Games has announced a brand new publishing label that will release new Switch titles only available in physical form.
Super Rare Shorts, as it will be known, will soon host a lineup of brand new and original titles released exclusively under the new brand. They'll only be available on Switch – so no, Steam won't get a look in – and they won't even launch on the Switch's eShop. They really will be exclusively available in physical form, with "full cover art and exquisite packaging" completing the package.
The first game to join the lineup is a yet-to-be-announced title from developer Glass Revolver (the studio behind ITTA and House of God). It, and all other titles, will be treated to a month-long pre-order window; 5,000 copies will be printed initially, and any additional orders will be shipped a month after the pre-order window closes.
It sounds like a pretty exciting project, and one which might actually benefit developers in ways you might not expect. To learn all about Shorts and how it all works, we sat down for a quick chat with Super Rare Games lead, George Perkins. Enjoy:
Can you talk a little about how this project got started? How did you get developers on board with a physical-only release when so many games start as digital-only?
Over the last 3.5 years, we have worked with over 50 developers across the world and the saddest part for me was the fact that a lot of the games never ended up being commercially successful - even though they are amazing games. The main reason for this is massive visibility issues for digital indie games, with hundreds of titles coming out every week.
From working on over 50 physical releases, we have managed to really support these developers to help fund their future projects by generating a lot of interest in their titles. From talking to these developers and building genuine relationships with them, we quickly realised that they always have smaller projects they are working on that may never see the light of day or struggle to get an audience. We realised we can help them further by assisting them get more of their work to people who will really enjoy and appreciate it.
A lot of the bigger indie publishers are now only really looking for larger scope titles, so often smaller projects never see the light of day as they might struggle to find funding or reach the right audience. That's where we come in, we are now funding these projects and helping them reach a passionate audience of indie game fans!
By doing this, we can help indie developers actually generate some money to fund themselves for their next projects. We are hoping to become any indie developer's best friend through our support and funding. A lot of these games would never have been released or be noticed by fans if they weren’t sold as physical-only releases.
How many physical-only games do you have on the books at the moment?
We have one which will be coming out in a few months, and then hoping for about 3 next year! We have some incredible developers currently working on projects and we are incredibly excited for them to see the light of day. We are a company completely built on our sincere passion and love for indie games, so a lot of these projects are exciting to me and the team because we will actually be able to play them!
By doing this, we can help indie developers actually generate some money to fund themselves for their next projects. We are hoping to become any indie developer's best friend through our support and funding.
Will there be a limit to copies, like conventional Super Rare games, or will copies be available to match demand?
We will have a month-long pre-order window! We will print 5000 copies ahead of time, so people won’t have to wait for too long, but any orders past that will ship around a month after customers order. It's important to us that fans can get to appreciate the games very soon after ordering!
Would you consider publishing these games digitally if it turned out there was demand?
All the games we work on for Super Rare Shorts will only be available physically. If there was massive demand for a particular game, we could certainly then work on spin-off titles with similar themes. Most of the titles we are working on won’t have a mass market demand, so keeping them physical only is a massively important factor for us as it will get more attention from press and fans than it would if there was a digital release associated with that. This is a sad reality, but you have to evolve to the climate around games, and by creating an amazing, bespoke package with gorgeous art and amazing additional items, is a great way of promoting and marketing an indie game.
In an ideal situation, we wouldn’t need to do this, however marketing a small-scope digital-only indie game is an incredibly unpredictable market space, with it almost always not being commercially viable. We are hoping for Glass Revolver, the first developer we are working with, we will generate as many sales and a higher level of profit for them with this than they received from their previous project, ITTA, which is an absolutely amazing game that I highly recommend. This is important to us as I know the team are working on some incredible stuff at the moment, so being able to help fund their future work is honestly incredible.
Will you be publishing these games yourselves, or will you be one-step removed and just offering physical copy production and distribution?
We are the publisher for these games - this is a very similar deal to that of a normal digital game, just that it's only going to be available as a physical Super Rare Shorts release.
Multiple Shorts games are in development as we speak, and these titles can be anything from original titles made from the ground up, finished version of smaller prototypes, or even more definitive versions of promising but underappreciated games that deserve a second chance.
Do you think this sounds like an intriguing new approach for Super Rare? Will you be first in line to check out the games released under the new label? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.