Depending on who you ask, early access is either the best or worst tool for smaller game developers. On the one hand, devs get a chance to put their game in front of an audience. This allows them to more accurately gauge interest and polish mechanics. On the other hand, many devs have put out projects too early. Long before they are ready to stand-up to the scrutiny of a paying audience. So when developer and self-proclaimed perfectionist, Tim Conkling was ready to show off his turn-based strategy game, Antihero he wanted to keep things a little more guarded.
“I’m super-paranoid about getting everything just right before my work goes out to the public… though as a game designer and software developer, I’m worried about not getting enough eyeballs on a game before it launches, and having it fall on its face,” Conkling wrote in an update on the Antihero blog last December.
To that end, Conkling arranged for Antihero to have a limited release on itch.io First Access. This is itch.io’s indie only response to Steam Early Access. By limiting access to the number of copies available for purchase, the team was able to keep servers steady and troubleshoot any degenerate strategies the playtesters dreamed up.
“We chose to launch Antihero First Access on Itch instead of Steam because Itch is a much lower-profile platform — we don’t want the world at large to hear about early access, so that we can save up our PR juice and make a bigger splash when the game hits (version) 1.0.”
Ye Old Murder And Mayhem
Leaning heavily on traditional tabletop mechanics, Antihero puts players in charge of building and running their own Victorian-era thieves’ guild. The game features multiple modes of play. This includes live PvP matches and slower-paced asynchronous gameplay on top of a story-driven, single player campaign. It also looks stylish as hell.
Antihero just released on Steam and this week players get a 10% discount on the game. Bookish types will also be delighted to learn that there’s a DLC character pack that adds four extra Master Thief skins based on popular literary characters.