Ska Studios strikes Steam
Punk rock beat-’em-up Charlie Murder went underappreciated when it launched nearly four years ago. The Xbox One was on the horizon and the Summer of Arcade program kind of felt like an afterthought at that point. This was long before anyone knew backward compatibility was a possibility (actually, Microsoft insisted it was impossible at the time) and it seemed like consumers were hesitant to buy games for a system they soon wouldn’t play anymore.
Against all odds, Charlie Murder is finding new life on PC, Mac, and Linux sometime in the near future. A Steam page popped up recently that lists its release date as “pretty dang soon.” We spoke with Ska’s Michelle Juett Silva and she elaborated that the studio’s aiming for an April launch and that a date should be set in the coming weeks.
Charlie Murder won’t be the only Ska title coming to PC in the near future. A Steam page for The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile also appeared with the same “pretty dang soon” designation. Both games have never appeared on platforms other than Xbox 360.
Silva also told us that the ports are being handled mostly by Ethan Lee, a developer who seems to specialize in bringing games to new platforms. Lee has helped with ports of Fez, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Transistor, Rogue Legacy, and many other well-known games. Ska and Lee already have a working relationship, as he assisted with the Mac and Linux ports of Salt and Sanctuary last summer.
Curiously, the Steam pages for both games list Ska Studios as the publisher rather than Microsoft Studios. This, along with Lee’s involvement, seemingly indicates that Ska was able to wrangle them free from any exclusivity agreements that were most likely in place. Either that or some sort of timed-exclusivity recently expired. Whichever it is, it seems Ska has full control of these two games on non-Microsoft platforms.
And, it’s to those platforms that you’ll have to look if you want to play these titles on current machines. Despite Xbox One’s backward compatibility program boasting 300-some games, none of them are from Ska Studios. What’s more, there’s no indication that they’ll be added anytime in the near future. The entirety of Ska’s library (save for Salt and Sanctuary) is confined to a console that’s more or less dead; with these imminent PC releases, they’ll be revitalized for a new audience on a platform that’s likely to be relevant for decades to come.