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Justin Roiland on Why High on Life Came to Game Pass (and How That Will Help Make Future Games)

High on Life creator and Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland appeared on the Xbox Podcast last week.
Roiland explained that he did research on how Game Pass would help make the new game, and help his studio work on future projects.
High on Life has had one of the biggest launches in Game Pass history since its release on December 13.
In a recent episode of the Xbox Podcast, High on Life creator Justin Roiland joined Larry Hryb, Xbox’s Major Nelson, and explained why he chose to join the Game Pass line-up after having done “a lot of research” on the service.

“Before we decided to pull the trigger on it, I spoke with a handful of other studio folks who did Game Pass,” Roiland explained. “And I ultimately came to the conclusion based off of what I had heard that it is– it’s a value-add. Because essentially, there’s a lot of people that would otherwise not have picked up the game and played it.

“And those people, if you believe in what you’ve made, and you really you feel confident that you’ve made something special, or different– and we do with our game– those folks can become evangelists in a way for the title.”

We announced yesterday that High on Life has become Xbox Game Pass’ biggest launch of 2022, the biggest 3rd party Game Pass launch of all time, and the biggest release of a single player-only game in the service’s history.

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Community543d ago
Lightning77544d ago (Edited 544d ago )

"Because essentially, there’s a lot of people that would otherwise not have picked up the game and played it."

A lot of folks told me that non-Game Pass games that they ship versus Game Pass games, [they get] 7x sales.”

That's impressive to say the least. Very impressive. We're talking actually sales not just players either.

Exposure+ play time = profit. Plus digital sales that weren't on gamepass were apparently really good as well. 60$ is a very hard pill to swallow for me personally. Like I said the gameplay is just not doing it for me personally but I'll try and finish it.

Also. This game was the biggest gamepass launch ever. It makes you think, how will Starfield perform? Surely this game HAS to outdo this game?

Orchard544d ago

The 7x statistic is interesting, people think GP reduces game sales, but it actually has the opposite effect - we've heard that from multiple developers now. Also, their future games will be GP games by the sounds of it.

I fully expect SF to break its record though, SF is a massive, massive game, probably the biggest to launch Day 1 on GP.

Lightning77543d ago

If marketed properly SF could see tremendous engagement and surpass High On Life. Especially if the game lives up to the hype.

mkis007543d ago (Edited 543d ago )

So then why are not all games launching on game pass if it's such a slam dunk? Seems it would be no brainer if that were true and not just a tricky marketing ploy.

How do you even compare the same games sales? Comparing 2 different games one on gp and one not isnt going to give accurate metrics.

ChubbyBlade543d ago

Oh silly Orchard. Haven’t you learned yet? Unless you’re bashing anything Microsoft does you can expect a wave of disagrees.

Almost as if some people treat their console of choice like some kind of holy relic not to be besmirched by the mention of the hideous green X that burns it like holy water.

shinoff2183543d ago (Edited 543d ago )

It's probably more hit or miss. Rather then dude put your game on gamepass and it'll blow up.


3rd party sales are probably down cause they don't buy games all like that. These guys at work only talk about gamepass games. I bet alot just don't buy games anymore.

darthv72543d ago (Edited 543d ago )

@mkis... the simplest answer is, its up to the devs/pubs to make that decision. Obviously the more games the better, but it also comes with the risk that the more game the less likely people will see it. So in essence it is like netflix where some content gets more exposure through word of mouth and ranking while others go under the radar or only seen by a very niche audience.

In either case, the content creators are guaranteed a chance at making extra $$ on top of what they are contracted to receive up front. And this is due to the eventual removal of that content and the last marketing push to sell to those who can get it for a discount before its removed and placed in the regular digital store.

Gamepass has helped more than its hurt, there is no denying that as even big outfits like square have attested to. Im not even sure if there has been a report from a game creator that said putting their game on GP was a mistake. Maybe there is but I dont remember one.

Elda543d ago

If that were true most big newly anticipated to play A AA multiplats would be on GP but they're not. Most current games that land on GP are Indies & some AA titles like High On Life. Though I will admit GP is getting some interesting AA games in 2023 like Wo Long,Lies Of P & Atomic Heart.

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CBaoth543d ago ShowReplies(2)
Tacoboto543d ago

The game was the third biggest Game Pass launch ever (behind Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, I'd imagine), but it was the biggest third-party GP launch.

Haven't played it yet myself (wrapping up another game) but I'm very much looking forward to starting it soon

PS_HCT543d ago

It was "the biggest 3rd party Game Pass launch of all time,"
Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 are both 1st party.
It is "Xbox Game Pass’ biggest launch of 2022,"
So between game pass launch and Dec 31st 2021, two 3rd party games had bigger launches.
So is this xbox spin and game pass numbers falling? ☺

Well done to Justin Roiland and the team.

Tacoboto543d ago

Huh, PS?

Yeah, Halo and FH5 are 1st party, and yes too to High on Life being both the biggest 3rd party launch and 3rd biggest overall launch on Game Pass, as well as the biggest 2022 launch. But it wasn't the biggest launch ever.

"two 3rd party games had bigger launches" doesn't make any sense here. Nothing about spin or numbers either. Just a clarification and yes, very well done to the team at Squanch for what's being very well received by the Xbox community.

PS_HCT543d ago

Where did they say "3rd biggest overall launch on Game Pass"? I didn't see that bit

Tacoboto543d ago

It was part of the original announcement Xbox themselves made.

PS_HCT543d ago

Found the Xbox post from 20th Dec.
"High on Life Is Xbox Game Pass’ Biggest 2022 Launch, and the Biggest 3rd Party Game Pass Launch Ever"
"High On Life is the biggest Game Pass release of 2022, the biggest 3rd party launch in Game Pass history, and the biggest single-player game launch on Game Pass ever. "

So that does mean that between game pass launch and Dec 31st 2021, two 3rd party games had bigger launches.

PS_HCT543d ago

Yes you are right, me wrong and being thick :)

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-Mika-543d ago

Justin uses a lot of words to say he wanted the security of a upfront check. Putting games Day 1 on Gamepass is a gamble. If the game blows up, you are missing out on hundreds or possibly millions of sales. On the other hand, if your game flies under the radar. That upfront check definitely will help to break even on the budget of the game. A plague tale requiem is a good example of Day 1 on Gamepass being a good thing. The game flew under the radar. Im sure that upfront check to launch day 1 on gamepass was the smart move in the end.

C4rnos543d ago

Whether it's a gamble or not, If a game does blow up- it will guarantee future sales for a sequel, dlc or revised editions of said game; it's easy for a lot of people to criticise decisions like this in some way, but there are few ways to guarantee a "successful" launch, which GP and Epic are directly involved in.

gold_drake543d ago

GP upfron check is definitely a safety blanket, but if your game bkows up .. you're missing out on them mio. of moneys.

thats what he basically said, they wanted the money from GP incase it bombs.

CYALTR543d ago

"So then why are not all games launching on game pass if it's such a slam dunk? Seems it would be no brainer if that were true and not just a tricky marketing ploy."

I don't think all new releases are right for GP. For some of the really big releases it probably doesn't make much sense as they already have a built in audience. The only time those work is if they are MS first party or if MS is willing to pay a lot of upfront cash. Even those can work sometimes as expansions and add-on's are not free and players are more likely to spend on those if they didn't have the upfront cost of buying the game at full price. Even for big games it can make sense to add after a period of time as most time the game is already discounted and it can result in a bump in overall sales.

I think the bottom line is it is a good thing for some devs and not for others. It is their choice.

shinoff2183543d ago

I can agree with that. Hit or miss.

Charlieboy333543d ago

What does "biggest game pass launch of 2022" even mean? Did it bring in the most new subscribers of 2022? Was it tried out by the most existing subscribers in 2022? Was it the most completed game pass game in 2022? Was it the most hyped game pass game in 2022? What? What are we even talking about? It's an ok game if you appreciate the humour ( which reaches it's limits ) but it's not even close to the AAA games promised years ago ( from first party nonetheless ) every QUARTER for this service. And after a whole barren year what Microsoft cheerleaders are praising?? As some kind of milestone?? Yet they all scratch their heads wondering "uhh duhhh....why ek bok no got game like god of war and spooderman". Look in the mirror....that's the reason.

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Returnal Beginning of a "New Future" at Housemarque, Is the Game That "Allowed" Studio to Join Sony

According to Housemarque, Returnal marks the beginning of a "new future" at the studio, and is the game that them to join Sony.

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Community8h ago
fr0sty8h ago(Edited 8h ago)

Returnal was fantastic, and I'm looking forward to seeing what these folks create with Sony in the future.

jznrpg8h ago

They make some fun arcade styles games. Returnal is one of the best games so far this generation. I wonder what is next

amobius7h ago

returnal is easily one of the most underrated games this gen. a lot of people with ps5s dont know it exists.

fr0sty6h ago

And it exists for free if you subscribe to PS+ Extra or Premium.