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As Star Wars Outlaws locks missions behind $100 paywall, No Rest for the Wicked isn't afraid to buck the trend

No Rest for the Wicked looks to be a refreshing return to a time when games were content to sell you on an experience and leave it at that.

No Rest for the Wicked
Image credit: Moon Studios

No Rest for the Wicked, the unlikely next game from Ori series creator Moon Studios, is one day away from release. As we approach the big day, the developer has been revealing a few final details about the game, alongside dropping the launch trailer.

No Rest of the Wicked is not the type of grim action game with exacting combat you might expect to come from the makers of the whimsy and emotionally-charged Ori, but it also represents the studio’s first foray into the realm of Steam Early Access.

Top-down ARPGs are no strangers to Steam Early Access, of course, but Moon Studios is adopting a very player-friendly approach that could only really make the experience as smooth as possible, on day one and beyond; at a time when everyone is becoming increasingly weary of all the different caveats and hurdles modern games can’t seem to stop creating for their players.

For starters, while No Rest for the Wicked is designed to support online co-op, the game can be played entirely offline as a solo experience, just like Ori. This is especially important given Wicked’s story-driven, Soulslike nature. Indeed, while a few recent major releases do allow for offline play, doing so often locks you out of certain in-game features.

Cheating, for instance - even for non-competitive / PvE-only games - has become a major concern in recent years, which led many games you wouldn’t otherwise expect to launch with robust anti-cheat doing just that. Said anti-cheat, of course, usually requires an online connection, which prevents a subset of players from being able to fully enjoy a game they paid for.

This is why it was incredibly refreshing to see Moon Studios outright confirm in a pre-launch blog post that the game’s single-player experience does not require an online connection, and won’t have any anti-cheat software. “We’re dedicated to providing you all with a complete, seamless experience!” the developer wrote.

No Rest for the Wicked also won't have “any microtransactions”, which is especially welcome considering its price tag of $40 - something of a budget price these days. Speaking of cost, the game will be available at launch for an introductory price of $36 for two weeks (ending May 2).

One other thing that caught my eye, and it’s something growing up in the Middle East always made me vigilant for, is regional pricing. Moon Studios closed the blog post with a considerate note acknowledging that “some countries experience economic factors that make a direct conversion from the dollar unfair for folks in those countries.”

I can tell you that anyone living in a developing country, who likes to pay for their games, will very much appreciate this. While the price of the game isn’t yet clear in countries/currencies other than USD/GBP/EUR, the developer said that it’s taken into account Steam’s guidelines when making the conversion.

“We’ve instead taken a look at Steam’s recommended pricing, as well as a range of recent releases to land at regional prices that are hopefully considerate of the local situation and offer great value for our Early Access content,” it revealed.

It’s perplexing that so few publishers continue to fail at removing, or lowering, the barriers to entry for their games, just as they moan about struggling to grow. Every major release today has a lot of ifs and buts surrounding it. Just this week, Ubisoft was in the news for locking a mission with one of the core characters in Star Wars Outlaws behind a season pass ($100 minimum), just as everyone got excited about the release date news and new trailer.

This is something Ubisoft has done in the past, too, and the company certainly isn’t alone in that practice. You just can’t wholeheartedly get excited about a game without being on the lookout for the - frankly, inevitable - ways that excitement will be ruined or affected by the desire to milk cash from people. All that’s left to do now is see whether No Rest for the Wicked can live up to all this goodwill.

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