Xbox Game Pass has been universally praised for being the best video game service out there for consumers. However, the service has also been a beacon of hope for developers who want to make smaller titles, such as Obsidian’s newly-beloved Pentiment.
Pentiment was made by Obsidian developer Josh Sawyer, who firmly believes the game wouldn’t exist if not for Game Pass. Considering how the title is a narrative-driven adventure game that’s focused on character development and has no combat, we can see why that is.
With games like Call of Duty and God of War in the mainstream, smaller indie games have a harder time standing out. Game Pass makes it more likely for these indie titles to get a fair shake from fans. It also helps that Microsoft purchased Obsidian, giving the game an even better chance of being made.
Taking part in Tuesday's Waypoint Radio show (via ResetEra), Sawyer admits that he wouldn’t have even thought of making Pentiment had it not been for Game Pass. Due to the current ecosystem of gaming, he feels that this service is the only viable way for the indie game to be relevant and make money.
"I never would have proposed making Pentiment without Game Pass. Like, I literally just wouldn't have done it. I just don't think it would have been possible,” says Sawyer. “The old mentality of Publishers and Developers is generally focussed on larger investments with higher ROI (return on investment), and that's not the point in this environment, in this ecosystem."
Continuing on, Sawyer says “(Game Pass) is the only way in which I conceive of (Pentiment) being viable. For my own sake, making a game so different, I've completely shifted my thinking for (Pentiment). It is so unusual, so niche, it's for a small audience, and as long as that audience is into it, that's fine."
Many gamers feared that Game Pass was going to lead to more live-service titles like Gotham Knights or Outriders. Those gamers suffer from microtransactions and repetitive gameplay, but on a service like Game Pass they don’t feel so bad. However, if the service can lead to more indies like Pentiment, then it’s to the benefit of the gamers.
Pentiment is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.