So you know how every couple of months Microsoft squishes together a bunch of XBLA games and releases them as part of some fabricated theme event? Fun for shoppers! Not so much for the developers. At least that's what Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, the developers of Super Meat Boy, told Game Developer Magazine. Wanting to get the game out in time for the Game Feast promotion last fall, Team Meat worked themselves into a frenzy to get things done, only to be told by Microsoft that things didn't look so rosy for their game.
We were told our price was too high, our visuals too rough and simply not as eye catching and flashy as the other Game Feast games Comic Jumper and Hydrophobia. Our hearts sank when we were informed that we were projected to sell as much if not less than Hydrophobia, which would be the second-highest grossing game of the Feast in their minds.
As a a result, the creators felt "very confused and taken advantage of" by Microsoft, and say that "the biggest mistake we made during SMB's development was killing ourselves to get into a promotion we would gain basically nothing from." The game ultimately came out with a $5 discount for early buyers, but gathered far more attention from the press and gamers than the other feast titles based on the gameplay. It was eventually released on PC via Steam, where the two say they feel much more comfortable.
To be honest, it's not much of a shock that two guys working on a very weird game had trouble connecting with the company that pretty much defined monolithic corporate culture. Despite Microsoft's attempts to indie-fy the Xbox the last few years, it's still got a long way to go by most measures. Still, I think it's probably a good thing that the two eventually got the game up on the service, and into the hands of gamers who'd normally not touch a PC for anything other than Facebook or porn.