Why ReCore is a $40 Game

Why ReCore is a $40 Game

Microsoft wants to test the waters, it seems.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

ReCore, the third-person action game developed in collaboration between Armature and Comcept, finally made a proper debut this week at E3. It probably wasn't many people's favorite game from the Microsoft press conference (well, except for mine), but it plays well, and everyone I've spoken to who has tried the E3 demo genuinely enjoyed it.

One of the more surprising tidbits about the game has to do with its price: Microsoft will be selling it for the unusual price point of $40. That may have been a fairly standard price 20 years ago on PlayStation, but it's strange to see a console game priced below $60 these days... unless it's an indie release, in which case it rarely sells for more than $20. $40, though? That's just bizarre.

According to Armature producer Mark Pacini, the game's in-between pricing scheme represents a deliberate attempt by Microsoft to create a new kind of appeal.

"One of the things we're trying to do is reach a broad audience," Pacini says. "I think that, coupled with the Xbox Anywhere initiative, the price is a great way to get it into more people's hands. We feel that it's a great value."

The conclusion that most internet pundits have determined based on the price is that it reflects a brief, lightweight campaign. Pacini himself implies the game's brevity played a role in determining the price.

"I'm horrible at game-hour estimates — Metroid Prime I thought was an eight-hour game and it took people 23! — but I think right now I'm thinking [ReCore] is eight-to-12 hours. But there are a lot of things to find and collect that can extend the play time."

Microsoft's approach to ReCore's pricing reminds me of Sony CEA's budget-pricing initiative back in the early PlayStation days, when the publishers broke from the traditional $60 price point of contemporary releases with a handful of $40 titles. Like ReCore, those were shorter or less conventional creations — think oddball music game Parappa the Rapper or esoteric sword combat fighter Bushido Blade — that might not have sold well for full price, but did pretty decently at a discount and helped entice more people to the platform.

In any case, ReCore may turn out to be fairly short, but quality doesn't seem to be an issue. The game looks excellent, wearing some obvious influences on its sleeve while focusing less on precision and more on exploration and movement. It looks good, plays well, and has plenty of personality. Expect more extensive hands-on impressions once we're clear of the thick of E3, but suffice to say ReCore sits near the top of my most-anticipated list.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

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