We sat down with person behind the publisher (who wishes to go by the pseudonym Xitilon) who explained what is going on behind the scenes with these easy title updates, changing of achievement requirements, and what’s to come in the future.
Pixel Gladiator is a game that was published by Xitilon back in 2019 and has a bit of a strange past when it comes to its achievement list. Pixel Gladiator was known for being an easy completion — it only took around an hour to tick off all the game’s achievements. However, the game’s first update accidentally patched out some cash players needed for the game’s survival mode, making the game much harder to beat. A further update rectified that problem, but the team also made the game’s achievement list significantly easier to complete than it was initially, and that didn’t go unnoticed. Players began reporting that all of Pixel Gladiator’s achievements could be unlocked in under 10 minutes. Xitilon says this was made “in an attempt to raise the sales” by catering to achievement communities. However, according to them, this had mixed results and, apparently, this trend won’t be continuing in the future.
Early last month, we saw Castle of no Escape, Castle of no Escape 2, Mushroom Quest, and Aborigenus all receive title updates worth 1,000 Gamerscore each. Most if not all of the achievements are ridiculously simple and ask players to “Die Once” for 200G, “Collect 1 crystal” for another 200G, and “Get to checkpoint” for, you guessed it, another 200G. A lot of people love easy achievements, and they’re great for when you’re trying to reach that elusive milestone or just want to get that glorious endorphin rush when you see and hear that notification pop up on your screen over and over again. However, some see title updates such as these — and the changing of already easy achievement lists to make them significantly easier — as somewhat devaluing the achievement and Gamerscore system. I asked Xitilon why these titles received these updates and what his response was to some who believe that achievements were being devalued.
Xitilon told me they simply didn’t realise updates such as these could be implemented. After receiving a suggestion from YouTube achievement guides maker Cheevo Guides, and subsequently being put in touch with Grim Talin, developer of Elena Temple, (another game that received a free 1,000G update that was received well by the achievement hunting community) took on their advice and followed in their footsteps.
Xitilon says their updates are “just making people aware of how everything works,” and that Microsoft doesn’t put any restrictions on what a developer can implement in terms of difficulty when it comes to achievements. “Those who are worried about the actual ‘achieving’ factor of the achievements, should use not Gamerscore but another, corrected metric. For example, TA Score, as conveniently proposed by the TrueAchievements system, relies on the rarity of obtaining the achievements, instead of the fractured picture of what every publisher and developer decides to do with their achievements.” Xitilon goes on to say that they are not over-using the Gamerscore system and that other developers are “under-using it because they simply do not care about the Gamerscore much.”
Whether you’re loving these simple achievement updates, or think they are an abomination, Xitilon says there are more to come. “If everything goes well, at least nine games will receive extra 1,000 Gamerscore [updates] in January 2021. They will make players explore the game further — exactly as intended by the original system.”
It seems that some of these title updates may have been released early. Yesterday, we picked up another four title updates for Xitilon-published games. 50 Years, Dark Grim Mariupolis, ReactorX, and Smart Moves have all received title updates with five easy achievements each worth 1,000 Gamerscore.
Do you think title updates and the changing of achievement requirements are devaluing the achievement and Gamerscore system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.