Early access games take some dramatic turns from time to time. It can be based on gameplay mechanics, balancing patches, graphical tweaks or upgrades, or sometimes it can take a game to a free-to-play model. It’s happened across the industry many times over the last decade, and now the developers of Inkbound have decided to make a potentially significant long-term change to their game.
In their latest post to players, Shiny Shoe says it is not only removing their battle pass-like system but all in-game monetization. It’s a big change for an early-access game with these systems in place for quite some time. So what does this mean as a current or future player of Inkbound? Let’s take a look.
For those that don’t know, Inkbound is a 3rd person action game with turn-based mechanics and roguelike features like dudgeon dives, currencies, unlockable items, and more.
The team sent me a code for the game about a month ago, and I’ve sunk quite a bit of time into the game and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The mix of tactical, turn-based gameplay, exciting missions, deep lore, and story work well together. I’ve also had some time to progress in the latest Leveling Pass launched this summer and found the rewards worthwhile and fun. They’re all cosmetic, none of them affecting gameplay or talents.
This brings me to Shiny Shoe’s choice to remove the monetization systems in Inkbound. In their post, they write: “It’s clear that industry and player sentiment is trending against the presence of these features. For that reason, we are removing in-game monetization completely. Content from the existing Leveling Passes will be turned into cosmetic-only optional “supporter pack” DLCs sold on Steam. The remaining cosmetic content will remain available in-game and earned via playing.”
The team also breaks down some of the Leveling Pass and Cosmetic Shop changes. I’ll outline some of the key points here:
The Leveling Pass feature will be fully removed.
Anyone who owned either The Story Begins premium pass or The Starship of Terrors premium pass will immediately be granted all unclaimed rewards out of the premium track.
Additionally, anyone who owned either The Story Begins premium pass or The Starship of Terrors premium pass will be granted 1,000 Vault Dust for each pass they owned.
We are moving the cosmetics contained in the premium tracks into cosmetic-only optional “supporter” Steam DLCs. If you bought either of the premium Leveling Passes in the past you already own all the content in the associated DLC.
This feature will continue to exist but the currency will only be earnable via gameplay. The “Buy Shinies” button will be removed.
If you ever bought any packs of Shinies with real money we will give you an additional 2x amount of Vault Dust. For example, if you purchased 1,000 Shinies in the past, regardless if you spent it or not, we will grant you an additional 2,000 Vault Dust.
After defeating a Guardian there will be a chance a chest will appear with a random cosmetic reward from the Cosmetic Vault that you don’t already have.