Honey Rose: Underdog Fighter Extraordinaire, the visual novel/beat ‘em up about a young woman, Red, trying to balance her university studies and her training to become a masked fighter, has released for free on Steam.
The developer, Pehesse, stated the following when asked why he made his game free:
“I believe the current pricing models aren’t adequate anymore due to the amount of games being released everyday. We’re past worrying about competition, the quality of games has become a non-factor – there is simply so much choice, and games take so much time to play, that most things fall through the cracks most of the time. In that context, the sense of value has become warped.”
“It’s now impossible for an unknown independent to release something at an appropriate price point (look to the numerous controversies around notable indie releases lately, at any price point, to see that there is no good solution to that issue using the current models): say for instance I was aiming to release Honey at 10 to 15 dollars (which would be rather low compared to what I’d need to recoup my own investment), it’s inevitable most would wait for a 75% sale 12 months from now.”
“That mindset directly harms smaller developers like myself, as I can’t afford to wait that long, and the amount made on a sale price point isn’t the one I need – but the choice of games for players is so overwhelming, it’s understandable they’d elect to play something else in the meantime until anything reaches the price point they’re willing to pay for it… often forgetting they were interested in the smaller release in the first place. Taking all of that in consideration, why not pre-empt that system, and make the game’s value whatever people are actually prepared to pay for it, not in 12 months time, but right now?”
Honey Rose tasks players with making decisions in Red’s life, guiding her through her day in order to do the right amount of studying and training in order for her to succeed at both of her goals. The game purposely hides Red’s stats, though, so the player will not know how close they are to accomplishing their goals. Pehesse has done this to mimic the feeling of chasing a real-life dream, where you do not know how well you’re doing in achieving it.
Players who enjoy Honey Rose may elect to buy one of the game’s DLC donation tiers, which do not add anything to the game but allow them to pass some funding along to the game’s developer.