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Friday, August 31, 2018

Hollow Knight Jumping The Digital–Physical Gap

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Early next year.

Ever since its during-E3 2018 release on Nintendo Switch and an impressive showing the next day during its Nintendo Treehouse Live segment (even if we at KoopaTV didn't say much in our reaction log about it), we've been giving some attention to Hollow Knight. The game's Australian developer. Team Cherry, has since announced wonderful sales numbers for the game on both Nintendo Switch and its earlier (2017) PC iteration, and has therefore partnered with Skybound Games to announce a physical, definitive edition of the game for “early next year,” as well as releases on the other mainline consoles.

Not to be outdone, Shovel Knight is also getting an early 2019 physical release. And amiibo. And some fighting game. Either way, Shovel is the irrelevant knight.

I could have gotten Hollow Knight at 33% off ($10 instead of $15), but at the same time that Team Cherry announced the sale, they had announced the physical edition. As someone that wants to buy physical editions whenever I can, of course I'm going to wait to buy that instead of get a cheaper digital version.

Hollow Knight Dirtmouth sitting on a bench
Just going to wait on this bench...
(Screenshot courtesy of Team Cherry's press kit for Hollow Knight, which they really need to go ahead and update.)

And, you know, it's interesting that Team Cherry announced these at the same time, because in their announcement, they said...

To celebrate the launch, Hollow Knight is on Sale across all platforms! If you (or your besties) were ever on the fence about HK, now’s the perfect time to jump in!”
The perfect time to jump in would be when the physical version gets on sale. No idea if that'll ever happen, of course.

We eagerly await the official announcement of the next Ace Attorney game for Nintendo Switch. Since it didn't actually happen during E3 2018 like we expected it to, that means we're going to be assuming there's an announcement at the Tokyo Game Show like there was for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice.  It's also a safe assumption that it'll be released as a digital-only download outside of Japan.

Just what will it take to get Ace Attorney back as real, physical releases? If indie developers can do it, why can't a major publisher like CAPCOM

Well, that's the wrong question. CAPCOM can. They just don't want to. What will make a major publisher like CAPCOM want to publish the game physically?

Then there is also the question of, “who is the target audience of these post-release physical versions?” Die-hard fans of the digital version that are already buying all the merchandise and DLC they can? Late-comers like me? If there really was a contingent of physical-only purchasers that would have a significant impact on a game's success, they'd be launching games physically to begin with. But those people are fading away.

What was the target audience of the Rocket League physical version (collector's edition), which had a price jump from the digital version and included a bunch of the DLC? Psyonix made it seem like it was for newbies, but as a Rocket League newbie, I didn't want to spend that much more on a game I was unsure about. Especially with it being pre-loaded with useless DLC content. At least the DLC in Hollow Knight actually represents content that matters. I would've gotten the physical copy of Rocket League if it DIDN'T have that extra stuff.

We don't know yet if the Hollow Knight physical copy has extra stuff in it, but at least I'm relatively sure that I'll enjoy the game anyway.

What's your thoughts on digital versions first and special physical editions next? Would you rather have the digital and physical copies release simultaneously and with the same content? Perhaps physical copies are just seen as a status symbol now and not as a given? What's the point where the game reaches that status? ...And what do you think of Hollow Knight?

Hollow Knight's physical version was canceled, but there was instead a plushie-involved bundle.


  1. I'd prefer them to release at the same time, but I know that's not necessarily feasible for indie developers. I have nothing against places like LRG, either. Personally, I prefer physical copies. I haven't played Hollow Knight yet. I'm on the fence about it.

    1. Is the problem with LRG their, you know, limited-ness and susceptibility to scalping?
      We don't know how many physical copies of Hollow Knight that Skybound will produce or if they'll actually be at your local retailer.

      I've heard only good things about Hollow Knight, besides people saying the difficulty is too high. But as long as it isn't unfair and the whole point of the game isn't to depress you with difficulty (like some other indie platformers) then that's not a problem for me.

    2. Yes, but LRG has gotten better now by having open pre-order periods for standard editions. So for example, when I bought West of Loathing, there was a limited number of the Collector's Edition available, but if you just wanted the standard edition, you were guaranteed one as long as you pre-ordered during the week or two where pre-orders were open.

      I'm on the fence because of that. Sometimes, when games are described as difficult, I find them fair and enjoy them just fine. Other times, they make me pull out my hair. I'm not sure yet which type of difficulty Hollow Knight is, although people seem to love it.

    3. Well, if Skybound is anything like LRG, hopefully they're, you know, transparent and clear about it.

      I guess that means I need to be paying close attention then, too.

      People say Hollow Knight is like Dark Souls in that you'll die a lot but you'll eventually figure out what to do and then it's good and satisfying.

      But the game does punish you for losing in that you have to make a choice whether or not to get your progress back after you die.

  2. Looks like Skybound will start selling their first games soon, so that should be a good way to see if they're following a similar model, just selling them all the time, or what.

    I'll probably get Hollow Knight eventually.

    1. I decided to do some INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM and went ahead and asked their Twitter, since they're actively soliciting questions for an "ask me anything".
      HAH. That'll get an answer, right?

    2. I'd say there's a good chance they'll answer it! (...especially since only 3 people have asked them questions so far, at least in response to that tweet.)

    3. Unless the answer turns out to be "stay tuned!" 'cause they might not know the answer (yet).

  3. RIP physical Hollow Knight (at least from Skybound)

  4. Physical Hollow Knight lives again! Both standard and CE are being sold by Fangamer.


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