Ghost Shark Games is best known for 2019’s unique spaced-out puzzler Still There (opens in new tab), but the studio’s first game was 2015’s Blockstorm. The game basically smooshed-together a fast Quake-style shooter with a Minecraft-inspired sandbox, the latter part of which allowed extensive customization of avatars, maps, modes and weapons.
Blockstorm has attracted near-universal acclaim from Steam reviewers over its lifespan, with just under 6,500 reviews putting it at “very positive”, but the recent reviews have not been so great. Mainly this is because it’s a multiplayer only game and, in the last year or so, the playerbase has moved on to other things. So GhostShark and publisher IndieGala had a decision to make… and it’s done the opposite of what companies like Meta do (opens in new tab).
Rather than sending Blockstorm up to that great voxel graveyard in the sky, those behind it have made the choice to set it free. Blockstorm has been sold at the discounted price of around $5 in recent years, with frequent discounts below even that, but now the whole kit-and-caboodle is yours for nowt, nish, a song, a mere click on your Steam library (opens in new tab).
“We want to thank our dedicated community of players for their support and feedback over the years,” said GhostShark in a statement. “We hope that going free-to-play, our gift to all of our loyal fans and involved community, will encourage even more players to join the Blockstorm community and enjoy the game.”
Well, better than a kick in the teeth. Whether this is enough to give Blockstorm a new lease of life remains to be seen, but there are enough popular elements here that one could easily imagine what GhostShark calls a “passion project” having much more success than it has: And perhaps that magic price tag of zero will attract enough players to keep it alive for some time to come.
Lord knows that we all grouse when a studio closes down an old title that no longer has enough players to stay afloat: So trying to keep Blockstorm alive, rather than just quietly removing it from sale, has to be applauded.