Indie hit goes mainstream as Skulls of the Shogun finds a release date

Skulls of the Shogun

Come January 30, fans of addictive turn-based strategy games will have another title to satiate their fixation as Skulls of the Shogun hits the Xbox 360, Windows 8/Surface and Windows Phones platforms. The Windows Phone iteration of the game is slated to be priced at $7, while the Xbox 360, PC and Surface tablet incarnations of Skulls of the Shogun will feature $15 price points.

But wait, what is Skulls of the Shogun exactly? It’s an independently developed game, so statistically most people have likely never heard of the game. Luckily, developer 17-BIT offers the following primer:

Skulls of the Shogun is an invigorating cocktail of 1960’s-flavored sorcery and strategy. Washed up on the shores of the afterlife, players meet and join forces with vibrant ghost-samurai warriors, magical animal-monks, and mustachioed samurai generals on the way to capture the Skulls of the Shogun in a 15-hour single-player campaign. Skulls of the Shogun also features up to four-player local and online multiplayer battles.

You’d already know all of that if you’d played earlier versions of Skulls of the Shogun, but the upcoming PC/Xbox 360 iterations bring a few unique features not found in the game otherwise. Dubbed “Skulls Anywhere,” this nascent feature set adds online connectivity options to Skulls of the Shogun, including standard online multiplayer and the ability for players to shift their singleplayer progress asynchronously between different incarnations of Skulls of the Shogun. The former addition should be self-explanatory, but the latter effectively means that you could start playing Skulls of the Shogun on your Xbox 360, save your progress, then pick right back up where you stopped hours later on the Windows Phone version of the game.

As you might expect, the creators of Skulls of the Shogun are understandably excited for the upcoming release. “We’re ecstatic we could bring Skulls to all four of Microsoft’s platforms, and bring them all together with cross-platform functionality,” said 17-BIT CEO Jake Kazdal. “We appreciate the excitement and patience by all the Skulls of the Shogun fans, and we here at 17-BIT believe the wait will be well worth it.”

While all Skulls of the Shogun fans should be pleased for the heightened exposure the game is receiving, we wonder why it is that the game is only being released on platforms controlled by Microsoft. Actually, we know exactly why that is, but we’re still curious if Microsoft paid enough money to keep the indie hit on its platforms indefinitely or if PlayStation 3 owners might also enjoy Skulls of the Shogun at some point in the future. Microsoft Game Studios is now the only official publisher of Skulls of the Shogun, so it’s quite likely that the game will see similar treatment to 4J Studios’ Minecraft port for the Xbox Live Arcade. We’ve attempted to contact both 17-BIT and Microsoft to ask about this matter, but have yet to hear anything back. We’ll keep you updated when/if we hear anything more.

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