FortressCraft developer Adam Sawkins isn't too chuffed with 4J Studios' Xbox Live Arcade port of Minecraft. He isn't too chuffed with Minecraft in general, come to that.
Far and away Xbox Indie Games' best-selling title, and a match for most Xbox Live Arcade releases to boot, FortressCraft has been harried by accusations of copycat development since its release in April 2011.
The game does appear to be a straight rip of Minecraft at a glance - it's a first-person adventure-creation sim which takes place in a randomly generated voxel world - and Sawkins acknowledges a creative debt in the credits. But he's added variations of his own devising, including funky competitive multiplayer modes and block types, and feels the results stand apart.
Nonetheless, Sawkins expects "quieter" FortressCraft sales following Minecraft's appearance on Xbox Live Arcade. "Occasionally I wonder what the fuck I'm doing, attempting to compete against the combined might of Mojang AND Microsoft. #underfuckingdog," he mused during a barrage of Tweets this week.
Sawkins argues that Minecraft on Xbox Live Arcade is a poor effort, given the resources in play. "With the combined weight of Microsoft, Mojang and 4J, the game should have *sung* instead of being gimped."
"I honestly haven't heard a single good thing about MC-360," Sawkins commented at another point. "Outside of the reviews, which seem disjoined with reality. What's GOOD about it?"
He later enlarged upon these criticisms in a statement to Eurogamer. "The poor (relative) quality and alleged success of Minecraft 360 has confused me. 4J had no budget restrictions, unfettered access to Microsoft, and a solid, world-class game as a template, and still managed to ship a game with a tiny world, no working skins, and no dedicated servers - and even that was a port of a 14 month old snapshot of the MC source base.
"[Minecraft has] a bunch less simultaneous players than FortressCraft has. And that's just muggins here doing that! I guess it's the old thing though, deliver minimally, promise a lot, and hope people forget; Kinect support went for a wander, and their track record for patching Android and iOS is.... uh... less than stellar.
"I haven't actually gotten any sales figures, but I can safely say that I've lost eight Twitter followers so far. I suspect sales will be quieter for a week, then people will get bored of the novelty of (a very old version of) Minecraft, and hopefully wander back. If nothing else, I've bumped 'finishing split screen' up my priority list."