And the biggest launch of the year overall!
Via a recent news post, Xbox has confirmed that High on Life has been a huge success on Game Pass, breaking the record for biggest single-player game launch of all time, and biggest game launch overall in 2022. Furthermore, it had the biggest launch of any third-party game ever. This means that the only games that had a bigger Game Pass launch than High on Life are first-party Xbox titles with an online component, possibly titles like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5.
Xbox confirms that this was calculated based on total number of hours played in the first five days post-release. That’s even more impressive when taking into account that High on Life is a relatively short game, which most players won’t take more than 15 hours to beat. Despite this, it had a bigger launch than online third-party games where each individual player could hypothetically put in way more hours in five days.
High on Life is a comedic first-person shooter developed by Squanch Games, a studio founded by Rick and Morty co-creator, Justin Roiland. The game features a lot of the improvisational absurdist comedy that Roiland is known for, its main premise being that the guns the protagonist uses are aliens that speak to the player throughout the game. Squanch Games was previously more VR-focused with its two prior titles being VR games, but it seems that with High on Life, Roiland wanted to make something for the larger gaming audience.
Mike Fridley, Studio Director and COO of Squanch Games, told Xbox how pleased the team at Squanch was with fans’ enthusiasm for High on Life. “When Squanch Games was first created,” Fridley stated, “it was to make the games we wanted to play – and Game Pass is helping us reach the players that want to play those games too.”
In an interview with Xbox’s Larry Hryb, Roiland spoke on the effort the team put in to make the game as dynamic as possible. He explained that the game lets you choose the bounty you go after, which determines the order in which you get the game’s talking guns. “Which order you do them in,” he explained, “has a huge impact on the second bounty, because that’s gonna determine what gun [you have with you].”
Each gun is its own character, meaning that each one would have unique dialogue for the next bounty you do. “It’s really a lot of extra writing in an effort to push high player story.” Roiland goes on to describe a specific interaction in the game, where players have to choose which of two characters is more attractive. Depending on which one you choose, certain dialogue moments vary throughout the entire game.
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