Stronghold Crusader 2 will be exclusive to Steam16 Jan 2014
The big one, really, is that the team has a very limited amount of manpower. For the majority of the project, the team has comprised “two full-time programmers and two artists”, with members of the Stronghold Kingdoms team pitching in whenever possible. While this is sufficient to build the game, using Steam makes it a whole lot easier to get a number of secondary features done.
For players, then, the advantages are that the game will still be done in 2014 (as less time has to be devoted to making other features work); it’ll have a host of secondary features (achievements, voice chat, cloud saving, game invites, Workshop integration, etc.) because they’re apparently quite easy to sort out in Steam; it’ll be easy to patch and update (because Steam auto-updates to the latest version, and the devs will only have to update one build); and… well, I’m not sure this is an advantage for the players, but there’ll still be a physical box. The game will always run through Steam, but you don’t have to buy it through Steam.
For the developers, this means that they don’t have to worry about DRM, they don’t have to spend huge amounts of time working on things like voice chat and game invites, and they’ll have less issue releasing patches/DLC/etc. Amusingly, they used this opportunity to take a potshot at what is almost certainly SimCity:
Please Note: it will still be possible to run the Steam client in offline mode and play Crusader 2 without being connected to the internet. I mean, who would force players to be online when playing a strategy sim? That would be crazy!
Seems fair enough to me, though I’m not an anti-Steam person – the service makes my life a hell of a lot easier. Considering Steam still causes a bit of controversy among people I know, though, this might wind up sparking a few flames.