Of all the strange announcements one could concoct on any given day, I’m not sure even the most outlandish saw this one coming, and that’s probably because they forgot the game existed. But, here it is anyway: Brink, Splash Damage and Bethesda’s parkour shooter from 2011, is now free-to-play on Steam.
It was a markedly unceremonious occasion, coming from Steam’s official Twitter account, linking to a two-sentence announcement, one of which was describing what the game is. Neither the game’s developer, Splash Damage, nor its publisher, Bethesda, had any similar announcement on Twitter, seemingly highlighting how out-of-left-field and potentially irrelevant this announcement is.
Brink, for those of you who don’t know, was hyped to oblivion back in 2011, as the second-coming of shooting games, mixing seamless multiplayer and smooth, fast-paced parkour elements that would forever change how shooting games are played. It didn’t quite work out that way. And its move to free-to-play has parallels in the industry, for sure. Many other games have taken fan feedback and turned it into drastic alterations with the hope of saving the game before an untimely end.
Indeed, this move echoes Evolve‘s shift to free-to-play after a year-and-a-half of immense criticism regarding its microtransactions. Relatively soon, For Honor will also go through a huge change, switching to dedicated servers following significant negative feedback about its peer-to-peer online system. The only difference is that these changes happened while those games were still relevant. In the case of Brink, it’s a six-year-old game that hasn’t had a meaningful update in five. Whatever playerbase it did have is all-but gone, only seeing spikes in accordance with Steam sales.
So there’s your bizarre news of the day. The only thing people can’t figure out is why, and your guess is as good as ours. It’s not even an obvious cash grab for DLC, as the total cost of all Brink DLC on steam is $3.77. Is this stealth hype for a sequel that no one asked for? As of right now it’s just puzzling.