We chatted with Alastair Janse van Rensburg, the game's core developer, and Simon Byron, managing director at publisher Yogscast Games, to talk about all-things PlateUp! and working with Microsoft to bring the title to Game Pass.
Here's our full chat with the team:
Pure Xbox: Hi Alastair! First off, congratulations on PlateUp!'s success on PC. Has that success made you more cautious about bringing the game to console and converting it for a whole new audience? Is the team enthused about potentially gaining a huge new player base?
Alastair: It’s obviously a very exciting time, especially as this is my first time doing anything like this. The parallels - and differences - to the PC launch are pretty interesting. There’s a lot more overhead to bringing the game to console, which makes me a bit nervous - iterating and updating the game has been really successful on PC, and I’d like to keep that up going forward on all platforms.
Pure Xbox: On the Xbox side of things, PlateUp! is bringing its console version to Game Pass on day one. Was that an easy decision for you to make and how has the whole process been working with Microsoft?
Alastair: Definitely an easy choice. For my first game, PlateUp! has been a massive success, and I’m keen to bring it to as many players as possible. Game Pass is an obvious way to let as many people as possible experience the game. It’s been overwhelming to see the reception it’s had on PC and I hope that console players enjoy it as much as our PC players have. Bringing the game to Xbox has been a pretty smooth process overall. For my next game I’d probably do a few things differently when making the game, but thankfully there haven’t been any major hiccups!
Pure Xbox: Who approached who when it came to landing this game on Xbox Game Pass? Were Microsoft always keen, or did you present the idea to the Xbox team?
Simon: I’ve worked with the Game Pass team since it launched so have seen for myself the benefits of having a game in the service. Even before PlateUp! launched we could see we had a highly engaged community, and one which would play the game for extraordinary amounts of time during the pre-release playtests. We are really keen to get the game into the hands of as many people as possible, so Game Pass seemed the natural fit - and thankfully Microsoft agreed. They’ve been incredibly supportive during development and I can’t wait to see what players make of it on launch.
Pure Xbox: The game has been trucking along nicely on PC for a while, gaining lots of new players along the way. How long of a tail do you anticipate PlateUp! having? Are you planning on bringing extra content to the game after release for console & Game Pass players?
Alastair: I’ve been really pleased to see the long tail of PlateUp! stay consistently high, and to see the effects of all our post-launch updates in the player counts. Not only do we see lots of players coming back for each update’s release, but a lot of players stick around afterwards. PlateUp! launched just over a year ago now, and we’ve released about 10 big updates; usually with an event gamemode, new appliances to buy, more cosmetics, and lots of fixes and quality-of-life upgrades. I love reading the things people post immediately after an update as they discover and explore all the stuff we’ve added. We might have to adjust how we launch content post-console launch to fit with the complexity of launching on lots of platforms at once, but this will hopefully just mean bigger updates coming out each time. There’s a lot of stuff we’d like to add.
Pure Xbox: Titles of this nature are often compared to Overcooked! due to its success in the genre. How do you manage those comparisons, and how do you work to set your game apart from the competition?
Alastair: This is obviously a big challenge for the perception of the game. I like to keep on top of reading the game’s reviews on Steam (which is quite hard - there are about 17,000 now) and a lot of them compare PlateUp! favourably to other games in the genre. PlateUp! was designed to be less frustrating, more approachable, and deeper than existing games in the genre. It’s pretty subjective, but the review stats seem to bear that out, which is great to see - we’ve been Overwhelmingly Positive (95% positive+) since launch. While PlateUp! neatly fits into that category, it’s also designed to be a great solo experience too, and a lot of players say they enjoy perfecting their gameplay in solo as much as they do playing co-op.
Pure Xbox: Are you glad to see games like PlateUp! carry the local co-op torch? Online play can often be the only choice these days and we love it when games feature local co-op too!
Alastair: PlateUp! was always designed to be playable by everyone - it’s designed to be approachable but deep, and allow players of varied experience levels to play together and have fun. Part of this is allowing players to play in whatever configuration they like; you can start a game solo, and have a friend pick up a controller and join straight in. If a friend online wants to join, too, you can invite them in without stopping, and they can even bring another local player as well. A key part of local co-op is designing the game to avoid the friction points where players would be left out, or feel like a burden because they’re not good enough, or feel like they were too experienced to join in. I wanted a game that felt like anyone could drop in and out as they liked. This design goes into the gameplay, but also into things like the UI. There’s very little gameplay UI in PlateUp! that covers the whole screen and forces the other players to wait while one player makes a choice. It’s all designed to feel co- operative, so that the players feel like they’re a team, working together.
Pure Xbox: Finally, we hope the team's upcoming console launch goes well. Is there anything you'd like to say to Xbox & Game Pass players ahead of PlateUp!'s release?
Alastair: I hope you enjoy the game! It’s been amazing to see the reception it’s received on PC and I hope Xbox players have a great time playing it. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s feedback and to all the updates we’ll have for you going forward.
Thanks to Alastair & Simon for chatting with us! You can catch PlateUp! on Xbox Game Pass on February 15th, 2024.