GOG.com positions itself as an alternative to other PC videogame marketplaces, but what separates it from them also seems to be the reason why one of the most surprising games of last year, Opus Magnum, is not being listed for purchase on the site. The only issue is that no one outside of GOG.com knows why.
On Jan. 5, developer Zach Barth posted a message from GOG.com on his studio Zachtronics’ Twitter, in which the site delivers the bad news without giving any reason as to why the game failed its curation standards.
Much of the outrage here spawns from how well the puzzle game has been received both publicly and critically. At face value, it makes no sense as to why a game as highly reviewed as Opus Magnum wouldn’t make the cut, but there isn’t much more that GOG can do to satiate fans who have come to appreciate how GOG conducts itself.
The obtuse nature of GOG’s message to Barth is an example of how the site positions itself as an alternative to other PC marketplaces like Steam and the Humble Store. GOG’s front-facing, proactive curation process implements much more scrutiny of the products submitted than other storefronts, whose lack of curation has led to a flood of asset-flips, and broken and incomplete titles.
The only drawback is that GOG chooses not to expose its curation standards to the public, which leads to the kind of frustrated responses from fan communities that the Opus Magnum news has inspired.
No matter what the uproar, GOG can’t make everyone happy. The curation staff cannot say more than just “Opus Magnum did not pass our internal curation system,” nor can it reverse course on its decision because exposing any baseline qualifications of or exceptions to the process undermines the site’s ability to maintain its storefront’s integrity. It is incredibly frustrating for those who want the option to purchase the game DRM-free, but GOG is doing exactly what numerous people have been asking Steam to do. That just means sometimes a good game, unfortunately, doesn’t pass.
Barth has five other games for sale on GOG currently, and while the omission of Opus Magnum is frustrating, it’s not something that blindsided or will derail him.