Citizen Sleeper developer praises Xbox Game Pass for 'keeping a lot of indie studios going'

Citizen Sleeper key art without text
(Image credit: Fellow Traveler)

What you need to know

  • Gareth Damian Martin, the developer behind indie title Citizen Sleeper, recently spoke with Edge magazine about the game's inclusion in Xbox Game Pass. 
  • Martin says that Citizen Sleeper being in Xbox Game Pass greatly aided its reception, exposing the game to an audience that might not have seen it otherwise. 
  • Martin adds that they think Xbox Game Pass is "keeping a lot of indie studios going right now."
  • Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector is currently in development, and will also be available day one in Xbox Game Pass.

One indie developer is extremely happy with how their game is performing on Microsoft's gaming subscription service. 

Gareth Damian Martin, the solo developer behind studio Jump Over the Age and 2022 indie title Citizen Sleeper, recently spoke with Edge magazine (May 2024 issue, via Reddit user n0_gods_no_masters) about the upcoming Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector, as well as how things have gone with Citizen Sleeper on Xbox Game Pass. Martin points to the user reviews of Citizen Sleeper on Xbox as part of the reason the game has found success on the platform.

"They all say things like 'I don't play these kinds of games, but I tried it because it was on Game Pass, and I loved it,' and that was massive for Citizen Sleeper," Martin explains. Martin goes a step further to say they believe Xbox Game Pass is a big part of the reason why some indie studios are even able to remain open. 

"To be honest, I think Game Pass is keeping a lot of indie studios going right now," Martin says, adding that "The money is a pittance to Microsoft, but to us it's the thing that means we can make another videogame."

Citizen Sleeper 2 is also coming to Xbox Game Pass

Back when Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector was first announced, Martin revealed it would be launching day one into Xbox Game Pass. The sequel, which will feature a new protagonist with a ship and crew, does not currently have a release date. Like its predecessor, Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector is being developed with heavy influence from tabletop role-playing games, with the return of dice rolls and ticking clocks alongside some new systems to keep things fresh.

Analysis: It's great to see success in an oft-brutal market

We see so many stories about indie teams (and larger studios) shutting down due to being unable to find funding or support, so hearing that Martin believes Xbox Game Pass is directly helping keep the lights on for a number of studios is fantastic. Hopefully, Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector will be an even bigger hit than the original game, whenever it arrives. 

This is also in line with what we've heard from multiple other teams, such as Lies of P developer Round8 Studios, who referred to the game's success on Xbox Game Pass as a "momentous occasion."

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.