Skulls of the Shogun for Windows Phone and Windows 8 gets special launch pricing

Next week’s Xbox Windows Phone release Skulls of the Shogun is possibly Microsoft’s most ambitious game yet. Not only will it be launching on Windows Phone, but also XBLA and Windows 8/RT simultaneously. Take that, WSOP: Full House Pro! Sorry, I just ate some sour grapes. On top of the three-platform release, Skulls also supports shared campaign progress across devices thanks to cloud saving and asynchronous cross-platform multiplayer.

The only problem with Skulls coming to all Xbox-supporting platforms at once is that Microsoft has yet to establish a ‘universal app’ pay structure like iOS and the Playstation 3/Vita support. Thankfully the game’s developer 17-BIT and Microsoft have just announced special launch pricing that will make picking up all three versions (or even just one) more attractive to gamers.

Every launch is a special launch

Skulls of the Shogun for Windows Phone

Windows Phone screenshot

The special pricing applies only to the mobile versions of Skulls of the Shogun, not the Xbox 360 game. That one launches at 1200 MS Points/$15. Tablet and phone games are used to paying a little less for games though, hence the Windows 8/RT version debuts at $9.99 and the Windows Phone 7/8 game at $4.99. This will make the cost of picking up all three versions $29.99 – not unreasonable for a game of Skulls’ caliber.

Microsoft has dabbled with launch discounts before. XBLA hit Super Meat Boy debuted at 800 MS Points before eventually going up to 1200 Points. The recently released and fantastic Retro City Rampage for XBLA followed the same pricing pattern. The pricing scheme seems designed to encourage early adoption among gamers rather than waiting for sales.

Skulls primer

Skulls of the Shogun is a fast-paced, turn-based strategy game set in a feudal Japanese underworld. In the single-player campaign, players take on the role of a general who was betrayed in his former life by his second-in-command. Awakening in the afterlife, he quickly builds an undead army and sets out on a mission of vengeance. The story’s writing is both interesting and hilarious thanks to excellent writing, some of which you can witness in our hands-on video.

Strategy veterans and people who’ve never played a strategy game before will have no trouble learning Skulls’ gameplay. When a character’s turn comes up, his movement radius appears as a circle around him. Move him anywhere within that area and attack any nearby enemies. Eating the skulls of downed warriors buffs a unit. Each side has a General character with greater offensive power than the rest. But if your General dies, you lose, so part of the strategy is keeping him sufficiently protected.

About the developer

17-BIT (formerly known as Haunted Temple) is a Seattle-based indie game maker. The founder Jake Kazdal has worked for Nintendo, Capcom, and SEGA before starting out on his own. You can watch our video interview above, another interview with 17-BIT’s Borut Pfeifer and Ben Vance, and read about our studio visit here.

Just one week to go

Skulls of the Shogun for Windows Phone

Windows Phone screenshot

Skulls of the Shogun launches on Wednesday, January 30th. After the special launch pricing ends (at a currently undisclosed date), the Windows Phone version will cost $6.99 and the Windows 8/RT version will go up to $14.99, so be sure to buy them early if you’re interested!

Thanks to Steve Frolleau for the tip!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Here I thought the great introductory price for the wp8 version was going to be .99cents lol. I'll try the trial and see how it plays on my Xbox and surface before I spend the $25 or wpcentral can be the guinea pig and post a review before the promo ends ;)
  • We'll be happy to do so! :)
  • I was hoping I could get it on all 3 platforms for $9.99.
  • Doesn't seem bad for the price, but would be even more attractive if they allowed buy w8/rt and 360 get mobile FREE
  • Way too much. Mobile should be free bonus. This 3-screen 3-pay system is falling apart (what's the point...). I feel it should be 1-pay 3-play. ESPECIALLY at those prices
  • So just buy the one you want. This is a very big budget, high profile digital game for Microsoft, and they're not undervaluing it.
  • Even still, $30US is quite expensive.  Yeah, XBL games cost about $15US, with WindowsRT costing less than $5US.  If it plays awesome on my Win8 system and WP8 device, I'd likely just pay for those two versions, and skip the Xbox 360 version altogether.  I don't play many XBL games on my Xbox.
  • What's done is done :P
  • On the bright side you can get 3 sets of achievements.
  • I don't disagree that it would be nice to have a discount price that gives you all 3 versions... but if that were the case, then players would also expect to continue the same game from each platform.  (Start a game on your laptop... continue on your Xbox... then continue on your phone).
    Also, I would never play this sort of game at home anyway... so paying only $5 for the mobile version is something I would rather opt for, even if they did have a 'pay X for all 3 versions' plan.
  • Skulls actually does support continuing the same game from version to version.
  • I agree, usually the games are exactly the same, right?
  • Ha! I knew they were going to have a special price on launch day!
  • Good call!
  • Lol
  • Super stoked for this!
  • Mr A, $5(WP)+$10(W8)+$15(360)=$30 not $25.
  • Whoops! I always preferred English to Math. :)
  • I don't know you anymore.
    Just kidding.
  • Im on it day one.
  • I think someones math is off. Combined launch price for all three is $30, not $25
  • From the video, it doesn't look like its worth all that money. There is awful lot of advance button clicking in there. Even the video shows a lot of skips/edits.
  • Don't buy it then. If this game is too advanced for you. Pac-Man is in the store waiting for ya.
  • Uhh, I edited the video for time. The actual level took about twice as long as what we showed.
  • Get a 3DS Fire Emblem bundle and play real strategy game then...
  • Can't wait for this. Xbox and WP8 for me thanks. I'll have extra cheese but hold the onions.
  • I will buy other WP news are we going to know about your talk with a higher up at Microsoft today Paul?
  • I was wondering about that myself... ;-)
  • Either late tonight or early tomorrow. Got bogged down with some other stuff, but I haven't forgotten.
  • Got to love discounts for early adopters! Looks like I'm getting WP8 and Windows 8/RT versions :) Does anyone know if I could play this game with a controller with Surface? Otherwise, playing on my Asus.
  • Does anyone know when a really good Xbox fart app is coming out? I mean seriously, how long has it Windows 8 been out. I guess I'll just have to keep listening to my own until then. . . Sigh
  • Don't forget the matches
  • Will buy this multiple times, on my wp8 and Win8 desktop too
  • Seems like as good of a use of 515 Bing reward points as anything!
  • Far too expensive...MSFT needs to get cross platform pricing asap..
  • I hope this succeeds and the bigwigs at Microsoft promote more of these kind of games. Good for the platform and I hope everyone likes it. :-)
  • I can't wait to play this.
  • I'm buying without even seeing. I want to reward companies that spend large budgets on the a Microsoft ecosystem.
  • Good point, we should reward those that took such a leap of faith in an unknown platform. I may have to consider buying it on launch day.
  • EXACTLY!  I would typically wait for a sale at that price point, but to discount it for a limited time is awesome, PLUS I want to reward the developer and MS for investing in the LIVE for all three platforms.  High sales would send a message Ya'll!  Does not hurt the game looks sweeeet.
  • Same here. Especially after seeing in the video that it was originally supposed to be an iPhone game and they abandoned that for Windows :)
  • will def be getting the WP and W8 versions..been waiting a while for this one :)
  • Hmm....this makes it slightly tempting.
  • Microsoft really needs to catch up to other companies and implement cross-platform pricing. As it is I think I'll pick up the phone version for $5 at launch and then wait for the XBLA version to hit $7.50 or lower or for the Win8 version to hit $5 or lower and buy only one of those two.
  • Good strategy.
  • I agree on cross platform pricing, I would like to see buy on RT/8, get on phone free at the least...
  • This looks insanely boring, but I'll try it out before I pass judgment.  Definitely won't be buying it at that price, though.
  • Any idea if Australia will get this game. We have not received anything desent for Window Surface RT so far.
  • Shut up and take my money!
  • Loved the trailer and currently playing Civilization on my phone 8. 5 dollars seems like a good deal. If it is awesome on the phone, will think about the win 8 version later.
  • I'll try the demo when it hits, but, $5 for a mobile game is too much unless it's really that good. It has to be really great to get that kind of money from me. I guess I will try the demo and wait for the review before desiding if I will buy.
  • Why can't I find this game in Store in the UK?
  • Because it's not out yet?
  • I don't see it on wp7. What's up with that?