It looks like independent will always be independent. Limbo was exclusive to Xbox Live Arcade for an entire year before it became available on PSN and PC, and even though the game sold well on PSN when it finally did arrive, that period of exclusiveness would have brought down many more target sales.
The reason for Limbo not coming to PSN in the first place was very simple. Sony became greedy. It wanted the IP rights. But the war was lost.
Speaking at Develop, SCE executive producer Pete Smith admitted that they were in talks to bring LIMBO exclusively to the PS3; talks which backfired, and meant Microsoft had the game to themselves for a whole year. LIMBO went on to sell over a million on 360 by the end of 2011.
Limbo was truly a sensational game. Limbo is a 2D side-scroller, incorporating the physics system Box2D to govern environmental objects and the player character.
The player guides an unnamed boy through dangerous environments and traps as he searches for his sister. The developer built the game’s puzzles expecting the player to fail before finding the correct solution. Playdead called the style of play “trial and death”, and used gruesome imagery for the boy’s deaths to steer the player from unworkable solutions.
The game is presented in monochromatic black-and-white tones, using lighting, film grain effects and minimal ambient sounds to create an eerie atmosphere often associated with the horror genre. Limbo received positive reviews, but its minimal story polarised critics; some critics found the open-ended work to have deeper meaning that tied well with the game’s mechanics, while others believed the lack of significant plot and abrupt ending detracted from the game.
A common point of criticism from reviewers was that the high cost of the game relative to its short length might deter players from purchasing the title, but some reviews proposed that Limbo had an ideal length. The title was the third-highest selling game on the Xbox Live Arcade service in 2010, generating around $7.5 million in revenue.