The one-man developer behind Hadean Lands has stirred up the internet after releasing a £27 piece of DLC for his text puzzle adventure consisting of a one-page PDF.
Andrew Plotkin of Zarfhome Software launched the Solo Adventure Pledge Certificate around a year-and-a-half after Hadean Lands first hit Steam in October 2014.
The add-on largely does what it says on the tin, in that it is a print-out certificate which players (and a witness) sign to vow that they will “complete the game entirely of my own natural wit and skill, without recourse to any hint, guide, walkthrough, or other source of information”.
The Q&A description for the DLC clearly outlines that it is a joke, with Plotkin openly responding to questions such as “Does it unlock new puzzles or rooms or other game content?” with “Nope. Just a certificate.”
“I don't need to buy your silly certificate! I can just make that promise for free!” Plotkin says at one point, mimicking the inevitable voice of players not in on the joke.
“Absolutely,” he admits. “But it might be easier to stick to that promise once you've laid down some cash on it. Just a thought. It's up to you.”
What’s particularly interesting is that in an age of hot-headed internet responses and sink-or-swim attempts to attract an audience, Plotkin’s audacious move – frivolous or not – has generated Hadean Lands a second wind of interest, with many consumer media outlets highlighting the game as a result of the controversial DLC.