There’s now a Braid dashboard theme on the Xbox 360 Game Marketplace.

When the new Xbox dashboard launched, we decided to do a theme for it. That theme is now ready to download. For some strange reason, it is not showing up in the New Arrivals list, so you have to go look it up by name.

Currently you can find it in Game Marketplace / Themes & Gamer Pictures / New Arrivals, but I don’t know how long it will be up there.

In the long term, you can find it at:

Game Marketplace / Arcade / Browse / B / Braid

… then click on All Downloads, and it’s “Braid Premium Theme” at the bottom of that list.

Unfortunately, we had to charge the standard Premium Theme price of 250 Microsoft Points (which is about $3.10 in American money). We want to make it free, but Microsoft doesn’t like giving things out for free. But if you do buy it, you can be secure in the knowledge that you own one of the few Premium Themes that is not an advertisement — there is no text in the Braid theme anywhere. (Seriously, Microsoft, what is with the Subway: Eat Fresh Theme?)

Here are some screenshots David took, showing how the theme looks when installed:

56 thoughts on “There’s now a Braid dashboard theme on the Xbox 360 Game Marketplace.”

  1. This is so amazing and awesome, I had to invent a new word to describe it: awesomazing.

    And just the other day a friend of mine was complaining about how ugly the new 360 interface looked… no longer!

  2. So since Microsoft are forcing a price on it, do you get a cut of it or do Microsoft get all the money?
    It might be a bit easier to throw down the points if I know my money is going to a good place you see : )

  3. Saw the theme and knew this would be the first place to look for screens. I’ve got a lot of points so i’ll pick it up cause it looks awesome.

    Castle Crashers managed to release a free theme, wonder how they did it? I’m guess they had to paid the MS royality on each download. Maybe you should look into it in the future.

    Thanks. Hope ur working on something cool! Besides the PC port that is.

  4. I would guess that the Castle Crashers theme that is free is not a Premium theme? (It’s a theme for the old dashboard style and doesn’t have all the new dashboard stuff?)

    The revenue split between the developer and Microsoft for stuff like themes and gamer pics is exactly the same as it is for buying a game. So if you buy the theme, it’s just the same as if you bought 1/5 of a copy of the game.

  5. Yeah the only free premium theme is the holiday one.

    Every once in a while MS will allow a free theme or pic pack. Pretty sure the company doing so has to pay them for it to be free, though. Which is why most of the free ones are for food or movies.

    Not sure if MS allows sponsored premium themes at all yet, since there are still basic ones being released instead.

  6. Yes you are right Jonathan. It was released prior to the NXE update. It was still strange at the time that it was free. There hasn’t been many free game related themes on the 360.

    I purchased your theme. Looks great. Thanks for creating it for us.

  7. Very nice! I actually bought it as soon as I saw it on the Marketplace, knowing it would be a classy job. Happy to send a few more Microsoft Points your way gang. Thanks!

  8. Wow. As soon as i can spare the cash, this will be the first and only premium theme I will pay for. And the only one I will use in perpetuity. Thanks for making this!

  9. Thats a very cool theme! If I had a 360 i would buy the game and then use that as my theme. I hope you do decide to bring it to the PS3 as I enjoy playing it on their 360s.

  10. So much for MS working with developers. I didn’t know you wanted the game to be at 800 points (very realistic). I got it because I had a lot of points, and figured it won’t go down in price any time soon. If I had known that, I would have waited.
    As for the theme, it has a solid feel to it from the pictures. Seems to be made for the dashboard, not simply to have pictures in the background. It seems to fit with dashboard’s interface and window placements. Because you wanted it to be free, (and the face I think premium themes are too expensive anyway) I will wait until either I have spare points, or it’s lowered in price.

  11. “So much for MS working with developers.”

    I’m not usually a Microsoft apologist (not a mantle I’m willing to take up) but this is just too cheap a shot to let by.

    MS owns and operates XBL. Developers make games. So failing to accede to every developer request means that, by definition, MS doesn’t “work with” developers? If every developer wanted every extra and bit of DLC they produce to be free, MS has to agree to that? Would you want your yearly fee for XBL to go up to cover the cost of all the “free” content that developers want to give to the community (in return for promoting their games in some fashion)? As long as the Braid theme is recognizable as Braid it does fulfill that function. It’s not an advertisement, it’s marketing– it makes the developer’s audience feel a certain way about the developer. It’s relationship building.

    Is it only called “working with” developers when developers, instead of MS, dictate pricing?

  12. There was as well a free Gears 2 premium theme (The Last Day) available just for the launch day… Or was it free because I was in the NXE preview program? Can’t really remember…

    Anyway, I never ever bought any theme or gamerpics, I think it’s simply wrong to pay for something that should come free with any game, but I’m actually consider buying this one… Because Braid as a game deserves it, and because I want to support Blow and the rest of the crew.

  13. Well, I’m not at all upset about paying money for this. For any other game, I’d be reluctant to, but Braid was one of my favourite games of last year and whilst I don’t know how successful or not (financially speaking) the title was, I see absolutely no harm and have no objections in helping you earn a little extra on the side.


    Even if it makes Microsoft that much more filthy rich. 😛

  14. There was a free Castle Crashers theme but it was the old school type of theme, not a premium one. To my knowledge the only free premium themes released thus far are;

    Holiday Theme
    Gears of War 2 (I forget the name…might be ‘hope runs deep’)

  15. Wow, the theme looks great! – I’m definitely going to buy it ASAP. And don’t worry about the theme costing money, I (and a lot of other people) want to support you in whatever way possible.

    The only way that the theme could look better, is if the backround would sort of “move” (like in the, memorable, opening of Braid), but I understand that that’s not possible… Thanks for the theme : )

  16. Instant Favourite Theme. I’ve been looking for a good premium theme with no ads since I got my 360 for christmas, and it just so happens that its of one of 2 Arcade games I have purchased. Well worth the purchase, and you are forgiven. 🙂

  17. Muy buen juego!!! quiero daros las gracias por esta nueva franquicia y por el nuevo estilo de juego creado, asi tambien quiero animaros para que desarrolleis un juego completo con muchos puzles y a poder ser con un potente creador de mapas para asi esplotar todas las posibilidades de esta estupenda licencia.

    Muchas gracias por todo, un saludo Sergio.

    Nos vemos en el Xbox live.

  18. “Last Day” was the free premium Gears of War 2 theme, not sure it’s still free though. I bought “Hope Runs Deep”, it’s amazing.

  19. Just wanted to say that I really respect the fact that you want to give us gamers both cheaper games and free themes! I have played Braid quite a bit now, and can’t say that I am anything but really, really impressed! Keep it up! 🙂

  20. Shame that the Friends page seems to always be the only worthwhile part of these Premium Themes. The main menu is apparently still full of big, lime-colored squares. Seems like such a waste.

  21. I hope that by saying you are disappointed in having to charge for the theme that you are also saying you are not inclined to keep any of the profits that are made off of said theme. I look forward to a post on what charity the profits will be going to.

    I really enjoyed the Braid game and I look forward to your future creative endeavors.

  22. I don’t expect there to be any profits from the theme.

    If sales of the theme go anything like the sales of Gamer Pics, then only a small minority of players will buy it. That, combined with the fact that the price is much lower than the price of the game, means that the total amount of money coming in for Gamer Pics (and, I assume, a theme) is not enough to make a big difference. Really, the main reason we do these things is just to give something extra as a thanks to people who like the game.

    That’s part of why I would have wanted to give it out for free — I would rather have a lot of people enjoying the things that we made, than earn a negligible amount of money from a smaller number of people.

    (You’ll note that we have given out lots of Braid graphics on the PC for free, including everything that was in the Gamer Pics! I don’t think that would make sense if we were somehow nefariously enjoying making money from these things, as Aaron seems to be insinuating).

    In terms of development, there are a certain number of hours that it took us to make the premium theme. If you tally up the cost of those hours, it well exceeds any amount that I could expect as income from the theme. So, financially speaking, we took a small-to-medium-sized loss on producing this. That’s fine, though, because I don’t generally use profit or loss as a reason to do things.

  23. I, like everyone else, appreciate your good intentions on getting us a free theme for Braid but as I imagine most fans of the game will have no problem throwing down 250 MSPs to grab this gorgeous theme. Keep up the quality work and thanks for the full preview of the theme on your site.

    Would love to see a second theme that uses the clouds for the overall look.

  24. I wouldn’t mind buying this theme, except I don’t want Microsoft to profit from it. I have no problem paying Microsoft for the costs of processing, hosting, and delivering this theme, but that’s it. Of the $3.10, how much does Jonathan Blow get?

  25. Awesome, I’ve been wanting an official theme. I’ve been using my homemade Braid theme of the opening scene since I played the game so I’ll definitely be picking this up.

  26. The only aspect of the theme I’m unsure about is the brown/ grey covering the bottom half of the screen. Not that I have any better suggestions though.

    Shame you couldn’t have got it out there for free, but I may consider downloading.

    Thanks again for the game.


  27. Though my comments may get lost in the shuffle, I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed Braid. Much like the desire to show appreciation to the community by creating this theme, I’ve purchased the theme to show my appreciation back to you and David. Keep up the good work! Eat Fresh!

  28. Does the new Xbox “NGE” UI allow for similar things for avatar clothing? I’d imagine that a Tim suit would be a big seller (compared to things like themes anyway). The avatar clothing gets seen on friends machines, not just on your own.

  29. Are you guys gonna release this game Braid on PlayStation3? I’m really looking forward to playing this game. I heard some rumors a time ago and nothing new has been announced.

    Greetings from Madrid (Spain)

  30. I think I’ll buy this theme. Although I haven’t completed the game yet, it is great fun. Although the 1200 MSP price point was a little tough to explain to the missus. (I’m in New Zealand. MS Points aren’t cheap here)

    I like being about to change up the look of my dash when I feel like it. Have already purchased the Gears 2, Forza 2, Street Fighter IV, N+, plus several other premium themes.

    Excellent work mate. And thanks for the full theme preview 😉

  31. Blow and team, excellent work. We’re in the same boat with MS and “free stuff” on XBLA.

    One note I had to drop, though. SkinBintin: everyone bitches about Briad’s 1200MSP price, but you mention owning GOW2, Forze 2, SF4, N+ and “several other” (let’s say 3, that’s several) premium skins. So that’s 7 themes at 250MSP each. Gadzooks, that’s 1750MSP. See what I did there?


  32. I really like this theme, but I was hoping for it to be more colorful and everything along the lines of World 2 and all of the “cloud rooms”.

    So I was wondering if you guys were thinking of making another Premium Theme that is more colorful and such…

    But if you guys aren’t… I will probably buy this.


  33. We had a few ideas for themes with different color schemes, but we felt that this one was most representative of the game in general. We’re not going to make another theme — I don’t know if Microsoft would want to publish one if we did! I would guess that from their standpoint one Braid theme is enough. Plus, we have other stuff to work on.

  34. WOAH!
    Jonathan, since I’m basically “talking” to you right now… I just wanted to say how AMAZING Braid is.
    When my friend came over and showed me the demo to the game… I watched it for 2 minutes and wanted to buy it… I just loved the art and the music so much, I didn’t even know you could rewind time and I STILL wanted it. Then I found out it was more of a puzzle game and I just HAD to buy it.

    (I am now on my second play through and I’m trying to collect all of the stars and I’m suprised that ANYONE ever found them – you guys hid them so well.)

    Just wanted to say that the gameplay, story (which still confuses me), graphics, and music are GREAT!

    (Probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent.)

  35. I too would have liked a more colorful theme, but also, when a theme is too bright it hurts my eyes. I agree Mr. Blow, this “dark” theme is more representative of the game overall.

    I like it, I’ll get it as soon as I buy more points.

  36. Helloooo, this is David, the graphic artist of Braid. We kicked around some concepts for a brighter theme, with clouds and a bright blue sky, but decided that our audience, which is comprised mainly of basement-dwelling depressives, might be put off by it.

    Actually, I think the reason was that the clouds didn’t seem interesting enough on their own (after all, those world-themed vignettes only appear on the Friends channel). Also, the world 6 vignette would not have looked right on top of a bright background.

    I dunno, it is not bright and bouncy, but it is pretty warm and glowy.

    Thank you and goodnight … Back to my basement.

  37. Gorgeous theme. Any word on whether you will be doing a PS3 version of the game? Sony has shown that they have no problem putting up official themes/wallpapers for free…

  38. David, and Jonathan, brilliant job. Love the theme. What you said David re: bright v dark, you made the right choice. I saw there was a Braid theme and immediately hoped it was the deeper night flame colours.

    Thanks again for everything.

  39. Awesome. I already bought it as soon as I heard. I even had a few friends call me and try to ‘let me know’ that the theme existed. Great game, beautiful theme.

    thanks for such an amazing experience.

  40. I once vowed not to spend money on gamer pictures or themes, but this will really be worth it for David Hellman’s beautiful drawings meeting me each time I use my Xbox. I just needed to make sure that Jon Blow (and David) were seeing a cut before I spent my Microsoft Space Bucks.

    Thanks again for one of my favorite games ever!

    Just don’t offer any Tim inspired avatar stuff that cost extra Money With Bill Gate’s Smiling Face On It. My vow for not paying for avatar extras still holds.

  41. why do I have to pay for this. it’s bogus! This should be free with purchase of the game. I hate that microsoft has to charge for every drop of water you drink. **** it pisses me off.

  42. Well, in their defense, they do host the file, pay for the bandwidth, etc.

    But yeah, I would prefer if it were free. I was reading in an interview that a developer managed to do a premium theme for free by packaging it with their game and giving it out during play. If that’s accurate I’ll try that route with my next XBLA game (if there is one this console generation!)

  43. Thanks for making a beautiful theme without any text, the main reason I can’t stand any of the other themes available. I shouldn’t have to pay for an advertisment to a game with text splattered all over it! Braid, the game, was great too though I haven’t finished it yet. After seeing a preview of the theme here on the site, it was a must buy.

    Good luck on your next project!

  44. Jonathan, that game is The Maw. When you beat the game, you unlock a nice Premium theme – actually, that’s the one I’m using right now. Playing the game also unlocks some gamerpics.
    It’s a really cool concept, since you are rewarded with something better than achievements. And the theme looks nice to boot.

  45. I really the no advertising theme part. Every other f’ing theme for sale is trying to sale something. This is a must buy for me.

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