Lanning: Publisher-developer relationships are very unfair

Diminishing returns for developments and unfair demands from publishers are the reason why Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning closed his studio in 2005.

We’d had enough of the terms. We’d had enough of what was happening,” Lanning told Metro. And what was happening was quite simply if you wanted to build big expensive games, and you were getting them funded by a publisher, you were basically giving up your company.

I mean that’s it, that’s the nutshell of how the industry changed.

As the money got higher the terms for the developer got worse. So you’re doing a lot more work for a lot less reward and, what I also didn’t see coming, was that for the most part the big publishers didn’t want to have anything to do with you if they couldn’t own your IP. Or if they didn’t see a path to acquisition.

You would basically have these deals where if you wanted to sign a $15m development deal you were simultaneously signing an acquisition deal. And I looked at that and I said, ‘That’s not why I started building these games’.

I don’t care for some of these relationships, I think they’re very unfair. And I don’t think they’re good for the industry, the development community, or the customer. And if that’s how it’s gonna be I’d rather not play, period.”

Lanning also revealed that should upcoming title Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty hit 250,000 unit sales the studio will remake 1998 title Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus. Should it hit half a million units Lanning will put his mind to some new IP.

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