Interplay founder lambasts publishing model

Brian Fargo: Publisher treatment of devs ‘abysmal’

Brian Fargo does not care to mince words about what he calls the "abysmal" treatment of developers by publishers.

In an interview with Ripten, the founder of Interplay and InExile detailed the reasons he thinks crowdfunding represents a golden opportunity for devs to break free of a negative relationship.

"There is more tension than you can believe," said Fargo.

"You would not believe the stories you hear about how developers are treated by publishers these days. It is abysmal."

Fargo has turned his back on publishers and launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a sequel to the post apocalyptic classic Wasteland has raised $1.6 million dollars.

This, he hopes, will help make crowdfunding even more appealing for developers, and loose the bonds that have so long held them tethered to publishers.

"Look at the most recent one with those poor guys at Obsidian," said Fargo, citing a recent example of alleged publisher abuse where Obsidian were denied a bonus because their Metacritic rating was off by a point.

"They did Fallout: New Vegas, the ship date got moved up and, who does the QA on a project? The publisher is always in charge of QA."

"When a project goes out buggy, it’s not the developer. The developer never says, ‘I refuse to fix the bug,’ or, ‘I don’t know how.’ They never do that. It’s the publisher that does the QA, so if a product goes out buggy, it’s not the developer’s fault."

Fargo thinks breaking free of publishers will make games cheaper as well.

"At least 25 per cent," he claimed.

"In some cases, 35 per cent, because sometimes they insist on taking over functions like doing all the casting and audio recording, where they would spend way more than what we would, if it was our money. I mean, it is our money, because it’s advances, but they insist on taking it over."

Encouraging developers to help each other out in tough times, Fargo has started a movement called "Kick it Forward", where developers raising funds on Kickstarter opt to give five per cent of their profits to future crowdfunding campaigns.

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