Developing a video game is no easy matter, especially if you have never developed one before. That is the case with Unfold Games and their upcoming game DARQ. This came after the game became one of the most up voted game on the Steam Greenlight.
The developer declined all offers in part due to the belief that they could truly develop the game that they wanted and not what a publisher wanted.
In a post on IndieDB, the original creator of the game admitted that they received 12 publishing offers throughout development offers throughout the development of DARQ and turned down all of them. Publishers told him that the game would fail since it was their first ever game with some wanting 80% of revenue and IP.
Since then, the game has been covered by numerous outlets and even won THE BEST OF THE MIX award at PAX West. You can view their full message down below:
I’m a first-time developer and I started my game (DARQ) over 3.5 years ago. It became one of the most upvoted titles on Steam Greenlight (when it was still around), which resulted in a lot of interest from publishers. While some offers were more reasonable than others, a number of publishers tried to convince me that I didn’t know how to make a game and without them DARQ would surely fail. In exchange for their help they wanted up to 80% of future revenue and IP.
They were right in saying that I didn’t know how to make a game. I was barely starting to learn how to code, 3d model, texture, etc. In a way, it was very tempting to sign a contract and give up creative control, intellectual property, and in some cases, a HUGE chunk of revenue. It’s a comfortable feeling to know that somebody is going to take care of you while you just focus on making the game.
I didn’t have much savings, nor did I know how to actually make a game. But the thought of not being able to make creative decisions on a project I poured my heart into scared me more than the possibility of going broke and failing. I’ve turned down 12 publishing offers so far, and in my particular case, I’m glad I did (I’m NOT suggesting that indie developers should or shouldn’t work with publishers).
Developing the game in the privacy of my own room, without the involvement of a publisher, allowed me to develop DARQ just as I envisioned it. I’ve implemented LOTS of crazy and risky ideas – gameplay mechanics that would be considered “high risk” by a publisher, since they haven’t been tried in games before.
Yes, it was scary to go into a new industry not knowing much about it, but I’m glad I did. Having been told “you can’t do this without a publisher” or “this idea won’t appeal to a mass audience, let me tell you how it’s done” I now look back with a new dose of perspective.
I quit my job 1.5 years ago to work on DARQ full time. It allowed me to learn a ton about various aspects of making a game. I now work 100+ hours a week, and although it’s tiring, it’s also extremely rewarding because I get to work on a dream project on my terms and implement ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.