Wasteland 2 creator Brian Fargo says too many game developers are subject to “abysmal” treatment at the hands of publishers.
Brian Fargo has raised over $1.6 million in private funding for a new Wasteland game and he’s still got almost three full weeks to get that number even higher. That kind of money affords him the freedom to make the kind of game he wants without worrying about focus groups or nervous publishers, but most studios don’t have that sort of luxury. The truth of the matter, according to Fargo, is that most relationships between developers and publishers these days is are pretty ugly.
“There is more tension than you can believe. You would not believe the stories you hear about how developers are treated by publishers these days,” he told Ripten. “It is abysmal.”
Development studios don’t make more noise about the problem because if they do, they can forget about future contracts. He used the recent situation at Obsidian, which lost out on its bonus for Fallout: New Vegas by a single Metacritic point, as an example of the imbalance of power.
“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,” he said.
“So, [Fallout: New Vegas] goes out buggy and they didn’t do the QA, their ship date got moved up and they missed their Metacritic rating by one point,” he continued. “Did they get a bonus? No. Do you think that’s fair?”
Fargo said that he can’t speak for all publishers because he hasn’t worked with all publishers, but he claimed that everything that happened in his hilarious pitch video actually happened in real life. “The only thing that I elaborated on was the Farmville request, because that was done via Facebook, rather than on the phone,” he said. “But it’s true. I would be waiting for people to call me back to give me a response, and they would send me Farmville requests all day long, but they couldn’t return a phone call.”