Dwarf Fortress creators reject 6-figure deal with publisher
Not everybody knows about Dwarf Fortress, the roguelike and city-building game with a cult status, but one publisher does. And it offered the title's creators a six-figure deal to give up the name.
Tarn and Zach Adams told Gamasutra that they turned down an offer to let a publisher use the name "Dwarf Fortress" to brand one of its other games. They're not revealing what publisher for now, but they did say why they passed on the money.
"When you look at that you think well, there's trade-offs," said Tarn Adams. "Does the brand get cheapened? Are you deceiving people? As long as they're clear this is not Dwarf Fortress or whatever, and this is not Dwarf Fortress with graphics, as people call a lot of things that are coming out these days. As long as you're upfront and honest, there's not technically a problem with that — it's our brand to piss all over if we want."
He added, "If people saw that there was this other thing out there, we considered in the worst case scenario, then the contributions from people would just dry up, and we'd be sitting with this lump sum that would not have added up to 10 years' salary or whatever. So do we want the stress of having to search for a new IP, or a new angle all of a sudden? We have some name recognition to be able to do that kind of thing perhaps, although it's a very chancy thing."
Dwarf Fortress is an extremely complex ASCII game — last year, we interviewed a player who was publishing a book about how to "get started" with it. That's an introduction, not mastery.
The developers receive healthy contributions from players and post them on the game's forums. They number in the thousands every month — but not nearly six figures.
"I mean, if we had enough money suddenly to become independently wealthy and not worry about our health insurance anymore, then we're working on Dwarf Fortress even more than before — who should complain about that?" said Adams.