Wasteland 2 Creator Calls the Publisher/Developer Dynamic “Awful”

With the Kickstarter campaign for his old-school role-playing title already surpassing its goal, Brian Fargo has managed to find a path out of needing a publisher to continue making video games.

And that's good, because, according to an interview Fargo did with Ripten, publishers treat developers like crap. While developers spend the man-hours and energy making a title, publishers have the final say in how and when a game makes it out into the world. When it comes to various elements of producing a game, the amount of control over money and schedule are unfairly weighted against game developers.

Fargo uses the recent release of Fallout: New Vegas—and the Metacritic rating bonus contrioversy that followed—as an example of how developers can get screwed by a publisher:

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. 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. Did they get a bonus? No.

The inXile CEO also talks about the need for future game developers to figure out what craving they can satisfy in order to find an audience and be successful.

I would encourage anyone to find their niche market, their audience and start a relationship… If I had pitched another Call of Duty project, I probably wouldn't have gotten funded. You have to think, "what is the need we are filling?" in order to have a chance.

The interview's got details about setting expectations for people who've backed the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and offers some insight as to what kind of game Fargo will be trying to deliver. Go check it out.

Brian Fargo Talks Wasteland 2, "Abysmal" Publisher Treatment and Having Fun Again [RipTen, via Eurogamer]