Chris Taylor slams big publishers, lashes out at draconian development contracts

Face Melting Nazis

By on January 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Gas Powered Games’ Chris Taylor has lashed out at publishers in an interview with Eurogamer, during which he explains that multiple times publishing companies have pulled the plug on games they’re developing — including one when it was just a month out of beta.

“We got a phone call from the publisher and they said, ‘We’re terminating.’ And we’re like, ‘Yeah but we’re only a month away from beta.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah we’re still terminating.’ And we’re like, ‘OK,’” said Taylor.

Taylor then went on to explain that most contracts between publishers and developers for the creation of a game were so draconian that even reading one will cause your face to melt clean off.

“One of these days – and it won’t be from me,” he said, “you guys will get leaked through some anonymous source. And you can read a game development contract, and you will – it’ll be like the Nazis when they opened up The Ark: all the flesh will melt all down your face.”

According to Taylor, the solution is more publisher executives who really believe in the products they’re paying for, “people with some backbone”.

“You need people to really slam their fist; guys like Steve Jobs, you know, who are a**holes because they believe so vehemently in what they’re doing they will f***ing… f*** bending the spoon with their mind, they’ll just snatch it out of your hand and bend it in half and stuff it up your ass! Take that! Let’s get back to work!”

Gas Powered Games recently announced their action-RPG Wildman on Kickstarter, while at the same time laying off 40 people as they stake the future of the company on the new game.

Source: Eurogamer

15 comments (Leave your own)

If anything would put me off pledging to these guys it’d be something like this. You don’t make something your publisher thinks will sell, you don’t get to make anything. Who funds your game? Why should they back you when you haven’t really done anything worthwhile? If you’re so close to releasing your game and they can you, take your shit and leave instead of just bitching about it. Also bonus points for having a go at Steve Jobs, shows some real class calling a dead guy an asshole. Nice.

 

wolfstar90:
If anything would put me off pledging to these guys it’d be something like this. You don’t make something your publisher thinks will sell, you don’t get to make anything. Who funds your game? Why should they back you when you haven’t really done anything worthwhile? If you’re so close to releasing your game and they can you, take your shit and leave instead of just bitching about it. Also bonus points for having a go at Steve Jobs, shows some real class calling a dead guy an asshole. Nice.

There not having a go at jobs there saying sometimes you need to be an asshole to get shit done and realize a vision like Steve jobs was. The guy was an asshole fact, but he got shit done

 

wolfstar90,

Just because a publisher doesn’t back something doesn’t make it bad.

 

Indeed. Publishers have been known to let go of some very hot properties that then went on to sell millions of copies with a different publisher. I have heard of stories like that, nothing specific springs to mind right now though.

 

wolfstar90:
If anything would put me off pledging to these guys it’d be something like this. You don’t make something your publisher thinks will sell, you don’t get to make anything. Who funds your game? Why should they back you when you haven’t really done anything worthwhile? If you’re so close to releasing your game and they can you, take your shit and leave instead of just bitching about it. Also bonus points for having a go at Steve Jobs, shows some real class calling a dead guy an asshole. Nice.

If only it were so simple; you get locked in contracts, and it gets so bad (as he was referencing in this very article you commented on) that it’s either obey us or get out of the industry.

GPG HAVE made good games too; Dungeon Sieges, Total Annihilation (they’re the same team essentially; it was a 3D RTS before starcraft which still used sprites, never made it big due to Blizz’s bigger reputation and the fact that starcraft was the easier game), Demigod (the first MOBA title I saw that focussed on in-depth skill trees), SupCom (stellar RTS) + FA (best expansion pack i’ve ever played), and the unfortunate Supcom2; I’m not sure how much of that was the publisher’s fault. It was like ‘make it more like starcraft, that sells’ was thrown at it even though they brought in the best AI modder for the game and gave it a decent story (plus the villain was pretty good), and a few other bits and pieces.

It’s certainly got more hope than Planetary Annihilation does which was just a bragfest and a pre-rendered trailer as opposed to a company with industry experience.

The only reason the layoffs occurred too was mercy; better pay them for the few month’s work they won’t have to do now so they can find jobs elsewhere (i.e. give them their severance pay) instead of bankrupting it and leaving them jobless for potentially months without pay.

 

From my understanding that AI modder from Supcom2 is doing the AI for Planetary Annihilation.

 

It still makes me smirk to see people put down Supcom 2. It is a fantastically polished Supcom game, and going back to FA after playing so many hours of Supcom2 just feels disappointing (not to say FA is bad, it is far from it). The AI pathing alone is a stand out, and most the other arguments against Supcom2 are rather petty. Not that I put too much value on a GOTY tag, but It got one from PC Gamer if I recall.

GPG can put something good together, of that I have no doubt. If they can do it without being held back by a publisher, then that’s even better. I backed them at a low level on kickstarter for Wildman, first time I have bothered with kickstarter.

 

Supcom2 really did get a poor rap for no reason other than it wasn’t directly the same as Forged Alliance with shinier graphics and UI.

It’s a great game, one my clan and I have resurrected recently and are playing about 4-5 times a week. The main problems are the new way in which resources are handled and the need to pre-allocate Mass for new units/buildings which can cause things to grind to a massive halt.

GPG themselves have a lot of talent, though I’d rather they stop trying to do linear ARPG’s as the DS series weren’t that stellar and DAO despite it’s aged Eclipse engine made a much better tilt at that.

TBH I can understand CT’s comments. Most publishing agreements are ridiculous and always so in one party’s favour that most are not even legally binding due to the maxim’s of law (especially where contract’s are concerned).

 

spooler: The guy was an asshole fact, but he got shit done

Yeah he was the scum of the earth though, the only people a CEO like Jobs are good for are the ones who are shareholders in the company, if you’re a consumer/employee/anything else then you can go die as far as he’s concerned… once you’ve purchased his product that is.

Always blows my mind that people praise Jobs so much and a total bro like Bill Gates just gets hated on. Jobs was a piece of crap.

 
Relaxed_Possum

Ok, let me clear some stuff up here :)

exe3:

From my understanding that AI modder from Supcom2 is doing the AI for Planetary Annihilation.

Sorian was the AI modder that made the best ai packs for the original sup com, he was actually hired to do the ai on supcom 2 and now PA as well.

RSOblivion: Supcom2 really did get a poor rap for no reason other than it wasn’t directly the same as Forged Alliance with shinier graphics and UI.

The game that supcom2 is now is not the game they released, that had a completely broken economy that didn’t allow you to queue your production before you had the resources to build it. It meant that building a base was a massive hassle as you had to watch your mass and then when you had enough, place your building. And pretty much the same for units. Going from sc:fa to that was a total slap in the face and most people just went back to forged alliance. Once they fixed the economy to how it is now, it was too late imho.

Despite its smaller scale the game is pretty darn good and things like sweep targeting units is a feature I wish they’d include in all rts games.

nekosan: Always blows my mind that people praise Jobs so much and a total bro like Bill Gates just gets hated on. Jobs was a piece of crap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njos57IJf-0

Rant over.

Oh and off topic. I’m not sure interviews like these are very productive for gpg at the moment. I think you need more positivity if you want the kickstarter candy…

 

relaxedpossum:

Oh and off topic. I’m not sure interviews like these are very productive for gpg at the moment. I think you need more positivity if you want the kickstarter candy…

You’d think that, however I’ve just been encouraged to get Wildman now more than ever. I didn’t even bother looking at the kickstarter originally. But this article has made me realise how much fun SupCom & DemiGod were and how much time I sank into them when I was at Uni.

Call me a backer now :P (3rd kickstarter game I’ve backed!)

 

I hope more and more “bigger” developers move to Kickstarter – and force big publishers to change their standover tactics..

 

GPG themselves have a lot of talent, though I’d rather they stop trying to do linear ARPG’s as the DS series weren’t that stellar and DAO despite it’s aged Eclipse engine made a much better tilt at that.

TBH I can understand CT’s comments.

Needs more acronyms WTFBBQ!

 

Why do digital products that are distributed electronically even need publishers?

(I’m going to answer my own question here) The answer is simple, EA and Apple(and the like) fan boys. Due to the blind horde that won’t touch anything unless it has had four trillion dollars spent hyping it up with reviews from journalists that are in big developers pockets. This then gives them the power to start things like origin and the I-store which then gives them control over distribution again. We had potential to create a new age with electronic distribution but we all ran begging to the likes of EA and Apple and pleaded with them to own us again.

 

wolfstar90,

You understand that a publisher, say EA or Ubisoft, often retains the IP rights to a game or franchise, right? So a game dev can’t always take their product elsewhere. That and there’s never a guarantee that another publisher will pick up the game if they do try to do that. It’s happened often enough.

 
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