Oddworld Devs Sold 5M Units, Received No Royalties
The developers of Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty have just revealed some of their troubles in the industry, which led one co-creator to quit.
An interview with Lorne Lanning, co-founder of Oddworld Inhabitants, with Metro includes details on the business side of the industry and why Lanning eventually abandoned it after the release of 2005's Stranger's Wrath.
Lanning described the development of video games and how much more expensive they became to make, despite only selling at retail for $50 or $60 since the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System.
"When I started making games people were on average building games for $500,000, maybe a $1 million, on the Sega Mega Drive and SNES," Lanning said. "We come in on the PlayStation era and it’s like, oh, it’s going to go to multi-million dollars. And there were a lot of concerns about how teams would grow and all that stuff."
What resulted was an industry in which over a million units of a game would be sold, but the developer would not see a single royalty check. He spoke of an environment in which more work would be done fore less reward and in which big publishers wouldn't want to work with developers unless they owned the intellectual property or had a chance to acquire it.
"But the fact is I sold over 5 million games at retail and I never saw one royalty cheque," Lanning added. "Now if you go around and ask the rest of the developers who say, ‘Oh, we sold a million units!’ Ask them how many royalty checks they’ve had and it’ll be, ‘Oh, well that’s a sore spot’."
In the end, he decided to leave the industry because he didn't want to "be a slave to these guys who are making tons of money while the developers are not." Check out the rest of the interview through the link above and await the release of Oddword: New 'n' Tasty on July 22.