A three-person indie studio has decided to give away a torrent link to its latest game, Darkwood, to players who can't afford it. Acid Wizard Studio has done a hardly surprising decision, but it's still an unprecedented move, as developers are often squeamish about piracy.
Acid Wizard Studio Releases 'Darkwood' Torrent
The studio gave Darkwood away for free via a The Pirate Bay link, arguing that since its game would be pirated anyway, why not give a safe, no-malware link to those interested?
In a lengthy post on Imgur, Acid Wizard Studio recalled a story where a customer needed a refund for the game on Steam because they didn't want their parents to be stressed out upon seeing the bill for the month.
"[I]t made us feel quite bad," said the studio.
So it decided to release the game for free, DRM-free, in fact, the developers have one request for anyone who'll pirate the game, though:
"[I]f you like Darkwood and want us to continue making games, consider buying it in the future, maybe on a sale, through Steam, GOG or Humble Store."
The developers also advised everyone against getting the game from any key reselling site, since doing so will encourage a frowned-upon practice in the gaming industry. Acid Wizard Studio has experienced this firsthand. When Darkwood became pretty popular, it started to receive a flood of emails from people claiming to be bloggers and YouTubers. They were asking for Steam keys, presumably to get review copies.
"That key then gets sold through a shady platform," said the studio, which makes it wary of sending keys willy-nilly, in turn preventing them from handing out keys to legitimate reviewers.
You might think this is career suicide, but it actually makes sense. There's no logic that will defend piracy, of course, but it can't be denied that some people start out by pirating content first before becoming paying consumers. This is what Acid Wizard Studio hopes will happen, and it's safe to assume that this generous move has already earned it "good guy" points from gaming denizens.
Darkwood, which was recently released, has gained pretty positive reviews from the gaming crowd. The game has been available via Early Access on Steam as early as 2014. The full version launched three years later, pushing over 73,000 copies, according to Steam Spy.
Acid Wizard Studio says Darkwood is a "new perspective on survival horror." It features an "ever-changing" free-roam world by day and a terrifying landscape by night.