Limited Run Games war zu Anfang des letzten Jahres noch ein unbeschriebenes Blatt. Heute sind sie bekannt wie eh und je. Das Unternehmen entwickelt sich zu einem zuverlässigen Lieferanten von Retail-Spielen, die es bei der(leider) nicht so umfassend gibt, wie bei der großen Schwester. Ihr erstes Spiel, Breach & Clear, war ein absoluter Erfolg und die kommenden Saturday Morning RPG sowie Cosmic Star Heroine werden an diesen Erfolg mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit anknüpfen. Wir haben uns die beiden Gründer Douglas und Josh geschnappt und sie rund um das Thema Retail-Spiele und ihre Herstellung ausgefragt. Lest hier, welche spannenden und vielversprechenden Antworten sie hatten:
Hinweins: Beachtet, dass der deutsche Text frei übersetzt wurde und nicht zu 100% dem Original entspricht. Aus diesem Grund stellen wir euch das englische Interview vor. Die deutsche Übersetzung findet ihr im Anschluss im Spoiler!
Hi Douglas, Hi Josh! Thank you so much for your time to answer some of our questions. At first, please give me a short introduction in your company.
Limited Run Games is the physical game publishing wing of Mighty Rabbit Studios. Our primary goal is topreviously digital only games on physical media for consoles and handhelds.
What was your work before Limited Run Games?
Josh Fairhurst is the President of Mighty Rabbit Studios and has been working in the game industry since 2008. Douglas also works at Mighty Rabbit Studios and has previously worked at Ubisoft.
At which point did you say: We need to establish our own company and Why?
We saw the rise in digital only content increase dramatically, and did not like where the industry was heading. We are collectors at heart and wanted to see more games get a physical, so we could proudly display them on our shelves. We also wanted to publish our own games in a physical format and realized we could help more developers accomplish this by taking away all the stress that goes with the process.
Your company is still very young. How would you describe the development from the establishment till now?
We started Limited Run believing that it would be successful, but not really knowing how successful. Needless to say, Breach & Clear exceeded our expectations. After that our email inboxes exploded with fans and developers reaching out. We went from nothing to something very quickly.
Did you have any contact to Vblank Entertainment which had also a limited run with Retro City Rampage?
Outside of following in Vblank’s footsteps, we have no connection. I own all three physical versions that have been released of Retro City Rampage. The PS4/Vita releases inspired me to push forward with physical releases of my own games – which in turn led to the establishment of Limited Run.
Your first game was agame. Can you tell us why and why Breach and Clear?
We chose Breach & Clear because it was our game, and we chosebecause it was only on Vita and not PS4. We wanted to the market and process using our own game first. We were very amazed at how well and fast it sold. fans are extremely loyal.
What are the Pros and Cons releasing a game physically?
There isn’t really any cons outside of the expense – which isn’t even really a con once the game has sold out and made that expense back. The pros are too many to count. When a game is in a physical format it gets to live on forever whereas it’s digital contemporaries will eventually be lost to time and forgotten. Collectors will continue to buy, sell, and trade our releases – keeping them fresh in gamers’ minds for years to come. As a developer, it gives your game a legacy – it preserves it for future generations. I believe that is very important.
What is in your opinion the biggest effort and the biggest risk for a retail game?
The biggest effort is fulfillment (selling and shipping the games to customers) – the biggest risk is the financial risk (the cost of the games from Sony). The good thing about what we do is that we handle both of those issues for developers, which we hope will make doing a physicalthrough us a no-brainer.
Now to the most interesting part: Can you describe the process of making a retail game?
The first step is getting Sony to approve a product proposal for a physical version of a game. Once that is through, the developer has to make sure to toggle a single setting on their built game that allows it to run from a disc or cartridge. After that, the game has to go through certification with Sony. While it is in certification, we start building a BOM for the game (a “bill of materials”) – this tells Sony what component we need for our final product. This is where we upload all of our art for approval by Sony. Once that is approved and the game is certified, we have to move on to production. The graphics guys at Sony have to work on the art to get it ready for print, and we have to approve final BOMs. After that, we finally get to place our order for the games and then we wire a payment. A few weeks later a FedEx truck will show up with the games!
How long does it take generally?
It will take a developer a full month of work spread over several months to do their firstif they choose to not work with us. Since we’ve already been through the process and know about every step, we can accomplish a retail in significantly less time. From the time we have a retail-ready build, we could probably get the game ready for manufacturing in around 5 – 6 full work days spread over two weeks. Manufacturing takes a month or more, but that is hands off for us.
Is there a specific company who produces the cartridges?
Sony is the only manufacturer of Vita and PS4 games. All of our games are 100% licensed and manufactured by Sony, the same as any other Vita games.
Which conditions do you have to meet for example the amount of units you have to produce etc. to fit Sony rules?
I can’t share specific numbers, but there is definitely minimum order quantities. I think that is probably the #1 reason developers are scared to try a physicalbecause they have to buy X number of copies ahead of . There isn’t a ton of other rules we have to stick to – packaging has to be approved and it needs to conform to their layouts, but there’s tons of freedom when it comes to the actual art. Sony has been great to work with.
What is the most answered question when you’re talking with developers?
“So if these don’t sell, I won’t be in any financial risk?” – the answer to that is yes, because Limited Run assumes all the financial risk in doing a physical run. We pay all the upfront costs for ordering discs.
How do you do the pricing of the games? Can you live from your job at Limited Run Games?
We price our games based on the existing digital price. $24.99 is our lowest price – we have to do that price or it wouldn’t be feasible to do this – but if a game is $19.99, $24.99, or more digitally – the physicalwill end up being $29.99 or more. We have to make sure that doing these releases makes our developers a worthwhile amount of time and at least pays us for our effort. We are able to pay ourselves off of Limited Run, but we’re not making much. We will not be getting rich off of Limited Run – that’s OK, though. Our goals are to make developers as much money as possible and to get as many physical releases out to the world as possible.
Saturday Morning RPG is your second, Cosmic Star Heroine your third game. What lies beyond them?
Stay tuned to our Twitter for announcements. None of our partners are ready to announce yet, but we expect things to start being announced in Early January.
You visited PSX this year. How successful was this event from your company’s view?
It was very successful and a lot of fun! We have a lot of potential games lined up that we are very excited about and cannot wait to announce!
Could you make any new contract which especially Vita owners can be excited about?
We talked to a lot of developers with Vita games – we’re specifically trying to lock down games that are on both PS4 and Vita so we canthe two platforms simultaneously. I wish I could name the specific game but we’ve got two games possibly coming out for Vita that were highly requested. One of them has a huge file size on Vita, so I expect our fans will be super happy to hear about our plans.
What are your aims for 2016?
We want toat least one game per month for both PS4 and Vita. That seems very likely right now.
Offtopic: Do you own aby yourself? If so, what is your favourite game?
Douglas: I own one, and I would have to say my favorite game is Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus.
Josh: I’ve got a Vita and I love it. My favorite game is a toss up between Person 4: Golden or Danganronpa.
Last question: X, Circle, Square, Triangle
Definitely X, because I never knew this until recently – it’s actually called the “CROSS” button and not the X button (I still call it the X button anyways).
Thank you so much guys! Good luck on your adventure!