One thing the gaming industry is somewhat notorious for is the secrecy surrounding its different practices. Most studios don’t reveal the intricacies of their day-to-day operations or contracts, keeping gamers and industry workers alike in the dark. But Raw Fury has made a bold move in opposition to this standard, releasing several templates used in its business dealings, including the details of their standard contract with game studios publicly in a statement on December 22.
Raw Fury has developed a reputation as a developer-friendly publisher over the years, even supporting one of its indie teams for a full-year past release despite small profits, and this move seems to be another step in line with that ethos. According to its statement, the reasoning for this decision was based in empathy for developers trying to navigate the confusing landscape of the industry.
“A lot of the humans working at Raw Fury have at some point been a developer, working for some of the most recognized AAA game studios to fledgling indie outfits. Learning which sorts of deals were out there was tough, if not impossible, unless you knew the right people who could then share that information (broadly) with you. We believe having publisher contracts out in the open helps level the playing field, and allows devs to have a more intimate understanding of the machinations of different deals when they start looking for partnerships. We hope sharing this knowledge can help combat shady practices where predatory people and companies fleece devs by virtue of this knowledge being so scarce, trapping developers in bad deals through the obscurity of legal jargon. When you’ve been in the industry for a while you start hearing the horror stories, and while this is not going to end all of that — it is a step in the right direction.”
By providing its contract publicly, Raw Fury has made the industry a bit more transparent, providing insight into what developers should be looking to add and avoid when it comes to signing on with a publisher. Virtual Economy has a more thorough breakdown of what all the Raw Fury contract says and what it means for developers more broadly, but there are some basic takeaways. Instead of using milestone-based payouts, where developers get more money for production after hitting certain key points in development, Raw Fury uses a monthly disbursement plan instead. This allows developers to have a schedule of when they’ll get their funding ahead of time. Raw Fury also provides funding at the contract’s effective date, so studios have access to money as soon as the project gets started.
For now it remains to be seen how Raw Fury’s transparency will be taken by the rest of the industry. Hopefully it will be a catalyst for more ethical and honest practices going forward.