Why Brütal Legend’s Developers Don’t Do PC Games

Why Brütal Legend’s Developers Don’t Do PC Games
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Double Fine, developers of games like Costume Quest and Brütal Legend, haven’t released a PC game in a long time. Why is that, Double Fine?

“As a developer we do not have final say in the sku plan for our games” says a report on the company’s website. “That is the decision of the person investing the money, i.e. the publisher. We have much of the technology in place to produce PC versions of all these games, but there is still some more work required to make them shippable and that costs money”.

“So far, our publishers have not elected to fund that work. Not because they hate PC Gamers, but because they don’t see enough financial reward. Double Fine does care about PC Gamers, and we always push for a PC version, and will continue to do so in the future. If we ever get super stinking rich here, with enough money to fund PC versions of our games, then we will go back and make them ourselves! Oh man, wouldn’t that be cool?”

It would be very cool. EA, who published Brütal Legend, and THQ, who published Costume Quest: can we have PC versions please? Even if they’re downloadable-only. Just throw them up on Steam or something (where you can, for example, easily grab Double Fine’s excellent Psychonauts). Cheers!

[Double Fine, via Eurogamer]


  • Yeah really, shipping costs is the biggest load of horsesh*t in the world. I believe what Double Fine say is true, I also believe that’s the line they’re fed by EA.

    The comment about being rich and funding PC versions off their own backs rings alarm bells with me.

    I would love some kind of flow chart that shows the steps that need to be taken for a game to be put up on Steam.

    • It may not cost all that much to get a game onto Steam, thus why many indie developers have been able to, but keep in mind that Double Fine is a studio, they have employees that need to be paid salaries. I would believe this is where a lot of the funding would go to, to pay employees.

  • I wonder if you guys really understand how much *work* is involved just in making a game playable for consumer PCs. Steam makes distribution easier, true, but there is a tonne of work that needs to be done before then.

    • Considering that ALL games are initially developed and played on pc before being made compatible with consoles, I would say that the amount of work, required to make a game work on pc is half as much as required to make it work on xbox360, and a 3rd as much required to make the game work on both xbox360 and ps3 (although if you listen to what developers like valve have to say about coding for the ps3, it’s probably more like a 5th of the effort).

      I remember a time when many games where developed exclusively for the pc, those games tended to be less buggy and have better presented content than most cross platform titles today. Most probably because the developers didn’t have to waste time making the games compatible with consoles that have inadequate hardware, limited input devices, and terrible operating systems (I’m looking at you Sony).

      • Developing on (what is usually company-wide) standardised hardware is a far cry from developing for the general public. And even then, there’s still a lot of jiggering that goes in in-house just to get things running similarly enough across multiple developers’ machines.

        Yes, PS3 development is tricky (360 developement less so), but you only have to nail those architectures ONCE. Who knows how many processors are in someone’s PC, and how should those resources be handled? How old is their video hardware and what does it (not) support? PC developers have no definitive answers to these and other questions, which means attempting to make every aspect of your game (even beyond the visual components) as scalable as possible.

      • No necessarily.. They use a SDK that supports all the appropriate APIs that are available for the platform that they’re developing on (PS3 or XBox or Wii) and therefore need to convert those said APIs to the available PC ones when making for PC.

        There is a lot of work in it.

        Still: I’d just rather they developed all 3 or 4 (inc Wii) in tandem so that there is no “porting” – this is what Splash Damage is doing with Brink.

        • I thought that the major advantage of working on games for the 360, was that the API was nearly identical to your standard Windows PC. Therefore porting between the two involved very minimal effort.

      • I recently helped push the PC SKU over the line on a game. I tracked down bugs one QA tester was getting to the fact that they had their computer in low power mode. It’s stuff like that which you don’t have to worry about with development builds and retail console releases.

      • Zack, the support costs for developers and publishers is often ignored. It’s hidden from most gamers. And the support costs for PC gaming is especially high.

        And the problem is that support COSTS. A lot.

        Proper support means hiring and keeping knowledgeable staff, and paying for infrastructure (servers, server maintenance, bug tracking and customer relations systems, etc.)

        Also, unlike development costs, support costs are ONGOING. That is, even when the game stops making money, the support is still required.

        This, combined with piracy, makes the PC very unattractive to developers.

        Not to mention the whining about “console ports”, system requirements, the stupid mouse-vs-controller debates, “lazy developers”, etc.

  • Why does them saying if they were rich they’d go back and fund the PC version themselves right alarm bells? Seems like a bit of an empty statement, like saying if they had the money to fund it they’d give their games away for free, but still it seems like he genuinely wants PC versions to be an option.

  • Games tend to be mostly developed on PC with testing done on the consoles. They’d certainly be able to run the game no problems but as soon as you start introducing different hardware, operating systems, dealing with the display surface being ripped away by alt-tab, networking requirements etc you’re adding months to development time for the final product with very little financial gain.

  • I wonder if the publishers are just plain afraid of the PC platform being too easy to pirate games on. Compared to the consoles, that is, where it’s not so easy (xbox360), or next to impossible (ps3).

    • PS3 is a hell of a lot easier to pirate games for now… No need for soldering, with a USB stick you can rip games to external or the internal HDD’s….

    • Psychonauts has sold better on PC than it did on consoles, thanks to online distribution and the fact most people who played Schafers old adventure games are PC gamers.

      While Double Fine’s new games would get pirated on PC, they get pirated on consoles too. The PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii are all cracked for pirates.

  • Im still bummed EA never released Dante’s Inferno on the PC.. My 360 died and I refuse to get a new one just to finish that game.

  • Maybe if more PC gamers actually PAID for their games, there would be an incentive for developers.

    But given the sorry state of piracy on the platform, plus the hideous support issues and costs involved, I can see why it makes no sense to support the PC.

    Which isn’t to say dealing with MS and Sony and Nintendo is a bed of roses. It’s not. But it’s a business decision, and PC pirates have made the decision for developers.

    Thanks pirates, again, for absolutely nothing.

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