Small studio Aggro Crab Games has become a publisher of indie horror Subway Midnight, saying it won’t take any fees from its creator unless the game hits 10,000 sales. This unusual decision received praise from other developers.
“We’re not gonna take a single cent from [Bubby Darkstar] unless the game hits 10k sales, so we gotta earn this one!” Aggro Crab Games stated on Twitter.
Bubby Darkstar has been solo-developing psychedelic horror game Subway Midnight for three years. The indie developer gained attention last month after getting over 20K likes on a Twitter post where he was looking for a publisher.
A haunted-house style horror game set on a spooky train!
-Run away from a weirdo!
-Hang out with ghosts!
-Try not to become a ghost yourself!
I solo-dev’d this game for 3 years and it’s done! I just need a publisher to help release it!
(More info in the thread) pic.twitter.com/R3aAEiiXRC
— bubby darkstar (@bubbydarkstar) September 22, 2021
Aggro Crab Games had no experience in this field and only developed dungeon crawler Going Under, but still decided to publish Subway Midnight. Although the studio hasn’t shared all details of its contract, it received positive feedback from the developer community.
“I’m calling it, this is the new minimum offer for publishers,” indie developer and activist Rami Ismail wrote. “Please henceforth do not sign any deal that does not include 100% share to the dev for the first 10K sales.”
Game designer Tyler Glaiel, however, corrected Ismail, saying, “‘unless they hit 10k sales’ means they take a cut on 0 sales if the game has 9999 sales, but they take a cut on all 10,000 if the game gets 10,000 sales.”
Yep, it’s the latter. But we’re only taking 10%, so I think by then we’ll have earned it -Nick
— AGGROOoOoOOooOoOoOOO CRAB (@AggroCrabGames) October 8, 2021
Artie narrative designer Nathan Savant was also impressed by the deal: “I don’t like this kind of game, but this publishing deal rocks and I want to see it more often.”
Aggro Crab’s offer is different from standard publishing deals in the games industry. Typically, companies offer a fixed share to developers and sometimes don’t pay them royalties until they recoup the investment.