Unfold Games, the indie developer of DARQ who refused EGS exclusivity, recently revealed some horrendous offers that publishers made, such as soaking up 80 per cent of net revenue while grabbing IP rights.
Publishers can offer terrible deals to developers and countless studios have perished due to not meeting monetary gain requirements of the groups who don't actually develop the game but handle the marketing side of things instead.
Considering that studios employing tens, if not hundreds, of employees are not safe from such ambitions, it is hardly a wonder that indies have to deal with horrible offers all the time. Despite the public's relative knowledge of unsavoury practices, it is still chilling to see some of the "partnership" offers indie devs go through.
Unfold Games, who originally filled headlines after refusing the Epic Games Store exclusivity deal even though DARQ's performance on Steam was uncertain at that time, recently announced that the game is arriving to consoles and answered a few questions in the associated Reddit thread.
One Redditor asked what the process of porting the game to consoles was like, at which point Unfold revealed the partnership with Feardemic, Bloober Team's publishing branch. According to the dev, porting DARQ to console would be impossible without these folks and while he's happy to partner up with them, it literally took years to find one good publisher.
Despite going for self-publishing on PC, DARQ developer apparently received many offers for publishing, although the conditions were terrible. While Unfold didn't describe the offers with that exact term, their particulars speak volumes.
In some instances, the publishers "were trying to take away [Unfold's] IP rights along with crazy revenue cuts". Considering that those cuts amounted to "70%-80% of net revenue" it really isn't a stretch to dub them as crazy.
When you couple them with the attempts to take control of the IP rights, one could come close to calling this a borderline robbery since Unfold would only be left with spare change for all those years of work.
As you are reading this, you are probably thinking that only a fool would accept a deal like that but keep in mind that there is something that keeps these people's "business" afloat.
From the perspective of Unfold , these schemes likely succeed from time to time because indie developers tend to have a "lack of experience, lack of resources to hire a good attorney, as well as the impostor syndrome and the fear of marketing". These problems are more prevalent when working on one's first game.