Independent developer is releasing an official pirated version of their next game, ‘no strings attached’

Please fix the road is a lovely, laid-back puzzle game about – in case the title wasn’t offering enough – fixing roads. The objective is to move and manipulate tiles of various types to ensure that cars, boats, trains and even animals can go from where they are to where they need to be. It’s scheduled to come out in June and will be available on Steam, GTHEG, Itch.ioand various pirated torrents.

Games are inevitably pirated, it’s true, but this is actually an “official” pirate release, complete with pirate version special features. Not a killer scorpion, donkey cap or anything else that mark or punish pirates for his transgression, however: developer Ariel Jurkowski said on Twitter that there will be “no restrictions” on the version of Please Fix the Road released on torrent sites.

“The pirated version will have all release levels but no updates,” he wrote. “No strings attached. There’s an extra pirate-themed song at the beginning, changed intro sequence, a pirate face instead of the cog wheel options icon, and a request in the options menu to buy the game. Cheers!”

This isn’t the first time a game developer has given the green light to piracy. The manufacturers of Miami hot line, dark wood, Danger Watchersand loop hero all have done the same thing in recent years, and often for similar reasons. “It would be pirated anyway and I don’t blame anyone for that, is what it is,” Jurkowski said in a follow-up tweet. “I hope at least some people appreciate the gesture, maybe I’ll get some PR points out of it.”

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Jurkowski said in a DM conversation that he has a clear memory of Game Dev Tycoon infamous anti-piracy system, which induced pirates to publicly expose themselves. “I also enjoy watching YouTube videos related to games with easter eggs, developer secrets and such,” he said. “In these videos, content creators often show weird things that developers have implemented for pirates, so I think the general idea for a pirated version came from that.”

“Gamedev is hard, making money from it is even harder. I’m simply trying to show myself and my game to people. I think a developer pirated version is not only an interesting and surprising thing to do, but also a very consumer friendly.”

For those who don’t want to be reminded of their crime, the DRM-free release on GOG and Itch.io means that the “non-pirated” version of Please Fix the Road will likely appear in torrents almost immediately upon release. But Jurkowski said he doesn’t care if people pirate the game and doesn’t want to demonize whoever does.

“I’m not interested in getting mad at people playing my game without paying for it,” he said. “I used to pirate games as a kid, I get you!”

Naturally, there’s hope that at least some people who pirate the game will eventually buy it to support the developer, but there’s “no concern” for those who don’t: “I don’t feel like people steal from me if they do. you can use it as a demo, you can use it as a full version, you’re a pirate and you don’t need smelly permissions!”

The price of Please Fix the Road isn’t listed yet, but Jurkowski said it will retail for $10, with a 10% discount during the first three days of release – “or, you know, free if you pirate it. 🙂 “

Thanks, VG247.

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