Acid Wizard Studios, the Polish indie developers behind the recently released top-down horror shooter Darkwood just put up an official version of their game for free on torrent website. The studio says that this is so that players who can't afford it can get a free, legal copy of the game, and at the same time putting a stop to controversial key resellers.
Acid Wizard Studios put out an interesting blog post through the image hosting website Imgur. It recounts how the studio was formed, how three college friends who didn't like horror games set out to make a horror game (without jump scares), and the years long development of their game.
We knew next to nothing about game development before starting work on Darkwood. We all had a background in animation / graphic design, but little idea about programming, game design or production. At one point we quit our day jobs and dived straight into developing our first game, with no backup plan.
When Darkwood finally came out, Acid Wizard Studios encountered a problem that faces a lot of video game developers, especially on the indie side of things: scammers who would email asking for free codes claiming to be a content producer, but who would just end up selling the codes on controversial resellers like G2A.
"To be honest we're fed up with it. This process makes it impossible for us to do any giveaways or send keys to people who actually don't have the money to play Darkwood," wrote the developers. Furthermore, Acid Wizard Studios seems sympathetic to players who are genuinely interested in playing their game, but can't for financial reasons.
So, the studio decided to put up a version of the game on torrent websites. It's a clean version with no viruses, or changes that indicates that the version is pirated like pirate hats on characters or things like that. The studio asks players that if they enjoy the game, to consider purchasing a retail version when it's on sale.
"[I]f you like Darkwood and want us to continue making games, consider buying it in the future, maybe on a sale, through Steam, GOG or Humble Store. But please, please, don't buy it through any key reselling site. By doing that, you're just feeding the cancer that is leeching off this industry."
This is a pretty cool move from Acid Wizard Studios, both as a show of good will and a way to send a message to key resellers that have come under a lot of scrutiny as of late for undermining the indie gaming community. You can find links to purchase and download Darkwood in the studio's original Imgur post here.