Modern Wolf is a new independent publisher popping onto the scene, promising more “ethical” publishing practices and the dissolution of crunch culture. These fatuous claims all sound nice on paper, but it’s another thing to operate a business based on these principles.
GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that former director of marketing and business development at Splash Damage, Fernando Rizzo, and former creative director at Splash Damage, Andreas Gschwari, have respectively taken up positions as CEO and CCO of the London based Modern Wolf.
According to the article, the company declared in a press statement…
“From zero tolerance on crunch, to an acute sensitivity to mental health wellbeing, this means taking an active role in holding itself and its development partners to the highest standards possible,”
These platitudes come from the media’s negative circulation of stories about crunch time in the mainstream gaming space. Many activists posing as journalists have been pushing for unionizing the game industry in order to reduce the presence of crunch, and other practices that they deem ill-suited for the industry.
The publisher is just starting out so their portfolio is rather undernourished at the moment, but they already have five studios under their wing, including Indonesian developer Toge Productions, who are currently working on Necronator: Dead Wrong.
They’ve also signed on Bottle Games, who is currently developing Ostronauts, along with Cinder Cone Studios, who is working on Skeleton Crew. The other two games they’re helping publish includes Mi-Clos Studio’s Out There: Ocean of Time and LRDG’s Rogue State: Revolution.
Most of these games are a long ways off from release, with release windows hovering between the 2020 and 2021 bracket. So we won’t know for sure how well Modern Wolf will be able to hold up in today’s market until a year or two from now.
While they’re currently claiming that they’re avoiding crunch culture and trying to be ethical about their publishing, we’ll see how well that ethos holds up when a game falls short and they need to fill in the dockets during a quarter where revenue is looking a little thin. It’s easy to have high and mighty principles when times are good, but will they hold up during the bad?
(Thanks for the news tip Rob Far)