The makers of Cult of the Lamb, Among Us and Frogsong are among the developers who’ve said they’re quitting Unity in the wake of its Runtime Fee debacle.
Well, that escalated quickly. In the space of one announcement, and two short words – ‘Runtime Fee’ – Unity has managed to anger great swathes of the games industry in one fell swoop. News that the company announcing that games using the platform will be subject to a new set of charges from 1 January 2024 – albeit above certain thresholds – has provoked an outcry from even normally mild-mannered developers.
The debacle is, as our Lewis Packwood pointed out, Unity’s own Don Mattrick moment – a developer-relations own-goal that, like the horrendously botched Xbox One unveiling a decade ago, caused outcry and left the company scrambling to provide clarifications.
Even after Unity has sought to reassure developers that they wouldn’t be charged for things like demos, Game Pass downloads or re-installs, the sense of frustration and distrust still lingers. Several developers have even taken the step of saying they’re either porting their game to a different platform, or will cease using Unity in future projects.
Here’s an at-a-glance guide to the studios and solo devs who’ve said they’re quitting Unity so far…
Known for: Super Cat Tales series
What they say: “I started making this game with #Unity but since they now want to charge per player game install I wonder how easy would it be to port it to #Godot Either way, I’ll never touch Unity again.”
Known for: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
What they say: “We would love to stick with the engine we have used to make our games for the past 10 years, but at present, we don’t see how we can start any new projects using Unity when there is no way to know what kind of retroactive business model they might throw at us in the future.”
Known for: Another Crab’s Treasure
What they say: “This decision puts us and countless other studios in a position where we might not be able to justify using Unity for our future titles. If these changes aren’t rolled back, we’ll be heavily considering abandoning our wealth of Unity expertise we’ve accumulated over the years and starting from scratch in a new engine.”
Known for: Cult of the Lamb
What they say: “Buy Cult of the Lamb now, cause we’re deleting it on Jan 1st.”
Known for: Orbo’s Odyssey
What they say: “If Unity goes through with this completely psychotic plan, I will be terminating all FDSW projects and migrating to a new engine. This will create heavy delays for Nowhere, MI.”
Known for: Frogsong
What they say: “Frogsong’s Nintendo Switch port will continue to be developed in Unity, as it’s far too late to change engines, but we will not be working in Unity for future games. We cannot stand by these decisions, and we cannot afford the risk it would place on our small team.”
Known for: Among Us
What they say: “If this goes through, we’d delay content and features our players actually want to port our game elsewhere (as others are also considering). But many other developers won’t have the tie or means to do the same. Stop it. WTF?”
Known for: Slay the Spire
What they say: “Despite the immense amount of time and effort our team has already poured into development on our new title, we will be migrating to a new engine unless the changes are completely reverted and TOS protections are put in place.”
Known for: Bread & Fred
What they say: “We’ve been using Unity for a long time. Bread & Fred was born because of the facilities and community Unity has, which gave us the possibility of learning this engine. Seeing the recent changes in their politics and fees, Sand Castles is not going to use Unity in upcoming projects.”
Known for: Publishing Hotline Miami, Serious Sam, Broforce, and so on
What they say: “Definitely include what engine you’re using in game pitches. It’s important information!”
Still to come…?
At the time of writing, we don’t even know what the industry’s titans, from Activision to Nintendo to Microsoft will make of it. Genshin Impact was built in Unity. Pokemon Go is Unity-based. It’ll be interesting to see how the broader industry responds to Unity’s confounding new pricing system.