The creator of popular Steam survival game Rust has hit out at Unity amid the ongoing furore around new charges.
Unity sent shockwaves through the video game industry when it announced a new policy that means some developers will have to pay a small fee every time someone downloads a game built on Unity’s game engine.
The Unity Runtime Fee, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024, was universally panned by developers on social media following the announcement. Unity later walked back some aspects of the policy amid escalating anger from developers, insisting the fee would only apply to the initial installation of a game, and that developers would not be on the hook for installations through subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass, with fees instead being passed to platform holders such as Xbox.
However, significant concern remains, and the backlash has only grown more vociferous. A number of high-profile developers have said Unity’s new policy will significantly affect their plans, with some questioning whether they will use Unity going forward. Cult of the Lamb and Among Us are among the high-profile games that face being pulled from digital marketplaces if Unity continues with its plan. Unity has since insisted 90% of its customers are unaffected by the change.
Developer Garry Newman, founder of Facepunch Studios and creator of the phenomenally popular Garry’s Mod, penned a blog post with some choice words for the management team at embattled video game engine maker Unity.
“Maybe they forgot about PC gaming. Again,” Newman said. “It hurts because we didn’t agree to this. We used the engine because you pay up front and then ship your product. We weren’t told this was going to happen. We weren’t warned. We weren’t consulted.
“We have spent 10 years making Rust on Unity’s engine. We’ve paid them every year. And now they changed the rules.
“Unity has shown its power. We can see what they can and are willing to do. You can’t un-ring that bell.
“Unity is the worst company to be in charge of the Unity Engine.
“The trust is gone.”
Newman then went on to reveal plans to make a sequel to Rust, and lamented not building a proprietary engine for the job.
“We had 10 years to make our own engine and never did. I’m sure a lot of game companies are feeling the same today.
“Let’s not make the same mistake again, Rust 2 definitely won’t be a Unity game.”
Unity faces a number of questions around this new policy, such as how it tracks installs, and who is considered the “distributing party” and therefore must foot the bill for these new charges. IGN understands multiple publishers and developers of unannounced Unity games are currently scrambling to prevent their deals from collapsing following the news, with first-parties concerned about absorbing increased costs. Meanwhile, Unity, helmed by former EA boss John Riccitiello, is under increasing pressure to scrap the policy entirely. Developers have also criticised Unity for removing the engine’s terms of service from GitHub.
Rami Ismail, who co-founded Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, and Nuclear Throne developer Vlambeer, summed up the anti-Unity sentiment in a post on X: “It remains an enormous uncertainty for developers, a retro-active adjustment to terms, an absurd amount of extra tracking, a technical impossibility, and the only business model that can bankrupt you.”
I’m afraid this changes exactly nothing to the four points I mentioned yesterday. It remains an enormous uncertainty for developers, a retro-active adjustment to terms, an absurd amount of extra tracking, a technical impossibility, & the only business model that can bankrupt you. https://t.co/0fG8mZuaLW
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) September 14, 2023
Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at email@example.com or confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org.