'Serious Sam' Developer Teams Up With Denuvo Cracker To Pump Up Sales For Failed Game
from the pirates-are-our-friends dept
In all of our conversations about video game piracy and the DRM that studios and publishers use to try to stave it off, the common refrain from those within in the industry and others is that these cracking groups are nearly nihilism personified. Nothing is sacred to these people, goes the mantra, and they care nothing for the gaming industry at all. If the gaming industry is destroyed, it will be because of these pirate-y pirates simply not giving a damn.
This notion is belied by the story of Crackshell, makers of indie spinoff of the Serious Sam franchise called Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour, and Voksi, an individual that runs a game-cracking ring. Voksi has been featured in our pages before as one of the few people out there who has been able to consistently defeat the Denuvo DRM, helping propel the software’s precipitous fall from grace. If a game developer and a game-cracker seem to be natural enemies, it will come as a surprise to you that they have recently teamed up to try to resurrect Bogus Detour from the bin of failure.
The whole story is useful for debunking the notion that these pirate sites and those that run them are pure venom for the game industry, but it’s particularly useful to hear how this relationship came to be.
In discussion with TF over the weekend, Voksi told us that he’s a huge fan of the Serious Sam franchise so when he found out about the latest title – Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour (SSBD) – he wanted to play it – badly. That led to a remarkable series of events.
“One month before the game’s official release I got into the closed beta, thanks to a friend of mine, who invited me in. I introduced myself to the developers [Crackshell]. I told them what I do for a living, but also assured them that I didn’t have any malicious intents towards the game. They were very cool about it, even surprisingly cool,” Voksi informs TF.
When the game hit the market, Voksi didn’t target it. Despite this hands-off approach from a capable game-cracker, sales for the title were very poor. Reviews on Steam were great, critics generally liked it, and yet as of the end of 2017 the game wasn’t even profitable. Bucking the stereotype, Voksi reached out to Crackshell and offered to help.
“Last week I contacted the main dev of SSBD over Steam and proposed what I can do to help boost the game. He immediately agreed,” Voksi says.
“The plan was to release a build of the game that was playable from start to finish, playable in co-op with up to 4 players, not to miss anything important gameplay wise and add a little message in the bottom corner, which is visible at all times, telling you: “We are small indie studio. If you liked the game, please consider buying it. Thank you and enjoy the game!”
Voksi, who is doing all of this for free, then went on to tie in giveaways for the pirate version of the game on his own forum for his cracking group. This work, done pro bono, is all the result of Voksi liking the game, liking the developer, and desperately wanting both to succeed. If ever there were a rebuttal to the notion of pirate groups as nihilistic and selfish, this is certainly it.
This whole experiment will also serve as a wonderful test of how useful engaging the supposed enemies of gaming by studios would be. Keep in mind that this game was already a failure in terms of being profitable, despite being a good game by all accounts. If engaging with pirate groups and sites can suddenly make it profitable? Well, that would seem to turn even more claims about piracy on their head.