Kathy Rain is a bit of Nancy Drew for adults meets Gabriel Knight for non-hardcore adventure gamers. So far I haven’t run into any puzzles involving cat fur and maple syrup. Instead, it seems to focus on characters, relationships, and something intriguing that doesn’t come along until a little further into the mystery than I’m comfortable revealing. I haven’t played it nearly as much as I’d like, but I’ve played it enough to know I want to keep playing it.
Unfortunately, as of two weeks after its release, it’s a financial failure. But Jonas Antonsson from publisher Raw Fury doesn’t mind. He figures they’re going to make their money over the long run. He figures the positive critical response is going to give Kathy Rain a long sales tale. But he acknowledges this is particularly problematic for a developer, in this case a dude in Sweden named Joel Staaf Hasto. Slow sales mean it takes that much longer for a developer’s cut of the revenue to kick in. As Antonsson says:
Way too often the developer can’t survive this sort of scenario, usually because they don’t have other sources of income. They are — to put it frankly — fucked. This is especially true for newer and smaller developers.
That’s why Raw Fury and Hasto have an unusual deal. As part of the publishing agreement, Raw Fury is paying Hasto to keep working for the next year, regardless of what he’s working on. I don’t know how common this is, and I’m sure it’s easier for Raw Fury to do this with a one-man team than, say, a small studio. But it’s nice to read about a game that has the dubious honor of being a “critical success” (i.e. it’s not making much money) without putting the developer in dire straits.