TitanReach addresses early access funding – and how it pays its staff

Remember when the worst thing this game did was nonsense about avoiding auction houses?

We have updated this piece with additional comments from the developer at the end. The original piece follows.

If you are working on an MMO, you should be getting paid to do so. Please, developers, do not work for free in an industry worth billions – that goes for the devs of Titan Reach too, some of whom are apparently working volunteer on the unreleased MMO, according to the latest Titan Reach developer dispatch:

“The majority of our team works 40 hours a week, and some even work unpaid out of passion.”

This comes from an explanation of the game’s finances in the latest dispatch; Square Root studios discusses how much money is being spent on development costs and where the money is going. “We have currently paid out three fortnightly payments to our developers since we started on the 10th of January,” the team writes. “We said we needed US$ 15K for our team of 10 developers, and other costs. In our first month we achieved 11 developers with a fortnightly expenditure of US$ 7,150.”

If you were thinking that the game’s early access state would be functionally the same as the demo, know that the main thrust of the post is that this is not the case, with a large number of store-bought assets replaced and features like trading, friend lists, and running water implemented. Other systems (like combat) have not yet been addressed due to more time required for creating animations.

As readers will recall, Titan Reach’s unsuccessful Kickstarter last year was followed by a stated plan for Indiegogo that devs later vehemently told skeptical press would be an all-or-nothing endeavor, but that campaign never happened. Instead, the team opened piecemeal private crowdfunding through its own website and told fans in December that more funding was needed to keep the game from collapse.

“Without raising the money, we have raised over the last two months, this game would be dead, and a large part of that money was raised to play in Early Access,” the studio says in this latest missive. “It is easy to say that it is too expensive and that we should make it cheaper. But if we reduced the price, the game would not be around right now. Please wait until the Alpha if you cannot afford it. By then our game will be cheaper and overall, much better.”

Update 2/19
As commenters have brought to our attention, the Titan Reach team appears to have edited its dev blog without disclosing the edits, such that it no longer says “The majority of our team works 40 hours a week, and some even work unpaid out of passion.” The edited version now says “The majority of our team work 40 hours a week, with some doing more than that, unpaid for the extra. because passion.” These are obviously substantive edits that drastically alter the studio’s claims about pay. You can view the original version that we quoted on the Wayback Machine because the internet is forever.
Update 2/26
A representative for TitanReach contacted us this week to let us know that the game’s original blog post misspoke, hence its rewrite. The devs studio also made apologies for not noting the edits (thereby unwittingly bringing down the wrath of its playerbase on us when we reported both the original and the edit). The devs have further clarified its pay situation too: “Ever since we have been funded, everyone on the team has been paid. We don’t have volunteers,” the devs told us. “The wording was supposed to say, anyone working above 40 hours were not paid for those extra hours, that is done out of passion. We have a strict budget to follow and members of the team know 40hr is the cap. Some choose to work more because they are enjoying it.”
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