Back in 2014 Gloomywood put their new game 2Dark on Ulule, an European crowdfunding site. 2Dark is a survival game that sees players attempting to save as many children as possible from the clutches of various serial killers. One of the promises of the campaign, and one backers are pretty passionate about, was the fact that 2Dark would not have any DRM. Now, however, that appears to not be the case.
Recently, 2Dark's Steam Store page was updated with this message on the sidebar: "Incorporates 3rd-party DRM: Denuvo Antitamper." That got the attention of some backers who naturally started asking questions. We reached out to Gloomywood for some clarity on the issue.
Thierry Platon, co-founder of Gloomywood, told us that the DRM came from Bigben Interactive, their publisher. Originally they had not signed on to a publisher but ended up needing one to complete 2Dark. Bigben decided to use Denuvo at some point, which was then reflected on the Steam Store page. Thierry sees this as a bit of a trade-off and recognized in his email to us that some backers would be disappointed, but others may be excited as 2Dark will now be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One thanks to signing with Bigben.
We have reached out for further clarity on the situation from both Gloomywood and Bigben Interactive. In the FAQ section of the Ulule campaign, there is a question about DRM, asking which 2Dark will use and this was the answer:
2Dark will be distributed through Steam, but also on other platforms (GOG, Desura, etc.) which don't use DRM. Which means the version you get won't have DRM...Desura no longer exists and Steam itself is a sort of DRM, but the answer does specifically mention GOG, which is completely DRM free. However, Thierry's answer to us in that same email mentioned before specifically stated the game would be releasing on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and when we requested further clarification about whether there would be a GOG version, we got no response from either Thierry or Big Ben about the situation, leading us to believe it will not be coming to GOG. We have also asked Big Ben for some further information and will update this article if we hear more. We reached out to ask whether or not 2Dark will feature a DRM free version purchasable elsewhere, like GOG, and will update this article if hear back.
2Dark releases today in North America on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $25.
3/15/17 Update: Big Ben has posted a statement on 2Dark's Steam discussions about the use of DRM. The statement talks of the benefits of using Denuvo and DRM in general, as well as stating that the scope of 2Dark's development has changed beyond what was originally planned, leading to changes. Of the response, this will likely stick out to most:
Gloomywood’s crowd-funding campaign did not mention a DRM, but the campaign has evolved much more than originally anticipated.At first glance that seems to mean that the 2Dark campaign did not mention DRM whatsoever, but the actual meaning seems to be that the campaign did not mention it would use a DRM. Again, that's how it appears, but the poor wording is causing some confusion. If they actually mean the former, then all one needs to do is look at the quoted section from earlier in this article. The FAQ of the Ulule campaign specifically mentioned versions of 2Dark that would be DRM free.
Also, Big Ben noted, in a separate discussion, that there was no Linux version of 2Dark "planned yet," which the Ulule campaign mentions should be coming. There has been no mention of a Mac version, also promised in the Ulule campaign. Considering 2Dark's website only shows Steam, PS4, and Xbox One, it seems a Mac version is in the same situation as Linux.
Big Ben has still not replied to our inquiries for further clarification.
3/17/17 Update: We have received a response from Big Ben. Their response is as follows:
Why use a DRM?We have reached out for further clarification about the status of a Linux or Mac version of 2Dark, clarification on their statement made on Steam, and other issues. If we receive a response, we will update this article again.
In our experience, this DRM system has proven useful against piracy. Many game studios make use of it in order to protect their creations. As the publisher of 2Dark, Bigben Interactive is also responsible for the protection of 2Dark and its intellectual propriety against piracy.
We know that protection can be cracked, and while that can usually be in the first days to the first weeks, those first days and weeks of sales are essential for publishers and developers, so we feel it is necessary to take the best steps we can to protect against piracy.
In regard to the GOG version, the answer is simple: as 2Dark is not DRM-free, we are not able to publish it on GOG.
Why no Mac & Linux versions?
Being a growing but still mid-sized publisher, our focus during the last years of activity has been focused on improving the quality and the audience of our titles.
We know that Linux and Mac players are an important community but, right now, we don’t publish our titles on these platforms. We would be happy to reconsider this strategy when our portfolio of titles re-align with this audience and / or when the economic indicators of this audience turn green.
About the Ulule campaign, Gloomywood Ulule campaign took place quite a while before Bigben signed a publishing contact with the developers. Bigben didn’t promise anything on their part. It is also worth noting that, while this crowdfunding campaign undoubtedly helped Gloomywood during the early stages of development, the game's creative ambition asked for a greater means. Bigben believes in the creative vision of 2Dark and wanted to bring the game to consoles and this is also because Bigben's strategy is to focus on those markets in order to meet with a broader audience.
What do you think of this DRM situation? Was the trade-off worth it? Let us know in the comments below!