Iron Lore Entertainment Closure Interview

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GB: THQ's Michael Fitch recently vented his frustration about the rampant amount of piracy on the PC. Would you say that piracy of Titan Quest was a contributing factor to Iron Lore's closing?

Paul: Well, I think that Michael's point is correct. That is, if we had realized more revenue from Titan Quest then we would have been in better financial shape, and it would have been more likely that we would have made Titan Quest 2 with THQ. If that had happened, we obviously would still be in business. So I would agree that it was an indirect reason, something that had a lot to do with the overall situation the company was in.

I also agree with him that piracy in general is a huge problem for the PC market. Despite the huge profits made by hit games, in general it's a tough business in which to make money both for publishers and developers. There just isn't much margin for losing revenue, and I think that is a significant factor in the move away from the PC platform. And that's only talking about established markets like the US and Europe. There are huge areas of the world where there would be viable markets except for the fact that piracy makes them untenable. For example, Titan Quest was one of the top selling games in Russia last year, but no significant revenue was generated from that. Why? Because the game has to be sold for a pittance due to rampant piracy.

So I completely agree with Michael that it's a huge problem for the industry. And unfortunately it's a problem with no good solution at the moment. If you read many of the comment threads on Michael's post it's clear that the current DRM solutions are very frustrating for the customers, and not very effective. That's why we removed copy protection from Titan Quest in a patch, and shipped Immortal Throne without it. Unfortunately we paid a price for that as well, as Immortal Throne was leaked a week before it hit the shelves and that sure didn't help our sales. Right now it's a bad situation for everyone: gamers, developers, and publishers alike.

GB: What do you think could have been done differently to ensure that Iron Lore would be able to continue operating for years to come? Do you think an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 port of Titan Quest might have helped?

Paul: We actually had discussions about just such a project, but ultimately it didn't see the light of day. We were in the process of moving to the console, and were showing a demo of our new product on the 360. It's a difficult transition though, and that undoubtedly made our sales cycle more difficult.

GB: How about a Titan Quest II? Was such a sequel ever considered or possibly even in development prior to the studio's closing?

Paul: It was talked about, and was a project we really wanted to do, but all I can say with certainty that Iron Lore won't be developing it :) Beyond that, as the owner of the property, the future of Titan Quest is up to THQ.

GB: Who actually owns the Titan Quest IP? Is there any chance that it could be sold to another developer or otherwise revisited sometime in the future?

Paul: THQ owns the IP. All that you mention is possible, it's entirely at their discretion.

GB: Is there anything else you'd like to add about the closure, the future of Titan Quest, or even the state of PC gaming?

Paul: I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who played and enjoyed our games. It was incredibly rewarding for us to be able to create products that people found fun. I only wish it could have continued longer.

Thanks for creating one of the best action RPGs in existence, Paul. We certainly wish the best for you and the rest of the team going forward.