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Outriders dev People Can Fly is switching to self-publishing

People Can Publish.

Justin Carter

February 10, 2023

2 Min Read
Screenshot of People Can Fly's Outriders.

Going forward, developer People Can Fly says it'll be publishing most of its own games for the foreseeable future. In the developer's recent financial report, it stated that the option may end up being "much more profitable than the model of cooperation with publishers carried out to date."

Publishing head Vladamir Makarychev said that self-publishing would instill greater control for People Can Fly over its projects, and retain more sales revenue than splitting it with a publisher. "We have no doubt that in the longer perspective, this may be a much more profitable business than the model to date of cooperating with publishers."

Over the years, People Can Fly worked with big name publishers EA (for 2011's Bulletstorm), Epic Games (2013's Gears of War Judgment and 2017's Fortnite: Save the World), and Square Enix (2021's Outriders). All four games earned solid reviews but were otherwise underperformed commercially or were left behind by their respective communities. 

With Outriders specifically, the developer noted months after its release that Square Enix hadn't paid the studio any royalties. The game itself, while having 3.5 million players at launch, didn't help get the publisher out of its sales slump that year. 

Makarychev acknowledged the risks that come with self-publishing but said it could be mitigated by "diversifying the portfolio of games and developing multiple games simultaneously.”

Under the self-publish model, People Can Fly expects to generate 3 billion PLN (or $670.5 million) from 2023-2027.

Speaking to the developer's future output, CEO Sebastien Wojciechowski pointed out that the developer's two North American teams are in current pre-production on "two entirely new games from the AAA segment, with attractive target groups." 

Even while publishing its own work, People Can Fly still plans on being a work-for-hire studio on "selected projects [...] These arrangements provide financial stability for the company, with room to experiment and innovate, and if the projects break [even,] generate additional financial benefits."

One of the work-for-hire projects mentioned to be in development will be published by Square Enix. Known currently as Project Gemini, the unannounced project is expected to release in 2026. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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