Dwarf Fortress is headed to Steam and, 17 years into its development

The game had previously been funding development primarily through Patreon but its devs say health issues and the "uncertain structure of Patreon" led to the change.

Bay 12’s free-to-play ASCII art game Dwarf Fortress is headed to digital storefronts as a premium game with a new look.

Tarn and Zach Adams, the brothers behind the development of the game, are working with Kitfox Games to publish the title and provide art for the upcoming premium release, but the duo says that the free-to-play variant they’ve been working on and steadily updating for well over a decade isn’t going anywhere.

Prior to this announcement, Bay 12 had supported the development of the game through its Patreon which, at the time of writing, brings in roughly $5,900 a month. However, in an update shared to that page, Tarn and Zach note that both current and potential health issues make sticking to only that one source of income a risky move. 

“Your support is still crucial,” reads the Patreon update. “As the Steam release may or may not bring us the added stability we're seeking now and it's some months away.”

The ASCII version of Dwarf Fortress, now Dwarf Fortress Classic, will remain a free download on the developer’s website and will still receive new features as the dev team creates them. The Steam and Itch versions of Dwarf Fortress meanwhile will feature new tile art, music, and sound effects along with Steam Workshop integration and regular mod support. 

“Even though this change was brought about by uncertainty and concern, now that we're on this path, we're determined to make an excellent go of it with underlying changes in accessibility and modding which redound to everybody, no matter which version they play,” explains the post.

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