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Feature: 'Postmortem: Stardock's Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords'

Today's main postmortem feature gives a unique look at the development, publishing, and marketing of Stardock's Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords as told by S...
Today's main postmortem feature gives a unique look at the development, publishing, and marketing of Stardock's Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords as told by Stardock Founder and CEO Brad Wardell. Relaying exactly went right and what went wrong, Wardell gives a rare look at planning budgets and financial forecasting. In the following excerpt, Wardell talks about the first Galactic Civilizations and how its success did not necessarily equal a profit due to unforeseen circumstances but merited the making of a sequel: "Galactic Civilizations was released at roughly the same time as Master of Orion III. For a variety of reasons, Master of Orion III ended up helping the sales of Galactic Civilizations tremendously. Between that March and the end of that year, the game sold approximately 50,000 retail units in North America and about 15,000 electronically. It would eventually go on to sell approximately 150,000 copies worldwide. The unexpected success did not translate to a windfall or income, however. Publisher Strategy First filed for bankruptcy without paying a significant portion of the royalties we were owed. So for a good chunk of retail sales, we never saw a penny. In addition, because our publisher's financial issues became critical in the middle of release, Stardock ended up taking on an increasing amount of the marketing and support burden. On units we were paid for, our royalty did not end up $10 per unit but closer to $7 per unit. Aspiring developers make note -- on a $39.95 game, if you're the developer, you can probably expect to make around $7 per unit at the high end if you're not the publisher. The game's success guaranteed a sequel would be made. The question was purely how we would go about it. Stardock's business software division was doing incredibly well financially and put us in the position where we could afford to both develop and publish the sequel." You can now read the full Gamasutra postmortem, including the reasons why this was the toughest Stardock project yet (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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