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Why Dwarf Fortress' creators turned down a six-figure licensing deal

Dwarf Fortress co-creators Zach and Tarn Adams were approached by a publisher seeking rights to license a series offshoot, the pair revealed in a feature interview with Gamasutra.

Tarn Adams explained that an unnamed publisher had offered himself and his brother six figures to use the Dwarf Fortress brand — a name synonymous with the series' hardcore, ASCII-rendered world-building gameplay — as the title of one of its own games.

"There was an offer to use the Dwarf Fortress name — sort of 'Dwarf Fortress: Subtitle' or whatever — they wanted to brand one of their other games," Adams said. "And the amount of money on the table was six figures.

"When you look at that you think well, there's trade-offs," he added. "Does the brand get cheapened? Are you deceiving people? As long as they're clear this is not Dwarf Fortress or whatever, and this is not Dwarf Fortress with graphics, as people call a lot of things that are coming out these days. As long as you're upfront and honest, there's not technically a problem with that — it's our brand to piss all over if we want."

Adams also spoke on the possibility of a mobile or PlayStation Vita port of the 11-year-old series. Though tablets' "specs are starting to get into line" with the processing power the game requires from PCs, making a mobile port plausible, Adams said a Vita port is less likely, as they're not keen on giving the code for the game "to anybody for any reason."

For more on Dwarf Fortress' past, present and lengthy future, check out Gamasutra's full interview.

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