Will Stallwood is a gambler. He's had the same addiction for years, yet he's never stepped foot inside a casino.

He's never found himself hunched over a table fitted with worn green felt, sliding his last two chips between sweaty, shaking palms. He's never felt the sick dread as a slot machine whirs through its final frame; he doesn't know if he prefers red or black. Stallwood has been addicted to gambling on the success of his indie studio, Cipher Prime, since its triumphant launch of Auditorium in 2008. But this year feels different. This year Stallwood feels as if his lucky streak may finally be running out.

Cipher Prime isn't an unknown team of novice developers working out of a garage, but that doesn't mean they're rolling in dough either. Its previous titles were successful, but after a deal went raw with Fractal's publisher, Zoo Games, Cipher Prime was stuck with a rushed title and more debt than it ever expected.

Stallwood and Cipher Prime co-founder Dain Saint had to legally fight for the rights to their own game, eventually getting them back more than 200 days after Fractal launched on the App Store. Saint and Stallwood were understandably turned off of the old-school publishing route.

"We were not a fan of the publisher model before, because it just covers development and we never see royalties no matter how good the game goes," Stallwood said. "Now, we're just completely sour to the whole thing. We're not completely opposed if it means the difference between making games or not, but if there is any way we can avoid it and still make games, we're certainly going to try."

Cipher Prime has found another way -- it hopes -- with Kickstarter.
Gallery: Auditorium 2: Duet - Multiplayer Design Concept

Continue reading The price of independence: What it really costs to be an indie developer
The price of independence: What it really costs to be an indie developer originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 29 Feb 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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