Ori boss on why the studio's new action RPG isn't $70: "We're not hiring hundreds of people just to create an illusion for shareholders that we're growing"

 No Rest for the Wicked.
No Rest for the Wicked.

No Rest for the Wicked, the Diablo-esque action RPG in the works at Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps studio Moon, won't be $70. CEO Thomas Mahler says the game's price point is down to the nature of the team, their shared stance on the rising price of games, and the notable lack of shareholders pawing at the company's books.

"We've been hearing gamers complain about $70 being the new norm for quite a while now," Mahler says in a lengthy tweet. "We're also regularly still seeing $70 games with microtransactions on top and usually players hate that.

"I also openly took a stance against some of the ridiculous stuff that's going on with developers charging 65$ and up for purely cosmetic items," he adds, presumably referring to his dig at Diablo 4's pricey horse armor.

"Since we're releasing Wicked into Early Access, we didn't think it'd be smart to nickel and dime players by charging full-price right out the gate. We try to be extremely efficient at Moon. We're not hiring hundreds of people just to create an illusion for shareholders that we're growing. We don't have any shareholders. If we can make better products at a lower cost than AAA studios and can thus charge lower prices, that's a sign of us doing something right, not wrong."

Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Ori and Ku
Ori and the Will of the Wisps - Ori and Ku

Mahler points to the two Ori games, with Blind Forest and Will of the Wisps priced $20 and $30 respectively at launch. The CEO reckons this was "less than we probably could have" charged, but reasons that "we sold around 10 million copies because of the quality of our titles and probably also because we try not to be greedy."

No Rest for the Wicked will be $39.99 at launch, presumably with a standard one-week launch Steam discount on top of that (and an affiliate discount for partnered content creators sharing the game). Its Steam page confirms that the price will rise post-Early Access, though we don't know exactly how much. But to Mahler's point, "nobody 'forced us' to offer a discount, we thought it'd be a great gesture!"

With layoffs bleeding the games industry even as many publishers report record revenues, the ever-looming invisible hand of shareholders and investors has been an especially hot topic lately.

Swen Vincke, head of Baldur's Gate 3 dev Larian Studios, has repeatedly criticized publishers – often publicly traded publishers – for putting profits over people. RuneScape creator Andrew Gower says his new MMO thankfully doesn't have to answer to publishers or investors, so there's "no one breathing down my neck." Likewise, "without any shareholders to please," The Sims competitor Paralives isn't doing paid DLC. The list goes on, as more and more independent or privately owned studios push back against, or very deliberately avoid, the corrosive touch of capitalism and the idea of infinite growth.

Our own Joe Donnelly writes: I never once thought of Dark Souls or Diablo when playing Moon Studios' previous games, but the dev's new action RPG feels like the perfect evolution of ideas and talent