The new Czech adventure Polda 7 from Zima Software studio has been released. After the phenomenal success of the crowdfunding campaign on Hithit, the game is getting relatively good ratings in the early reviews and the gamers are also praising it in most cases. You’re probably thinking that writers can finally relax, put their feet up on the table, and crack open a bottle of something good. After all, they have reason to rejoice. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Cop 7 and its developers have been crushed by piracy from the first moment.
“A pirated version appeared right after the release. When I write a comment about it, people insult me,” Petr told me, adding that he plans to end game development altogether.
Unfortunately, this repeats a story that Jan Kavan from Czech studio CBE Software, who created a hit horror adventure Someday You’ll Return, told us a lot in August 2020. In an interview in our vidcast (Vortex 131), Jan Kavan complained that 98% of the copies were illegal immediately after the game was released. Worse still, the pirated copy was supposed to come from one of the journalists who set out to distribute an unfinished version containing bugs that a player normal would not even meet anymore. The authors were clearly surprised and, of course, very touched. Mentally and economically. They had to reconsider their next plans and even suggested that it might mean their complete end.
Unfortunately, something very similar happened in the case of Poldy 7. At the same time, it is even worse at the number of points where the scenario described repeats itself. When I invited lead writer Petr Svoboda to another vidcast interview today, he indicated that he would like to come, but we would rather have a sad conversation. “A pirated version appeared right after the release. When I write a review about it, people swear at me,” Petr told me, adding that he was considering the end of the game’s development. Naturally, I was interested in how the game was selling, if the authors knew where the illegal copying came from and if they had the opportunity to actively fight pirates. “It sold quite well, I don’t want to write numbers exact, but the costs haven’t covered it yet,” suggested Petr Svoboda.
The pirated copy comes from places where the authors least expected it. “The cracked version appeared before the official release, so it must have been one of the contributors, which is all the more sad,” reveals Petr Svoboda.
It sent an illegal copy to the world and is being released by a man who calls himself Chiko. “It’s constantly uploaded somewhere, and I try to keep an eye on it and delete it immediately. He still mocks me in the comments that it was easy this time,” says Petr, adding that the hacker had stabbed in the face, that he was bored now, so he would probably play along too. Trying to remove an illegal copy from the internet is like fighting windmills, as you can probably imagine.” It’s very tiring. In order to make it as difficult for us as possible, these servers want thousands of different pieces of data, so it takes me almost all the time, ”wishes Petr Svoboda, who now has neither the time nor the thought to celebrate. It is also a recurring motif. Many creators agree that while various repositories offer the ability to report and remove illegal software, in reality they complicate this process and deliberately burden bureaucracy to delay everything.
However, the authors are not giving up. “Sometimes I write a call for these hacker chats, but more or less I meet strong resistance and people really curse me vulgarly,” Petr describes. The authors cannot say how many illegal copies are already in circulation, but they are certainly not resigning from the fight. “If, for example, someone knows the identity of this Chik, let him write to us,” insists Petr. The developers will then attempt to turn the matter over to the police. But there is another very sad parallel with the case of Someday You’ll Return. Although the critical version has not escaped the world this time, the pirated copy still comes from places where the authors least expected it. “The cracked version appeared before the official release, so it must have been one of the contributors, which is all the more sad,” reveals Petr Svoboda. Hithit contributors got preliminary access to the game.
Other plans are in jeopardy. The future is uncertain
As with CBE Software, this may significantly affect Zima Software’s other plans and operations in general. “We really had a lot of plans – a Steam version of the older parts, the remaster of Poldy 2, which people really like, a new Pold or a new dark adventure. But if you don’t sell enough of seven, then everything falls apart and I’m going to make money like an ordinary programmer, “suggests Petr. This is not a threat on his part, but rather a sad statement. This is the reality. “Because we specialize only in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where the market is very small. We have no chance of catching up abroad,” Petr Svoboda told me. Developers do not complain about the small target market, such is the characteristic of Poldy. But not enough because of piracy. “You really have to play games with us mostly out of passion, but somehow that’s slowly leaving me. Especially when I still have to read these explicitly vulgar comments,” he adds.
It’s a hilarious read. But perhaps it will help mobilize some players, discourage the illegal version and change the climate of indifference that helps to legitimize piracy. So take it a bit like a call from us. It’s okay to pay for games and not make excuses. Because at the end of every similar story, there are real people who bear the consequences. Profiting from the game of the person you are depriving of your winnings means that another such game need not be created…