Exclusive Interview: Josh Fairhurst Talks Limited Run Games

WGTC: When will people be able to purchase the physical release of Breach & Clear, and how much will it cost?

JF: October 29th at www.limitedrungames.com! It will be $24.99 plus shipping. We will be shipping worldwide with reasonable international rates. We don’t want to leave any customers without a way to get our games. For reference, all of our releases will be region free.

WGTC: PlayStation Mobile games recently got delisted off of the PlayStation Store. Did this help nudge you towards releasing more physical copies?

JF: Between that and the constant delisting of games from PSN and XBLA we were definitely pushed towards trying to get Limited Run off the ground faster. A lot of gaming history is being lost every day. One of my eye-opener moments was when our publishing partner on Breach & Clear (Gun Media) had to pull their game Speakeasy from PSN over legal concerns. It was only available for a few months before being pulled forever. There’s no way to play Speakeasy anymore unless you had already purchased it (not many people did). Sure the game didn’t review so hot, but I still feel like it’s a loss. If someone wanted to do a retrospective on PS4 games, they’d either have no idea this game existed or would have no way to experience it.

It’s sad to me that even the worst games of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s have more permanence than some of the best games of the late 2000s onward. I really hope to change that with Limited Run Games.

WGTC: Can you tell us a bit about Breach & Clear, and why it was picked as the first release?

JF: Breach & Clear is a hybrid turn-based strategy game that started life as a mobile game for iOS and Android. It was subsequently ported to PC, Mac, and Linux and that version was then ported to the PlayStation Vita. The developer, Mighty Rabbit Studios, actually runs Limited Run Games, so it was something we had very easy access to. We needed a game that we could use to A) learn the process of doing a physical Vita release and B) use as a test to see if a market existed for what we wanted to do. Both of those components are absolutely critical to convincing other developers to trust us with their games.

So to be honest, Breach & Clear wasn’t picked so much for what it is, but rather what it could do for us. Don’t get me wrong, I love Breach & Clear and I think we did a phenomenal job with it. Over one million people have played it! I just know that if I could have worked with another developer’s game first, I would have. I think I phrased this pretty well in a post over at Gaijinwork’s community forums:

Developers treat their games like their children. We put a ton of time and effort into these things and they become a major part of our identity. Blood, sweat, and tears are poured into these lovingly crafted games. If someone came to me, with no track record for success and said “Hey, let me do a physical release of your game!” I’d probably say no. It’s like letting a complete stranger babysit your kid!

We absolutely needed something that said, “We know what we’re doing!” before we could think about approaching outside developers. I had only reached out to one developer before news about Limited Run leaked out and at that point I had already completed manufacturing for Breach & Clear on Vita.

WGTC: In a perfect world, how many releases would you like to be publishing per year?

JF: We ideally want to do no more than one per month. We don’t want people to feel fatigued by our releases and we don’t want them to feel like we’re milking them. We’re probably going to start slow, and I think it’d be safe to say our first year will only see 6 – 8 games. We’ll grow from there and hopefully get to a point where one release per month is feasible.

WGTC:  Have any other developers been in touch with you about a potential physical release of their games?

JF: Yes, after news of Limited Run leaked out a bit earlier than expected, we got an overwhelming outpour of support from gamers and developers alike. We’re now talking to four or five developers that reached out to us (at this point we’ve still only ever reached out to one developer on our own accord). As we grow and gain more of a following, I expect more and more developers to come to us.

WGTC: Why should gamers support Limited Run Games and pick up one of the copies of Breach & Clear when it goes up for sale later this month? 

JF: If Limited Run Games is not successful, it’s unlikely anyone else will ever bother with this concept. Failing at this will prove to future publishers and developers that this is not worth it and would simply confirm what the big publishers already believe (physical is dead, digital is king). If we’re successful, you are showing publishers and developers that small print runs can be successful and worthwhile – that physical media shouldn’t be ignored. If you have the money and believe in the cause, please consider picking up Breach & Clear on the 29th to help us prove out the concept. We need your support to make more physical games a reality!

That concludes our interview, but we’d like to give a big thank you to Josh Fairhurst for taking the time to speak with us. Limited Run Games can be found on Twitter at @LimitedRunGames, and more information on Breach & Clear can be found on Mighty Rabbit Studios’ website.