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Terraria dev pledges $200,000 to Unity rivals amid fees controversy

Terraria developer Re-Logic commits to long-term sponsorships for game development engines Godot and FNA in response to the controversial Unity runtime fee.

Terraria statement on Unity runtime fee - A figure in silver and gold armor.

Terraria developer Re-Logic makes a show of support for open source engines Godot and FNA in response to the recent Unity runtime fee announcement. The team behind Terraria, one of the biggest and best indie games on Steam, slams Unity for its “destruction of trust” with the announcement of new fees that would see the most successful games using its service charged per individual download past a certain milestone, and commits $100,000 donations to two rival development engines with ongoing sponsorships.

Unity, the team behind the hugely popular Unity Engine used by many game developers, announced last week that it was introducing new policies that would see developers charged additional fees that could reach as high as 20 cents per install once games reach a certain revenue and lifetime install milestone. The engine is used for many big games, including Cities Skylines, Among Us, Hollow Knight, Cuphead, and Genshin Impact.

Since the announcement, many developers have come out publicly against the change, including the Metal Hellsinger developer telling players to get the game “while you can” as it considers its future, and the Slay the Spire developer making its first ever public statement to say it was considering changing the engine used for its next game, which is currently over two years into its development.

Terraria is not built on Unity, instead using a proprietary engine built in Microsoft’s XNA framework, although it uses some elements in its console and mobile versions. However, in a public statement shared via social media, the team says, “The loss of a formerly leading and user-friendly game engine to the darker forces that negatively impact so much of the gaming industry has left us dismayed to put it mildly. We feel like we cannot sit idly by as these predatory moves are made against studios everywhere.”

Terraria developer Re-Logic responds to Unity runtime fee controversy - full statement via https://twitter.com/Terraria_Logic/status/1704227519027651016

Re-Logic condemns the proposed changes “and the underhanded way they were rolled out,” in particular highlighting “That this move was wholly unnecessary pushes things into the tragedy category” and calling it “a cautionary tale the industry will not soon forget.” The team adds that “Even if Unity were to recant its policies and statements, the destruction of trust is not so easily repaired.”

To act as a counterbalance, Re-Logic says, “We strongly feel that it is now equally important to get behind some of the other up-and-coming open source game engines.” It announces donations of $100,000 to both Godot and FNA, two free, open source development tools. In addition to this, Re-Logic pledges $1,000 per month each moving forwards: “All we ask in return is that they remain good people and keep doing all that they can to make these engines powerful and approachable for developers everywhere.”

“Re-Logic has always been supportive of game developers and indie studios that do things the right way,” it concludes. “We feel that our actions in this moment are the best way to carry that mission forward – by accelerating and strengthening competing open source game engines, we hope to empower and assist studios that are struggling with how best to proceed given these recent events.”

Unity runtime fee apology statement - "We have heard you. We apologize for the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced on Tuesday caused. We are listening, talking to our team members, community, customers, and partners, and will be making changes to the policy. We will share an update in a couple of days. Thank you for your honest and critical feedback."

Unity has apologized for “the confusion and angst the runtime fee policy we announced caused.” It says that changes will be made to the policy, but is yet to reveal what those will be. As Re-Logic’s statement shows, however, some of those burnt bridges may be difficult or even impossible to repair.

If this news has you wanting to dive back into Terraria – something I’ll always advocate for – get up to speed on all Terraria bosses, where to find them, and how to beat them. We’ve also highlighted the best Terraria mods to keep you busy as the team at Re-Logic continues its work on update 1.4.5.