I addressed to Piko Interactive at the very start of the project. A company representative has encouraged me that the project is very interesting, and they are ready to publish it. Negotiations were held from August 2015 to August 2016 in a kindly manner. But in the end I was disappointed because the publisher refused to pay me at least $ 1000 for getting ready to build (with their logo and copyrights), source code, arts and support. I think this is due to the unexpected success of the crowdfunding campaign of TheArKade - they have collected more than $ 26,000, despite the fact that it is an unlawful variation of NES consoles from Nintendo. Perhaps they decided to refuse to work with other projects that appeared less promising (profitable) because of this euphoria.
If 100-200 copies of the game are sold for $ 49.99 it will be $ 4999-9998. Why be bothered with a small amount of potential profit, when there have been already collected 26,000 from TheArKade and it doesn’t need to invest something of their own? In China, similar consoles are stamped almost every day. It is the way of least resistance. Commercial activities should be commercial.
TheArKade - is Nintendo NES console
About it in Russian - https://gcup.ru/blog/2016-09-26-1401
Piko Interactive seemed to me a friendly office, but , I would not overestimate the legality of its activities. It is alleged that Piko Interactive has acquired the rights of the WisdomTree and other old companies. However, I have not seen the documents and statements from the representatives of WisdomTree. I have not see the permission from Nintendo or Sega to produce clones of NES and Genesis.
In any case, this company has not issued any authentic new game on the Genesis, no any other production made by itself or by other homebrew-developers. Reissues of "Water Margin" and "Duke Nukem 3D" are equally dubious projects as TheArKade. Who has seen agreements and contracts between the companies? In fact it is a hack and the same ROM, which is shared.
Piko Interactive is:
About it in Russian - http://romhacking.ru/news/2016-10-08-3888
Also I contacted Watermelon in the early development, which is now considered to be the publisher of the highest quality games on the technical side. They published "Pier Solar", that became the most successful game in the SMD nowadays. They also published a visual novel "Sacred Line Genesis".
A simple edition of "Sacred Line Genesis" costs $ 39, and the limited one - $ 89. At least 100 copies of each edition were sold. 100 x (39 + 89) = $ 12,800. But Sasha Darko at the time of my correspondence with him completely got nothing and was going to sue the Watermelon.
My communication with a Watermelon representative was very constructive. The person who spoke to me, said that he was a computer programmer who was involved in the project development at this console and he understood the technical aspects. However, he insisted that I should sign a contract, which would make me legally powerless. There was a point that made it possible to assign the game rights, if there were elements that were affected by the company. And then I realized why they asked me to introduce in the game some extra stuff, to correct something. For example, if your game character is brunet, they will ask you to make him blond. This would enable them to apply the contract item, which made them the rightful owners of the project at the expense of such participation in the development process. So they would have been the authors of parts of your game. Such parts of the game can be multiply. You could not manipulate the game without their permission . You could not sell it by yourself or to distribute free of charge. All of this would require their official permission as the co-authors.
I agree that all inventions, discoveries, improvements, know-how or other intellectual property, whether patentable or not, created by me during my employment with Watermelon Corporation, pertaining to any matter, thing, process or method that is related to my employment (the "Works") shall be the sole and absolute property of Watermelon Corporation. Without limiting the foregoing, I agree that all such Works shall be deemed to be "work made in the course of employment" and Watermelon Corporation shall be deemed the owner thereof.
I further agree to keep and maintain adequate and current written records of all Works made, which records shall be available at all times to Watermelon Corporation and shall remain the sole property of Watermelon Corporation.
I further agree to assist Watermelon Corporation in obtaining and enforcing, for Watermelon Corporation's own benefit, patents, copyrights, and any other protections in any and all countries for any and all Works made by me (in whole or in part) the rights to which belong to or have been assigned to Watermelon Corporation. I agree, upon request, to execute all applications, assignments, instruments and papers and perform all acts that Watermelon Corporation or its counsel may deem necessary or desirable to obtain any and all patents, copyrights or other protection in such Works and otherwise to protect the interests of Watermelon Corporation therein.
About it in Russian - http://romhacking.ru/news/2016-04-04-3474
I doubted about the need to work under this contract after learning the possible fraud in relation to "Sacred Line Genesis" of the author. They didn’t pay to the author of the game dime.
I got in touch with more than 10 other publishers, but they graciously declined the offer or did not respond at all.
For example, SuperFighterTeam doesn’t see prospects of capitalizing in my project - they did not like the game. Either they have not engaged in publishing games for the platform.
They decided to get a lot of money to republish the Taiwanese games. According to their claims, they found the Chinese developers of the 1990s somehow and bought the rights to republish their games with English translation. I do not confirm the legality of this. Anyway, after the stunning success of the reissue "Beggar Prince" they failed to collect so much money from the following editions.
Anyway, I realized that almost all publishers of the retro games are dubious offices. They make money on the illegal production. Reprinted games of old firms that no longer exist or have lost the rights to their titles are unable or unwilling to prevent piracy. Other companies publish only the projects and third-party authors ignore or cheat it. In any case, I could not get over the game a cent, despite the fact that I made it quite efficiently and invested my money. Nobody needs new ones when old games are sold so well.
Of course, you can make a cool game that can interest the publishers. They like potential hits, such as large RPG or shooter with cool graphics. The only problem is that indie developers make small games and do not produce a lot of content. A production of the big game, such as "Contra" or "Castlevania" would require a large monetary investment in graphics, music and other components. And I doubt that you will pay at least $ 3000-5000 if you make them clone. Is it worth the effort? And as it turned out, it is impossible to get even $ 1000 for a small game or a game of an unpopular genre,.
It's sad, because I'm stating a fact - there are almost no opportunities for commercial gain to indie developers of retro platforms. Do they not deserve a reward for their efforts?
I thought about making my own online store, but it will also require the investment of effort and money, which I have not so much. I am a simple man, who lives in East Prussia, receives 20,000 rubles (~ $ 300) per month for a hard labor. The same situation is for other developers, such as gasega68k, who became famous for a number of projects, such as the port of "Wolfenstein 3D". He also lives in a disadvantaged region (Venezuela) and due to political and financial problems he can not publish port "Wolf3D" and "Spear of Destiny".
Incidentally, there is a new publisher - Second Dimension - http://www.second-dimension.com
It gives me a lot of positive emotions, but this store is not too popular. The representative said that sales are small, they do not have the budget to purchase games from third-party developers. But I would recommend this particular service. It is a pity that not all good initiatives are appreciated.
I have friends from China, which could print copies for as low as $ 12-16 per copy (excluding logistics), but that would require prepayment. I could make a very limited edition in the form of 5-10 copies as with the Second Dimension., there is no sense in it. Question again is about money.
I've done dozens of free games, hundreds of hacks and game translations. But free ones do not bring satisfaction in the form of feedback. Look my projects at ROMHacking.net. Do you think it's nice to know that your project had been downloaded 900 times since 2007 and there are no comments “liked / did not like”? And this situation is repeated with thousands of projects where I had a hand.
My hack Public domain - http://www.romhacking.net/community/833/
I studied architecture on "Mega Marble World" console, I tried to acquire the skills to create in future more complicated games. I did not just come from for a simple project for the genre, it was needed to check the audience. Along the way, "MMW" began developing the action RPG, a clone of "Contra + Castlevania", where the work with sprites and complex backgrounds is studied . It also canceled for the above stated reasons.
If I'm wrong in something , I apologize. All the above is a personal opinion based on my own experience.