The creators of Dwarf Fortress are famously averse to press, which is why the internet's eyebrows shot straight up to the ceiling when it saw this excellent and extensive interview published to Gamasutra today. Zach and Tarn Adams, the creators of the open-world roguelike dwarven civilization simulator, opened up to talk about their thirty-year(!) plan for development and an attempted buyout of the game.
Dwarf Fortress is such an original concept that it is a staple in the X-meets-X formula of game description. A game can be Dungeon Keeper-meets-Dwarf Fortress or Minecraft-meets-Dwarf Fortress , for example. And yet, few but the most hardcore gamers have ever tried to crack the impenetrable shell of the ASCII graphics and deep, deep gameplay. Want to get started? No problem, there's a 238-page how-to guide just for you!
But for Zach and Tarn, the game's massive scope keeps them energized, even through their estimated three-decade development cycle, because there is just so much that can be done. "Like, if I got sick of geology, I wouldn't have to look at geology again for 10 years, right?" one brother laughs. "You can just go do something else."
It's lucky for the brothers that the game has some ridiculously devoted fans that not only manage Wikipedia pages and produce guides for new players, but also support the game's development financially. Dwarf Fortress has been in alpha development since 2006, but it pulls in about $50,000 a year in donations.