With 800,000 copies of Dwarf Fortress sold, the newly minted millionaire creators' most high-roller purchase has been a Honda Civic

Dwarf Fortress brothers Zach and Tarn Adams
(Image credit: Annie Forsman-Adams)

Dwarf Fortress has existed as a free game for near-enough two decades, but its 2022 premium version—now with graphics—has gone from strength to strength. It turned Tarn and Zach Adams (Dwarf Fortress' original creators) into millionaires, and had sold over half a million copies as of March last year.

But that's old news, because the brothers told PCG at this year's GDC that it's now sold 800,000 copies and taken root on over a million wishlists. At this point, it seems like a million sales for one of the most profoundly free games in existence is all but assured. Do the brothers have a plan to reward themselves when they hit the milestone? Ah, well, not really.

"I mean, I didn't actually think of [hitting a million sales]," Tarn Adams told PCG, "Because you're like, when is that going to happen?"

Well, one good bet is when DF gets its imminent Adventure Mode update, which will bring the free game's popular RPG-ish roguelike mode to the premium version (in beta) on April 17.

"We're thinking of it like an update," says Tarn, "It's not Baldur's Gate 3 or whatever… It's just a gentle update. But it's also the first time we're communicating with our wishlist people ever. We have not emailed them [before] or anything. That's crazy, because there's over a million of them."

So I'd say there's a pretty good chance that DF's premium sales might brush up against a million in the wake of Adventure Mode's release. "There's probably going to be a little party," says Tarn. "Probably a trip to somewhere exotic," adds Zach.

But for now, the brothers are doing what they've always done: Working on Dwarf Fortress. 800,000 sales or no, the game is still technically in alpha, and there's much work still to be done. 

When PCG asked the pair how their newfound financial success had changed them, the answer seemed to be 'not much.' Tarn values feeling "comfortable and stable," while Zach has bought a house with his wife. But otherwise? It sounds like the most extravagant purchase by either of the newly minted millionaires was a car: "I decided to get a Honda Civic," said Zach, "because I've always wanted one."

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.