Ultrakill dev says it's fine to pirate his game if you don't have money to spare: 'Culture shouldn't exist only for those who can afford it'

(Image credit: New Blood Interactive)

I think we can all agree that piracy is basically an inevitability for any piece of software. For years now, we've been living in an era where Denuvo gets cracked so quickly for new games that it's not even worth running a headline about it. But while piracy might be inevitable, the question remains: is it morally acceptable? I mean, sure—according to Ultrakill dev Arsi "Hakita" Patala. Just make sure you tell people if you like it.

Hakita made his piracy position clear on Twitter earlier this week, quoting a user who posted a cell phone screenshot of Ultrakill being transferred from a .zip file with the caption "i ❤️ pirating indie games." While he made sure to say you should support indie devs if you have the means, Hakita was more or less cool with it.

Hakita's chill stance, assuming you're of certain, very cool political and/or piratical persuasions, is that access to media shouldn't be contingent on wealth. "Culture shouldn't exist only for those who can afford it," Hakita said. "Ultrakill wouldn't exist if I hadn't had easy access to movies, music, and games growing up." Truly, where would any of us be today if it weren't for those fateful years making ill-advised decisions with Limewire?

Explaining his position further, Hakita expressed a sentiment that you'll hear from both sides of the game piracy equation (though more often from indie devs than AAA studios). Essentially, piracy doesn't mean a lost sale if the person pirating the game couldn't afford it in the first place. "If you pirate a game, then enjoy it, spread word about it and get someone else to buy it," Hakita said, "that's at worst an equal trade, at best an additional sale that wouldn't have happened if you hadn't pirated it."

It's not a surprising stance for one of the New Blood Interactive devs. David Szymanski, developer of Dusk, expressed a similar feeling back in 2019. Dave Oshry, New Blood's CEO, certainly isn't bothered by it:

In a comment to PC Gamer, Oshry added that the company's stance on piracy is that they "don't really give a shit because you can't do anything about it anyway.

Now, before you run off, let's take a moment to underline the "you should support indies if you can" bit of Hakita's tweet. People still need to get paid for their work at the end of the day—especially if it's for an indie game that might not get New Blood levels of attention. But hey, if you're in a tight spot and a game miraculously finds its way onto your hard drive, make sure to take time to spread the word about it afterwards.

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.