Indie Horror Developer Encourages Players to Pirate Their Game

Video game piracy is generally seen as a scourge on the industry, at least by those who are selling said games. But at least one developer is actually encouraging people to download illegal copies of their game, especially if you can’t afford to buy it right now. Black Tabby Games is a two-person indie developer that made a splash last year with Slay the Princess. And they think it’s so crucial for horror fans to avoid spoilers and make their own narrative choices that they’d prefer you get the game immediately, by any means necessary.

The developer, formed of married couple Abby Howard and Tony Howard-Arias, said as much in a post-Christmas tweet/xeet/whatever we’re calling these things since the worst rebrand of this century. The developer stated, “The game is at its best if your first experience is playing it yourself instead of watching someone else’s play-through,” says the post (spotted by PCGamesN). “And if $ is an issue, pirate it and buy a copy later when you have money if you liked it!”

Black Tabby Games is referring obliquely to playthroughs on Twitch and YouTube, a particularly popular pastime for fans of both horror games and shorter indie titles. And indeed, part of what makes livestreams and let’s plays so popular beyond simply lacking the time to play every new game is a lack of funds to do so. In a follow-up tweet, the developer says that a single playthrough will take about three hours, though exhaustively exploring the full story will take approximately 16. “You can only play for the first time once, and the experience won’t be the same if you’re looking through the lens of someone else’s choices.”

Slay the Princess has been a sleeper hit of 2023, winning acclaim with its hand-drawn visuals from illustrator Abby, excellent vocal performances, and unique visual novel setup. You must venture to a secluded cabin containing a captive princess, but you’re here to kill her, not to rescue her. It’s your choice whether to spare her or complete the complex process of sealing her doom, but of course, this comely maiden isn’t all that she seems.

The game was released in October to favorable reviews from horror game fans (which don’t include me, sorry) and it’s currently sitting at an Overwhelmingly Positive rating among over six thousand Steam reviews. It costs a very reasonable $18 (a little over $16 with the current sale). But if you’re low on cash or just feeling cheap, you now have official permission to obtain it from (ahem) alternative sources.