You’ll notice on the Russian game developer forums that the port was announced as it was released on popular Russian language torrent site rustorka.net. It has since been overloaded with traffic, and now the developer has released a more stable Yandex.Disk download too, which is a file hosting site a bit like Dropbox.
The port is currently in beta and has no permissions from Ska Studios to even exist. But this isn’t a problem, according to the hacker, as they say they’re not stealing anything from Ska Studios. They go on to elaborate that Ska had no intention to port the game to PC, so it’s not like they are losing any potential profit. Instead, the hacker sees themselves as providing a service for those who wanted the game on PC, but had ho hope of that happening.
They released a number of statements saying all of this and more after the gamedev.ru forums saw some backlash at the developer for doing this without getting any permission from Ska. The statements read as follows (in English, courtesy of Google Translate):
The ethics of publication
The view was expressed that, with respect to the authors, it is not very nice to publish the game on the PC. I have to argue that the part of the authors are not very nice to publish the game exclusively for the Xbox 360, making it impossible for PC gamers to play such a great game.
Piracy – yes, that is bad. On the other hand, we did not steal the game for the Xbox 360; we released it for the PC port. Given that the developers ignored the PC platform, about any loss of profit for them is not out of the question. After all, if they wanted to earn money, then the game would be issued on all available platforms. If the game came out on PC officially, then this thread would not exist.
My presumption would be that, even though it may not take any potential profits away from Ska, they may not want people playing a version of their game that isn’t handled by them personally. And who knows? Maybe they did want to port the game to PC in the future; this would certainly affect those sales. I’ve reached out to James Silva of Ska Studios to find out what his reaction is to the unofficial port and whether he’ll be trying to do anything about it, if he even can at this point.
UPDATE: James of Ska Studios has replied with the following:
“I guess you could say my reaction is mixed. I’m flattered that there’s this much interest in Vampire Smile on PC. I’m not mad about the crack itself; in fact, I’m actually pretty impressed. But I’m bewildered by the cracker’s attempt to justify the morality of it. He assumes a lot about why Vampire Smile’s not on PC yet, and he could have cleared up a lot of those assumptions by just emailing me. I get that piracy is a service problem, but that’s a consequence, not a justification.”
UPDATE 2: Speaking in a NeoGAF thread, James gave the reasons as to why The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile isn’t on PC yet and that once Charlie Murder is finished he’d love to do a Director’s Cut for the PC. Here’s the quote:
“The main reason it’s not [been ported to PC] is because even though the game was developed on a PC, releasing on PC and working out all of the input, display sizes, graphics options involved is a lot of work (and a lot more work than it sounds like!). I know Dean was working on Dust PC for at least a few months before it was even announced (sorry if I’ve said too much, Dean!), and for us, when Vampire Smile shipped, we were already full speed on Charlie Murder. Once Charlie ships, I’d like to try working on a Vampire Smile PC port, but I’d really like to give it a Director’s cut treatment–rework some areas, add environmental hazards and new enemies, etc., so we wouldn’t really be missing out if there’s a cracked torrent with broken shaders floating around somewhere.
And as someone who grew up wanting to make Nintendo games, I really really really wanted this as a console title first. The thought of playing it with a keyboard gives me a nervous tick. Now that Xbox360 gamepads have become so ubiquitous, it’s all more or less water under the bridge (the last shooter I played on PC that I used mouse+keyboard for was System Shock 2), but the thought of anyone playing Vampire Smile with a keyboard is still not super pleasant.”
Currently, Ska are working hard on their next beat-’em-up, Charlie Murder, which will be their first release since Vampire Smile other thanZ0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne), which is a Windows Phone port of previous XBLIG hit I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1.