Four Quarters, the indie Russian game developer behind the surprise hit Loop Hero, are telling players they should pirate the game if they can’t find a way to buy it legitimately because of wide-ranging sanctions imposed on the country since its invasion of Ukraine in late February.
According to the developer’s post to Russian social media network VK on Sunday, the main issue with purchasing Loop Hero in Russia at the moment pertains to Steam, the ubiquitous digital storefront for PC games. Because of the sanctions against Russia, some players may not be able to use their credit cards and other payment processors to purchase games. And even if users were able to purchase a game on Steam, Russian developers are not currently able to cash out their earnings, according to PCMag. The game is still available to purchase on all platforms outside of Russia.
On VK, Four Quarters said it’s heard from many users who want to know how to buy Loop Hero in a way that supports the developers. Four Quarters said that, because there’s no easy way to currently pay for the game, players should “raise the pirate flag” and just download the game via BitTorrent. Four Quarters even linked users to a torrent of the game on RuTracker, Russia’s most popular torrent tracker.
In a VK post yesterday, Four Quarters said that it told players to torrent the game after players started offering the developer donations, and that it didn’t do anything special “because there is nothing wrong with torrents.”
“We are very grateful for your support, but the truth is that everything is fine with us. Send this support to your family and friends at this difficult time,” Four Quarters said, according to a Google translation of the post.
Four Quarters has also taken a substantial risk of clearly saying in a Feb. 24 post “we are against war.” The Russian government has since cracked down on all forms of public dissent, including even referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a war as opposed to the government-sanctioned term “special military operation.”
Loop Hero, a relatively passive game about watching a character walk in a loop and fight a slate of increasingly difficult monsters, was one of 2021’s unexpected success stories. Loop Hero composer Aleksandr "blinch" Goreslavets told Waypoint in an interview last year that the game was born out of a quickly produced entry into the 2019 Ludum Dare jam.