For those that don’t know Limited Run Games [LRG] is a hot and young game developer taking the video game collecting hobby to a completely new level. In a nutshell, they do this by publishing games once only available on digital format, or older games otherwise lost in the sands of time. The catch is how limited these games actually are. They usually print anywhere between 3 and 5 thousand copies of said title and when they are gone, they are gone.
We recently had a chance to sit down and chat with Douglas from Limited Run Games and learn a little bit more about him as well as his most excellent company:
[RR] All important stories start somewhere. The most important question I can ask is a simple one, what exactly pulled you into the gaming world?
[LRG] I first got into gaming due to my father. He was a big tech nerd and introduced me to the Atari and PC gaming when I was so young I couldn’t even make memories yet. He worked in laboratories in Atlanta and at one point in the 90s every computer in the office had Doom on it so I was constantly playing that growing up.
[RR] That’s pretty cool. Are there any games from the 2600 you recall playing?
[LRG] All I really remember is Asteroids. Played that a ton.
[RR] Cool. So we’ll say that asteroids is the game that really brought you in?
[LRG] I’d say that’s fair, what really made me love games though was getting a Super Nintendo at 5.
[RR] Ok. Pick one: Mario or Zelda.
[LRG] Zelda, I traded my Mario to a girl across the street for Zelda once I beat Mario over a weekend as a kid.
[RR] There have been quite a few consoles released since the Atari 2600. What is your favorite console of all time?
[LRG] For Josh and I, it’s definitely the Dreamcast. We spent a lot of time playing classics like Phantasy Star Online, Shenmue, Skies of Arcadia and Chu Chu Rocket.
[RR] The Dreamcast! I picked one up myself 9/9/99. It was an amazing system. Outside of the Nintendo Entertainment System it was probably my all-time favorite. What do you think played a part in the Dreamcast demise? The system had some amazing software. Very sad.
[LRG] I think the ever looming PS2 is what killed it for a lof of people. I had a lot of friends say they were just going to wait. The fact that you could just burn a Dreamcast game to a disc probably didn’t help either.
[RR] We agree and think the PS2 hype absolutely killed the Dreamcast. I have a lot of friends that were holding off for the PS2. I do believe that if Sega took a hit on the hardware and included a DVD drive into the American version of the Dreamcast, that we would all be playing a next-gen Sega console today. I can remember a lot of people wanting the PS2 because it was an affordable DVD player. Speaking of present platforms, do you have a personal favorite gaming system?
[LRG] I personally love my PS4 and Vita the most right now!
[RR] Are there any games you are currently playing on the PSN?
[LRG] I just finally beat Odin Sphere, I was at the last two chapters but some other game had come out, so recently I was cleaning up my HDD and saw that I hadn’t beat it yet.
[RR] Do you have an all time favorite video game or gaming series?
[LRG] Favorite video game of all time is Phantasy Star Online. We both played it so much we maxed out the time played counters on Dreamcast.
[RR] So would it be safe to say that your favorite genre is the online RPG?
[LRG] Genre wise it doesn’t have to be online, but action-RPG is definitely my favorite.
[RR] Are you aware that people are still playing the Dreamcast version of this game on private servers 17 years later?
[LRG] Yes, I was playing on those a while back, now I mostly play the Blue Burst version on PC since it’s the most “complete” version.
[RR] May we have a LRG company origin?
[LRG] We are a publishing offshoot of Mighty Rabbit. Josh (president of MR) didn’t want his games to only exist as digital games so we co-founded the company together and the rest is history.
[RR] Mighty rabbit? So you’re an offshoot of a video game developer. Interesting. Can you tell me a little more about Mighty rabbit?
[LRG] Mighty Rabbit got it’s start in mobile gaming and eventually was able to crossover into PC and consoles. Mighty Rabbit was founded in 2010 by Josh Fairhurst and a few other people.
[RR] How many games has Mighty rabbit developed so far? Are they working on anything now?
[LRG] 9 total? 3 for current gen that received physicals from Limited Run. Currently, they are working on super secret contract work, but nothing original for now.
[RR] Super secret contract work? You’re killing me. Is there anything you’re allowed to share (even small or obscure details) to shed light?
[LRG] All I can say is it’s a big RPG.
[RR] And now you’re publishing games for the Vita and PS4. Are there any other systems and parent companies you intend on working with?
[LRG] We would love to branch out onto Switch and Xbox One. We have started to slowly do some PC titles, but we aren’t going to do very many when there is already someone like Indiebox doing a great job.
[RR] Do you fear that PC titles will not be as collectible?
[LRG] With the major platform being Steam and all digital it is bound to happen. But it would appear more and more people are starting to miss DRM free and physical games.
[RR] In a way you can be called a video game preservationist then. Have you ever thought about reaching out to some of the Obscure companies of yesteryear that at one time published, let’s say NES and Master System games? Surely there must be some defunct companies looking to return to Glory? What does this entail?
[LRG] We are looking into possibly reprinting old rare games from big companies as a way to make them additional revenue since they are missing out due to re-pros and people selling their games for way more than they originally sold for. There are also tons of people who want to own a copy but can’t due to the high price some of these games carry. But we would only do this if we could make it official.
[RR] Is there a reason why you’ve yet to work with Microsoft or Nintendo?
[LRG] Order quantity and finding the right person to believe in our mission.
[RR] Did you originally just pick the Vita platform?
[LRG] We picked the Vita originally because it was our only game through Sony’s process and ready for manufacturing.
[RR] Do you think the digital industry is hurting the gaming world?
[LRG] I think it is only in the sense that it is hurting physical games. When digital games get de-listed and there is no physical game it hurts from a preservation standpoint.
[RR] I see. So some games may get lost in time. I mean if a digital game is exclusive to a system only with no hard copies then it dies with the system. Is that correct?
[LRG] That is correct. It can only exist as a pirated version and a lot of people, myself included don’t want to mod their systems.
[RR] How do you feel about console emulation? Just curious.
[LRG] Not a fan really. Everything always feels way more unstable than the real deal.
[RR] When did you guys realize that you were only going to press a limited number of games? Clearly the name is limited run games but was that always the plan?
[LRG] We realize the best way for us to stay in business was to have a limited stock. If we kept everything open we would have to order thousands of extra copies that may never sell and go out of business.
[RR] Great business model. And it looks like you guys are going full bore. Do you guys have a cap for how many games you want to release each month? I see those numbers have been rising.
[LRG] Our goal is only 2-4 games max a month. We are currently at a point where we had signed a bunch of games previously that are all ready at the same time…
[RR] Exactly how many games has your company published?
[LRG] We are at 75 games currently.
[RR] Wow. What do you think you’ll be at by Year’s End?
[LRG] Definitely over 100!
[RR] Amazing. Can we get any insider info? Even obscure clues that give away very little drive people nuts in a good way. 🙂
[LRG] All I can say is we should have two huge announcements by the end of this year. At least we hope!
[RR] Your game releases always happen on Friday, and on specific time slots. Can you shed some light on why this is?
[LRG] We chose Friday so we could have everything sell out on a weekend and start shipping the next week. We chose two time slots to help out our international audience as well as those who are stuck at work during one of those times.
[RR] Ok. I’ve read quite a few responses on social media from your fans. It seems like every Friday there are groups of people that miss out on the window of purchase and your title is then sold indefinitely. Do you have any general tips or tricks to offer them to ensure that they can score one of your games?
[LRG] Sign up for the mailing list, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, sign into PayPal ahead of time.
[RR] Ok. Got it!
[RR] Your game sell out pretty quickly. What is your average sellout time? Is there any one game that stands out as taking too long to sell?
[LRG] Average sell out time is probably 15-30 mins, the longest is 3 days. Octodad took the longest for us, we over-gauged demand and were just way too excited about it and signed it at a high quantity.
[RR] If I recall Octodad sold pretty well on the PSN. So for whatever reason that just didn’t convert into the physical domain. Do you have any idea why that may have been?
[LRG] Most likely due to its short length and how bizarre it is. I think it deserved a physical and I’d do it again, but not everyone agreed.
[RR] Is there anything individually that you can credit to the success of limited run games?
[LRG] I’d say our fans and developers we work with. Without them, we would not be here.
[RR] Great answer.
[RR] How do you determine the price of your games?
[LRG] Our base price is $24.99 we typically go only $10 over the digital after that if it’s more than $15 digitally.
[RR] And then you have bundles that are worth considerably more. How do you guys decide what to add? I see it one point in time you added a neck tie with Octodad. That’s quite different.
[LRG] Depends on the title, if we see that someone like Fangamer is or has worked with the developer we will team up. If it’s a super big game like Night Trap we will go all out.
[RR] Interesting. So what do you guys have in store for a night trap bonuses?
[LRG] The collector’s edition has a custom box, cassette, poster, and physical patch. There is also a documentary by My Life In Gaming on Night Trap included.
[RR] Do you care to guess how long this title will take to sell out? I think it may break a speed record myself.
[LRG] I’m going to say 5-10 minutes just to be safe.
[RR] Are there any requirements you give to game developers before they strike a deal with Limited Run Games?
[LRG] We just ask that the cover is exclusive to us.
[RR] That makes sense. Technically its always unique after that.
[RR] Do you have any requirements from Sony before pressing discs?
[LRG] We have to get the game approved and all the art submissions approved. It’s quite the process.
[RR] Have they ever turned down a game for you yet? Or gave you a hard time?
[LRG] Sony has never turned down a game, we have had to before but only because of our tight schedule or it’s a genre we don’t have the audience for.
[RR] How do you determine the number of copies you press for each game?
[LRG] The number is decided with the developer and based on previous sales and popularity.
[RR] Have you ever had to step in and change (or suggest) the number of titles pressed against the developers request?
[LRG] For some games, we have had to step in and raise the order quantity due to the hype. There have only been a few times where we have suggested possibly lowering the quantity due to recent sales.
[RR] What title are you most proud to release under LRG so far?
[LRG] Night Trap is probably our biggest release. It had such a controversial past and helped shaped the gaming world. Which is why we have gone all out on a collector’s edition.
[RR] I recall begging my parents for this game when I owned a sega CD. It is quite the cult Classic. There was also a lot of hype around the fact that it was supposed to be recalled from the shelves which to my understanding never happened. Is your version of Night Trap being ported from the Sega CD, or 3do?
[LRG] It’s being ported from the Sega CD. We are super stoked about it and love what we have seen so far.
[RR] Okay. The Sega CD version head very grainy video. The 3DO version was far superior in video quality. If my memory banks serve me right there was also a Sega 32 x CD version of Night Trap.
[LRG] The videos are all upscaled and look much, much better.
[RR] Ok. That’s good to know.
[RR] When doing your port are you taking the video sources directly from the Sega CD version to keep things authentic, or will you be using a better video source. I only ask because as a fan, I never got to experience this beloved game outside of the Sega CD’s grainy screen version.
[LRG] I believe the took the best version of the videos from their source. I just know it looks amazing now.
[RR] Here’s a shot in the dark. Have you guys ever reached out to working designs?
[LRG] We have reached out to Victor Ireland before but only in the capacity of respect for what he does and to just talk. We are big fans.
[RR] Could you imagine signing on any of thee old working design games? I’m sure that would be many of your fans Ultimate Dream Come True. Speaking of dream come true are there any games that you would love to publish if given the opourtunity?
[LRG] I’d pretty much take anything I could get from Working Design Games!
[LRG] Dream game wise from anyone, I’d love to work with Capcom, SNK, Square Enix, and Konami.
[RR] What are your hobbies outside of gaming?
[LRG] I enjoy writing music, watching movies and going on trips out of town.
[RR] Writing music? Interesting. Care to share?
[LRG] I played in a lot of bands growing up and also took orchestra in my school days, so I know a wide variety of instruments. I still enjoy just jamming by myself or recording new music, whether it be a new song with lyrics or something you’d hear in a game.
[RR] What did you do for a living before the gaming industry?
[LRG] Before my involvement in gaming, I was working in retail for 8 years while playing in a band at the same time hoping I’d somehow “make it big” but eventually had to give up.
[RR] They say the Rockstar life isn’t for everyone.
[RR] Do you have a favorite sports team?
[LRG] Not really big into sports, but as an Atlanta boy, I love the Braves and Falcons.
[RR] I can respect that.
[RR] Do you have a taste for music? If so, is there a genre or band that stands out to you?
[LRG] Pop Punk was always our jam. Blink 182 is what we grew up on. Since then we have spread out to other genres but we still always call Pop Punk home.
[RR] No body likes you when your 23?
[LRG] And are still more amused by TV shows?
[RR] Some people work until it consumes them. Is there anything you do to decompress. Maybe a favorite spot to vacation or otherwise some quiet time?
[LRG] I make a conscious effort to stay offline on the weekend as much as possible. Especially Twitter.
[RR] What’s the deal with Twitter? I don’t even have a Twitter account.
[LRG] Twitter has just given a lot of anonymous people voices and it can get pretty toxic. We have been very good about communicating with our fans and responding to as much as we can. So when you are off for the weekend it’s hard to shut off wanting to talk to fans, but you have to sometimes to recharge.
[RR] I see. Do you think that people tend to be a little more respectful on Facebook considering the oftentimes use real names and photographs?
[LRG] Yes and no? I feel like Facebook was the first social media place I started avoiding more often. You’d think having your name on their would stop you, but people have no shame anymore haha.
[RR] Social Media is a double edged sword. Well I enjoyed the interview and appreciate the time you took out of your schedule to chat. To our readers please head on over to www.LimitedRunGames.com and get a copy of Night Trap (and many others) before its gone.