Dwarf Fortress creators Tarn and Zach Adams said they were offered a six-figure sum to use the game's name by a publisher. It was rejected, so the brothers have retained the name to their ASCII settlement sim game.
The game continues to earn money through voluntary contributions, which last month totaled $3355.10. The Adams said they didn't accept the money from the unnamed publisher, as they felt it could have cheapened the brand and possibly confused gamers.
"If people saw that there was this other thing out there, we considered in the worst case scenario, then the contributions from people would just dry up, and we'd be sitting with this lump sum that would not have added up to 10 years' salary or whatever," said Tarn Adams. "So do we want the stress of having to search for a new IP, or a new angle all of a sudden? We have some name recognition to be able to do that kind of thing perhaps, although it's a very chancy thing.
"When you look at that you think well, there's trade-offs. Does the brand get cheapened? Are you deceiving people? As long as they're clear this is not Dwarf Fortress or whatever, and this is not Dwarf Fortress with graphics, as people call a lot of things that are coming out these days. As long as you're upfront and honest, there's not technically a problem with that - it's our brand to piss all over if we want."
The brothers say they're happy to have been able to stay "afloat for so long," with the current state of the game.
It's an interesting read, and you can have a look over on Gamasutra.