Die Gute Fabrik releases climate impact report for Saltsea Chronicles development

Die Gute Fabrik is pushing for more transparency and environmental awareness within the game development process.
saltsea chronicles die gute fabrik

Game studio Die Gute Fabrik has published a comprehensive climate impact report, centred on the development of the warmly-received Saltsea Chronicles, a narrative adventure set in a post-apocalyptic, flooded world. With this game touching on themes of climate change and perseverance in the face of catastrophe, the studio was keen to put its message into practice, monitoring and identifying the climate impact of the game’s creation throughout its development process.

Climate researcher Ben Abraham, author of Digital Games After Climate Change, and founder of AfterClimate, was commissioned for the report, which provides a clear and transparent look at Die Gute Fabrik’s climate footprint, and the steps it’s taken to mitigate its impact since development work on Saltsea Chronicles began.

In sharing the data publicly, the studio hopes to encourage a greater understanding of how video games can shape the environment, and what can be done to scale down individual impact.

Per the report, Saltsea Chronicles generated around 47 tonnes of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) in its development process, which is estimated to be around 0.000058% of what some major game companies produced over the course of 2022.

Read: Tencent and Apple lead carbon emissions change in the games industry

The total was estimated by pooling a range of figures – including emissions from employees working from home (1.8 tonnes of CO2e emitted), and those using home temperature regulation systems like air conditioning (7.2 tonnes of COe2 emitted).

Travel was also a significant contributor to the final total, with around 15.7 tonnes of CO2e estimated by various vehicles used in the process of working on and promoting Saltsea Chronicles. Per the report, this total was largely produced by four international flights – travel to GDC 2022 in San Francisco, United States, and travel to Melbourne International Games Week 2023 in Melbourne, Australia and SXSW Sydney.

Notably, a decision to travel to Gamescom 2023 in Germany by train reportedly saved the studio around 266kg of CO2e. While the switch to train wasn’t always possible, as a natural result of employees needing to go overseas to promote the game, it made an essential difference.

Overall, Die Gute Fabrik believes its published report has given everyone at the studio a clearer picture of the impact of their contributions to the environment. It hopes that other studios will take note, to make similar changes.

“It is understood that in the relatively up-and-down fiscal environment of single-project indie video game development that supporting annual reporting and prioritising zero-emission operations is a challenge, but as is articulated throughout: some action is better than no action,” the studio said.

“There has to be joy, play and artistic expression in any sustainable future, and video games can be a part of that. But to be so, their makers must act. We hope this report offers a useful, actionable, achievable set of findings and recommendations to that end.”

View the complete Die Gute Fabrik climate impact report for Saltsea Chronicles.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.