Well Yes. Stardock may have helped out with a few things, and that's more than what most publishers do, but it was clearly their engine, their universe, and ultimately their call. After all, IC was working on Sins before Stardock agreed to publish it.
I never was talking about Stardock. If they did anything as a publisher, they put forward funding needed to complete the game and market it.
I'm talking about independent people they brought in (contracted to do or flat out bought work from) for such things like music or art assets they couldn't do inhouse. This is common practice for small studios. For example: http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/come_aboard.html
(check the bottom). They regularly put games on Steam, and despite being around for 20 years, they're still taking in external work. This isn't anything new.
Yes, Ironclad making an entire game by themselves. Imagine that.
Aside from what I talked about above, not per say. They aren't self publishing. IGP (http://infinitegamepublishing.com/
), the same guys that helped fund MWO and Tactics, is funding this. In other words, they're helping produce the game. IC isn't doing it alone. This is the common model of game development. This is usually how things work.
Why are you guys pushing for this so much? Seems like some people want to be impatient, and rush this title out so that it will become an incomplete half ass mess that damn near every other sequel is. Fan Pressure pushing to rush a product out the door long before it is finished. So we can get another Sim City, SoTS 2, or X Rebirth. Pretty much beer coasters, or a waste of bandwidth now. We have enough nefarious game company's making half ass games intentionally. Dont push for this one to be an unintentional failure.
I'm not arguing for them to push it out NOW, but the original game came out in Feb. 2008. Even if you count the release of all the "microexpansions" that they did, the last one came out in Jan. 2010. Ignoring Rebellion (which, I've I stated before, is a Stardock Entertainment developed title, not really a IC one), it's going on 4 years since the last content release from that studio (I'm not counting Dark Age). The hope is, that the next Sins iteration would be, at least, in production (which will probable be co-developed, again).
The success of Sins created an audience who wants the full realization of the game. This won't be seen until the second generation of the product, though. Technical limitations are about the only thing that killed the experience. This isn't anything new. You can see this in Terraria, but the "spiritual successor" seen in Starbound (Terraria 2 is in development, though), will be the realization of that and hosts HUGE support from that audience.
You can see another example with Crusader Kings II. By the time Paradox got the Clausewitz Engine hammered down, they earned a hell of a lot of praise with the release of CKII, and earned a SHITLOAD of income from that. They got even more praise with the newest release of the companion series, Europa Universalis IV
. The virtue of fact that you can have a savegame go from 867 all the way to 1821 AD, across two similar, but different games, is very impressive. Despite the close release of EUIV after CKII, you'll be very hard pressed to find a single fan bitching about them "making the wrong decision".
My point being, small studios succeed or fail on a release-by-release basis. They know what will earn them the income they need to have the freedom to do what they won't, but they aren't doing it. Working on a MOBA is a bad business decision. Even if it's a good MOBA, it'll still be stifled in a market dominated by LOL and DOTA. Nobody is asking for a MOBA from the guys who made a 4X space strategy. Every fan of Sins is wanting a new iteration to the series they love, that can exceed those inherent technical problems. You tell me which one is a better decision to make?