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Dangen Entertainment Allegedly Robbing Indie Devs? (Update: Medium article with more allegations, Dangen responds)

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
981
Except for the fact that (taking Dangen at their word) the video wasn't requested by them, it was requested by Kinda Funny at the last minute:

When preparing for Kinda Funny Games Showcase for Fight Knight, there was a last minute request from Kinda Funny that asked that we film and send in videos of the developer and ourselves to be featured in an opening montage for the event.

If Dangen is telling the truth here, what are they supposed to do in this situation? What did they exactly do wrong?
Their claim is that they asked the team to make the video "if they can" and that thus they didn't require the developers to make the video. If making the video was necessary, then their rebuttal is definitely a lie.

And, as another post already pointed out, power dynamics are at play here. Of course the developers were going to make the video if they asked. It's pretty clear from the rest of the messages that Dangen fully expected them to make the video.

What they could've done is make it way more clear that the developers don't need to make the video, and if they couldn't they could've told Kinda Funny that it's too short of a time frame for them to make it.
 
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Quote

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,578
Except for the fact that (taking Dangen at their word) the video wasn't requested by them, it was requested by Kinda Funny at the last minute:

When preparing for Kinda Funny Games Showcase for Fight Knight, there was a last minute request from Kinda Funny that asked that we film and send in videos of the developer and ourselves to be featured in an opening montage for the event.

If Dangen is telling the truth here, what are they supposed to do in this situation? What did they exactly do wrong?
actually we are trusting the word of dangen there instead of proof from kinda funny games. maybe that’s not professional but a lot of this isn’t professional.
 
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Quote

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,578
Did Kinda Funny comment on this?
no, what i mean is why didn’t they forward the email request to the dev along with the slack message? and why are we seeing a screen cap of the slack message as proof instead of the email?

if i was dangen, i would be proving we weren’t fumbling the ball on this and it was a weird request from kfg.
 
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OnionKnight

Member
Nov 23, 2019
8
Lordran
What kind of pre-recorded streaming event would expect developers to deliver a recording of themselves in 24 hours? Checking the VOD, a lot of the developer videos were very well produced. And why would this no-notice extra be on a separate schedule from delivering the trailers/ect?

(check the first minute or so of the vod)

 

Morrigan

The MandaloRIAN
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
12,847
No mention of Ben breaking NDA. Or the way Ben actually communicated with The Writer, which was creepy. Or how when The Writer was talking about thetrin not doing his job to Ben, who he was partying with and the lack of communication between Dangen which two different devs back up.
Yeah, the rebuttal does address some parts of the original article, but it also fails to rebut a lot of things, like Hellblazer and others mentioned above. There's also how Ben asked "the writer" to write her list of grievances (and collect them from other employees) about one guy, pretending to be on her side and even considering firing him, only to then do a complete 180 (and then the tweet from that guy showing they went drinking... yeahhhh). This is one of the most damning example of Ben Judd's sketchy, lying, gaslighting behaviour, and unless my eyes glazed over and I missed it, the rebuttal article does not address this at all.

There's other stuff too that they don't really address, but this one jumped at me.
 

Uhyve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
380
no, what i mean is why didn’t they forward the email request to the dev along with the slack message? and why are we seeing a screen cap of the slack message as proof instead of the email?

if i was dangen, i would be proving we weren’t fumbling the ball on this and it was a weird request from kfg.
Ah, I see, yeah, we can't see when Dangen got this 'last minute request'. And I mean, a request from a publisher can seem like a demand.
 
Dec 2, 2019
2
Hi y’all. I’m Alex, the person who brought forth the initial abuse allegations against Ben Judd. I just wanted to say thank you. It’s my first post here but I was honestly surprised and heartened by everyone actively believing me and shutting down trolls? I’ve never experienced that from strangers on message boards online so uh. Thank you. Sorry to derail. If I can help clarify anything I was privy to as a first party, I’ll try?
for what it’s worth, I’ve been warning people about Judd’s predatory behavior for years.
 

MagicDoogies

Member
Oct 31, 2017
841
Hi y’all. I’m Alex, the person who brought forth the initial abuse allegations against Ben Judd. I just wanted to say thank you. It’s my first post here but I was honestly surprised and heartened by everyone actively believing me and shutting down trolls? I’ve never experienced that from strangers on message boards online so uh. Thank you. Sorry to derail. If I can help clarify anything I was privy to as a first party, I’ll try?
for what it’s worth, I’ve been warning people about Judd’s predatory behavior for years.
Im sure we would all be interested in hearing some clarifications but before that I dont think it would be unreasonable for an admin to verify this persons identity is real?
 

Kevin Snow

Member
Jul 13, 2018
3
I can't make heads or tails of the business discussions. Reading both posts, it does seem like it could have been incompetence rather than malice.

The damning thing here is Ben Judd's behavior. Dangen failed to adequately address that. I doubt there is any meaningful way to address it—the dude is clearly predatory and Dangen standing by him makes them untrustworthy.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
981
I can't make heads or tails of the business discussions. Reading both posts, it does seem like it could have been incompetence rather than malice.

The damning thing here is Ben Judd's behavior. Dangen failed to adequately address that. I doubt there is any meaningful way to address it—the dude is clearly predatory and Dangen standing by him makes them untrustworthy.
I imagine Ben Judd's statement being buried at the bottom of their "rebuttal" isn't an accident.

Also, as for their business decisions being malice or incompetence: probably both. That's the idea I'm getting from how they're trying to "debunk" the accusations towards them.
 
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Trejo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,160
Hi y’all. I’m Alex, the person who brought forth the initial abuse allegations against Ben Judd. I just wanted to say thank you. It’s my first post here but I was honestly surprised and heartened by everyone actively believing me and shutting down trolls? I’ve never experienced that from strangers on message boards online so uh. Thank you. Sorry to derail. If I can help clarify anything I was privy to as a first party, I’ll try?
for what it’s worth, I’ve been warning people about Judd’s predatory behavior for years.
I'm sorry you had to deal with an abusive gaslighting asshole.

Honestly, Ben Judd's involvement alone makes me not want to touch anything Dangen is involved with with a ten foot pole, regardless of any rebuttals made.
 

Lord of Ostia

Member
Oct 27, 2017
16,018
Except for the fact that (taking Dangen at their word) the video wasn't requested by them, it was requested by Kinda Funny at the last minute:

When preparing for Kinda Funny Games Showcase for Fight Knight, there was a last minute request from Kinda Funny that asked that we film and send in videos of the developer and ourselves to be featured in an opening montage for the event.

If Dangen is telling the truth here, what are they supposed to do in this situation? What did they exactly do wrong?
I'm not sure what makes you believe them. Doesn't seem like Dangen should be getting any benefit of the doubt here, especially when they don't provide proof of this claim. Doesn't seem like something Kinda Funny would do, and they were preparing for the showcase months in advance. They even talked on one of their shows about having the entire showcase edited and finished days before it posted.

The tax stuff is seemingly accurate based on provided info and the original article was unnecessarily petty and rude to random Dangen employees for no reason, but the rebuttal doesn't really contradict the claims of incompetence nor does it address the allegations (and direct proof) of Judd being a sleaze. Like a few months ago a woman on Twitter (who is now in this thread) accused Judd of using his position to proposition and pressure women into sexual relationships with him, and the original article provides direct examples of him attempting that behavior. That alone is extremely damning.
 
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DarknessTear

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,449
Hi y’all. I’m Alex, the person who brought forth the initial abuse allegations against Ben Judd. I just wanted to say thank you. It’s my first post here but I was honestly surprised and heartened by everyone actively believing me and shutting down trolls? I’ve never experienced that from strangers on message boards online so uh. Thank you. Sorry to derail. If I can help clarify anything I was privy to as a first party, I’ll try?
for what it’s worth, I’ve been warning people about Judd’s predatory behavior for years.
Hey, welcome. Sorry you had to deal with all that shit.
 

Kain-Nosgoth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,545
Switzerland
Hi y’all. I’m Alex, the person who brought forth the initial abuse allegations against Ben Judd. I just wanted to say thank you. It’s my first post here but I was honestly surprised and heartened by everyone actively believing me and shutting down trolls? I’ve never experienced that from strangers on message boards online so uh. Thank you. Sorry to derail. If I can help clarify anything I was privy to as a first party, I’ll try?
for what it’s worth, I’ve been warning people about Judd’s predatory behavior for years.
welcome, sorry for what you had to go through, what a mess of a situation!
 

Weltall Zero

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,894
Madrid
Disclaimer: This post is entirely about the Kinda Funny videos. I'm in no way defending Dangen from any other accusations.

I'm not sure what makes you believe them. Doesn't seem like Dangen should be getting any benefit of the doubt here, especially when they don't provide proof of this claim.
Because lying here would be rather stupid considering Kinda Funny will immediately get word of this via their fans and will immediately rebut it if it's false.
More generally, reading through their rebuttal seems entirely pointless if we're going to assume they're lying through their teeth the whole time. I think it makes more sense, in order to get the whole picture, to assume a degree of truthfulness on both parts except when accouts contradict each other. This isn't one of these cases (the devs do not contest, that I know, the fact that Dangen was notified late by Kinda Funny) so I don't see the need to believe they're lying. But yeah, the most important part is that shifting the blame to Kinda Funny would be a monumentally stupid move that will blow up in their faces immediately if it's false.

This is a good time to point out that the accounts of the business side of things from both parties, for the most part, do not directly contradict each other. I think both of them are telling the truth here, and most inconsistencies seem to come from different perspectives and miscommunication.

Their claim is that they asked the team to make the video "if they can" and that thus they didn't require the developers to make the video. If making the video was necessary, then their rebuttal is definitely a lie.
But the screencapped conversation clearly says "if you can" in the very first sentence?


And, as another post already pointed out, power dynamics are at play here. Of course the developers were going to make the video if they asked. It's pretty clear from the rest of the messages that Dangen fully expected them to make the video.
I think we're blowing things up out of proportion here and quickly approaching "bitch eating crackers" halo effect.
- Dangen provides a service to developers for a fee. Developers are their clients. The power dynamics here are, I think, being grossly exaggerated. You only need to see how the DE dev talks to them and how they have to take it without retorting.
- The video they asked is of them saying "I'm X, I make games because Y. Thanks for playing", with Y being a couple of words. They didn't ask to film Gone with the Wind. And in the same conversation they asked, they told them they could deliver it the next day. While certainly inconvenient, I don't see it as unreasonable. In game dev and advertising, sometimes things like these happen; it's just how it is.

What they could've done is make it way more clear that the developers don't need to make the video, and if they couldn't they could've told Kinda Funny that it's too short of a time frame for them to make it.
Telling Kinda Funny to fuck off with their request would be actively harmful to developers, because it means they get less exposure. This is the entire reason developers can do it "if they can"; if they don't record themselves, they obviously don't get to appear in Kinda Funny's video. Again, unless explicitly noted otherwise, assumption of nefarious retaliation against devs seems kind of unfounded unless you already think Dangen is out to get the devs.
 
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DealWithIt

Member
Oct 28, 2017
724
This is a tough one. Doesn't seem like there's any defense for Ben Judd. It's hard, or impossible to separate a bunch of business conflict from that truth. I would never work with Dangan knowing about Judd's creepiness. That sucks for anybody who has been working with them, who may not have known.

I follow a couple Dangen devs on Twitter, (Rdein who made momdora and Minoria) And they have worked with dangen multiple times, and the games are good. So Dangen, must not be all bad all the time? I guess it doesn't really matter. Dangen probably has to go away, at least as long as Judd's involved.

I haven't read too far into the tax stuff, But I'll reiterate that in my experience people readily and confidently believe that certain taxes dont apply to them, without really understanding the legal specifics. My takeaway from the Medium article is that the Writer thinks that they know more about the law and contracts than they actually do. That's dangerous, I would be careful about giving those opinions too much weight.

People have been pretty eager to give the dev a free pass for being a jerk in their communications. While I understand that viewpoint, I just wanna say: If you're ever in a business conflict with someone, even if you are a 100% certain you are totally in the right, keep your communication professional. You don't know who will read what you say in the future how they will interpret it and how they will judge you. You also want something from someone, and antagonizing them will not make them more likely to give you what you want. Hostility cedes a portion of narrative control. That can come to hurt you, no matter how good, or righteous it feels. Being hard to work with, even if the other side is at fault, only puts you further from your goals. That doesn't mean you have to fold, or even compromise. Just don't shoot yourself in the foot.
 

spman2099

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,944
More than ever we need someone in the media to do some digging on this and present a clear chain of events.
Honestly, I can't tell what is going on here at all. I need a journalist to verify claims and establish what is true and what it a falsehood. I am absolutely certain that Dangen made this situation extremely frustrating for the developers in question. It is readily apparent that there was mismanagement. However, I can't say I am certain (from what we have been presented) that it goes too much further than that (beyond the personal behavior of Judd, that is).

I don't want to peddle any of their narratives, but I can say from personal experience that the Japanese banking system is a fucking nightmare. I was only able to get all of my money out of Japan a full year after I had left (and many, many pieces of paperwork later). I wouldn't have been able to do it without assistance from someone who is deeply familiar with the process. It also seems like it is possible there were some serious attempts at reconciliation? I hate sounding like a wishy-washy fuck. I stand with the developers. I just can't discern the full story here...

That being said, Judd is clearly problematic at the very least. Even their official rebuttal does very little to clear him of the predatory accusations.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
981
Disclaimer: This post is entirely about the Kinda Funny videos. I'm in no way defending Dangen from any other accusations.



Because lying here would be rather stupid considering Kinda Funny will immediately get word of this via their fans and will immediately rebut it if it's false.
More generally, reading through their rebuttal seems entirely pointless if we're going to assume they're lying through their teeth the whole time. I think it makes more sense, in order to get the whole picture, to assume a degree of truthfulness on both parts except when accouts contradict each other. This isn't one of these cases (the devs do not contest, that I know, the fact that Dangen was notified late by Kinda Funny) so I don't see the need to believe they're lying. But yeah, the most important part is that shifting the blame to Kinda Funny would be a monumentally stupid move that will blow up in their faces immediately if it's false.

This is a good time to point out that the accounts of the business side of things from both parties, for the most part, do not directly contradict each other. I think both of them are telling the truth here, and most inconsistencies seem to come from different perspectives and miscommunication.



But the screencapped conversation clearly says "if you can" in the very first sentence?




I think we're blowing things up out of proportion here and quickly approaching "bitch eating crackers" halo effect.
- Dangen provides a service to developers for a fee. Developers are their clients. The power dynamics here are, I think, being grossly exaggerated. You only need to see how the DE dev talks to them and how they have to take it without retorting.
- The video they asked is of them saying "I'm X, I make games because Y. Thanks for playing", with Y being a couple of words. They didn't ask to film Gone with the Wind. And in the same conversation they asked, they told them they could deliver it the next day. While certainly inconvenient, I don't see it as unreasonable. In game dev and advertising, sometimes things like these happen; it's just how it is.



Telling Kinda Funny to fuck off with their request would be actively harmful to developers, because it means they get less exposure. This is the entire reason developers can do it "if they can"; if they don't record themselves, they obviously don't get to appear in Kinda Funny's video. Again, unless explicitly noted otherwise, assumption of nefarious retaliation against devs seems kind of unfounded unless you already think Dangen is out to get the devs.
If you're seriously going to assume that there aren't power dynamics going on between a publisher and a developer, then I don't know how to continue here. That's such a ridiculous assumption that either you're acting in bad faith or are just talking out of your ass. Besides that, solely making this about Kinda Funny's role in this is really missing the forest for the trees.

Also lmao I said they could've told Kinda Funny it wasn't possible for them to make the video, not to tell them to fuck off. That's one hell of a leap to make there.
 
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daxy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,425
That Indie Wolverine tweet is real weird. Just because you personally had totally okay interactions with a person/organization doesn't clear them from wrongdoing. What is that supposed to prove?
 

Weltall Zero

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,894
Madrid
If you're seriously going to assume that there aren't power dynamics going on between a publisher and a developer, then I don't know how to continue here. That's such a ridiculous assumption that either you're acting in bad faith or are just talking out of your ass.
I'm actually a game developer currently under a publishing contract (not under Dangen, before you ask), so while my experience isn't exactly comprehensive (this is my first time doing this), I at least have some notions about the power dynamics at play. Publishers are service companies, bound by contracts like literally everyone else; they cannot make you do anything that isn't in your contract. This "power dynamics" reinterpretation of a business interaction is unwarranted unless you're already assuming extreme unprofessionalism, hostility and vindictiveness on the part of Dangen, which is what you're trying to prove.

I also want to ask what is your experience with publishers that makes you affirm so categorically that such opressive power dynamics are at play, if only to avoid ever using their services!

Besides that, solely making this about Kinda Funny's role in this is really missing the forest for the trees.
Sure, but it was precisely the one example you used to generalize and invalidate the entire rebuttal, so it's the one that caught my eye. I'm not preventing you from bringing up other examples, and I won't contest them either because, frankly, we don't have enough information about the whole situation. I second that it would be quite fantastic for someone like jschreier to conduct a proper investigation on the matter.

Also lmao I said they could've told Kinda Funny it wasn't possible for them to make the video, not to tell them to fuck off. That's one hell of a leap to make there.
Sorry for assuming a figure of speech would not be taken literally. I will take the utmost care not to further embellish my writing in this thread.
 
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trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
981
I'm actually a game developer currently under a publishing contract (not under Dangen, before you ask), so while my experience isn't exactly comprehensive (this is my first time doing this), I at least have some notions about the power dynamics at play. Publishers are service companies, bound by contracts like literally everyone else; they cannot make you do anything that isn't in your contract. This "power dynamics" reinterpretation of a business interaction is unwarranted unless you're already assuming extreme unprofessionalism, hostility and vindictiveness on the part of Dangen, which is what you're trying to prove.

I also want to ask what is your experience with publishers that makes you affirm so categorically that such opressive power dynamics are at play, if only to avoid ever using their services!
Outside of having messed with Unity for a bit I'm not a game developer, but I don't need to be one to know that there are power dynamics when the publisher has control over you getting paid, as well as the release, marketing, and use of your game.

Also do you have any idea how ridiculous it is to ask someone to publicly talk details about shit the previous companies they worked with did? Especially in a thread where one of the accusations is Dangen's founder talking shit about other companies and breaking NDAs while doing so?

And I don't need to assume that Dangen is extremely unprofessional and hostile, they've already done plenty to show that they are themselves.
 
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atbigelow

Member
Oct 29, 2017
149
I'm actually a game developer currently under a publishing contract (not under Dangen, before you ask), so while my experience isn't exactly comprehensive (this is my first time doing this), I at least have some notions about the power dynamics at play. Publishers are service companies, bound by contracts like literally everyone else; they cannot make you do anything that isn't in your contract. This "power dynamics" reinterpretation of a business interaction is unwarranted unless you're already assuming extreme unprofessionalism, hostility and vindictiveness on the part of Dangen, which is what you're trying to prove.

I also want to ask what is your experience with publishers that makes you affirm so categorically that such opressive power dynamics are at play, if only to avoid ever using their services!
I've been in software development dealing with large and very scrutinized contracts for over a decade. I know exactly what they entail. And it doesn't matter what my experience is.

You are calling to a journalistic authority (jschreier ) who has documented similar abuses of publisher vs developer. You don't get to cite his reporting history on them but maintain that a contract is somehow stopping those events from happening. That's the whole god damn point of his work.
 

Kevin Snow

Member
Jul 13, 2018
3
I think the takeaway for me is that, hypothetically, every single one of Dangen's defenses of their business practices could be entirely truthful and accurate, and I would still believe Ben Judd is predatory and their company is untrustworthy due to their association with him and defense of him. So it almost doesn't matter to me which aspects of their post are true, there.
 
Dec 2, 2019
2
Is anyone able to share/link the Japanese translation of the original Medium article?
It’s this 70 tweet thread. The last tweet is a google doc link containing the text in the 70 tweets.
 

rawhide

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,437
Is anyone able to share/link the Japanese translation of the original Medium article?

There's a compilation at the end of the thread.
 

Harlequin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,610
What kind of pre-recorded streaming event would expect developers to deliver a recording of themselves in 24 hours? Checking the VOD, a lot of the developer videos were very well produced. And why would this no-notice extra be on a separate schedule from delivering the trailers/ect?

(check the first minute or so of the vod)

Certainly seems weird, I agree. Would make more sense if they'd asked for it all along and Dangen just forgot to pass on that bit of info, then remembered it last minute?
 

Love Machine

Member
Oct 29, 2017
917
Tokyo, Japan
It’s this 70 tweet thread. The last tweet is a google doc link containing the text in the 70 tweets.

There's a compilation at the end of the thread.
Many thanks both.
And to Alex, well done for speaking out. I hope justice comes from all this.
 
I mean, okay, I can get behind some of their answers to the business side of things. (I still believe there are some serious incompetence going on there regardless.) But even if The Writer was allegedly being Lex Luthor levels of manipulative and the DE dude is an ass, it still doesn’t change the fact that Judd didn’t really go into the sexual predator claims other than a long winded Nuh uh.
 

OnionKnight

Member
Nov 23, 2019
8
Lordran

Devil Engine composer points out that Dangen still hasn't paid him and still hadn't taken down his music in spite of them saying they had in their rebuttal (they took the youtube videos down right after the tweet was posted it seems, but he also links an archive of it for proof)
 

thetrin

Content Acquisition at DANGEN Entertainment
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
2,199
Osaka Japan
Hey guys,

Just to comment on the YT videos. Our team set the playlist to private, but in error didn't individually take down the songs. That is now done.

In the case of Qwesta, we've sent him a direct message to inform him that a sales report has been sent to the head of the Devil Engine team over a week ago, and we've been waiting for an invoice so we can pay them.

Just to clear things up.