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Dangen Entertainment Allegedly Robbing Indie Devs? (Update: Medium article with more info; Dangen responds; 2nd Medium article -- See Threadmarks)

Theswweet

RPG Site
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
2,376
California
So... this appears to be developing, but at least one Indie developer, and allegedly others, aren't being paid royalties for their games published by Dangen Entertainment. A post went up on r/games earlier today, but also the developers for Devil Engine Ignition have not-so-subtly been claiming it themselves on Twitter:


So far only one developer has alleged this, but they're claiming that they've been in contact with other developers that have had the same happen to them. Obviously, this is a developing story - hoping this isn't what it looks like...

EDIT: Dangen Official Response:

Hey everyone.

I loathe writing messages like this, because it means that something is on fire. I really wish I was writing a post about how awesome I thought X-men #2 was, or how much I’m enjoying Jedi Fallen Order.

That said, I think it’s proper that I handle the issue at hand directly. Since even before its release, the developer of Devil Engine has been verbally abusive to us, and has been hugely toxic to our entire team. The toxicity got to a point that it started to affect my mental state, and we eventually mutually agreed to a commucation proxy to get work done. (I’m happy to offer up evidence if asked, but I’m not doing so right now to keep this post legible).

There is no question that we made mistakes while working with the developer. We’re not perfect. When mistakes were made, we did our best to rectify the situation.

Soon after the release of Devil Engine, the developer assigned a proxy to receive all revenue they had earned. This was to expedite payment and make sure that they DID NOT receive payment late. Withholding tax when transferring money out of the country is a giant headache, which is why a proxy based in Japan was chosen. We paid the developer’s proxy on July 23rd, well within the rules of the contract we signed. We also supplied evidence to the developer of the payment..

And now they’re attacking one of our other developers, encouraging people to pirate the game instead of buying it. Bug Fables is an incredible game that deserves better. Moonsprout Games has been working for a very long time on the game, and has created something that we’re insanely lucky and proud to be working with. They do not deserve this.

Anyway, if anyone has questions or would like evidence, I do need to ask our counsel what we’re able to make public, as we do have an NDA in place. I hope this clears things up.

Alas, receipts regarding the allegations: http://archive.is/9rMi2

Yet another response: https://medium.com/@dangen_ent/official-rebuttal-to-dangen-entertainment-warning-6dec06ae1977

Edit - 12/8/19 - it just keeps coming: http://archive.is/DG4Yi
 
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Chaosblade

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,313
Yikes. Developer straight up suggested pirating their game too, hard to imagine they would do that if it was merely a contract issue of not having enough sales to reach a payout or something.

Still, three sides to every story and all that.
 

Mesoian

Member
Oct 28, 2017
9,322
There was a thread about this earlier, but yeah, things are developing.

Sounds like it's gonna be a tough fight as, if litigation is required, it's going to have to be in a Japanese court.
 

daegan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
873
Will be really bummed if true, as one of the dudes that are a part of this I've followed for a long time on twitter and seems like a solid guy

(not ben judd, who was outed recently as a colossal shit)
 

Catshade

Member
Oct 26, 2017
674
Don't we have a Dangen staff as an Era member here? Can't remember his/her username...
 

JKuch

Member
Oct 25, 2017
545
Damn, that super unfortunate to hear. :(
I hope it's all a misunderstanding, from the outside Dangen seemed to be pretty good.

Devil Engine and Bug Fables are such fantastic games, really hope this doesn't affect the developers too much.
 

sauce

Member
Oct 25, 2017
426
This is super disappointing to hear, I hope the devs get it sorted out.

Will be really bummed if true, as one of the dudes that are a part of this I've followed for a long time on twitter and seems like a solid guy

(not ben judd, who was outed recently as a colossal shit)
What happened with him?
 

Accoun

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,377

Original tweet deleted.
Due to legAl issues, we uNfortunetly have to delay iGnition's rElease uNtil furtheR notice. we are cOmmited to BBringing the complEteD proUduct as Soon as possible.
 
Dangen Entertainment responds New

thetrin

Content Acquisition at DANGEN Entertainment
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
2,205
Osaka Japan
Hey everyone.

I loathe writing messages like this, because it means that something is on fire. I really wish I was writing a post about how awesome I thought X-men #2 was, or how much I’m enjoying Jedi Fallen Order.

That said, I think it’s proper that I handle the issue at hand directly. Since even before its release, the developer of Devil Engine has been verbally abusive to us, and has been hugely toxic to our entire team. The toxicity got to a point that it started to affect my mental state, and we eventually mutually agreed to a commucation proxy to get work done. (I’m happy to offer up evidence if asked, but I’m not doing so right now to keep this post legible).

There is no question that we made mistakes while working with the developer. We’re not perfect. When mistakes were made, we did our best to rectify the situation.

Soon after the release of Devil Engine, the developer assigned a proxy to receive all revenue they had earned. This was to expedite payment and make sure that they DID NOT receive payment late. Withholding tax when transferring money out of the country is a giant headache, which is why a proxy based in Japan was chosen. We paid the developer’s proxy on July 23rd, well within the rules of the contract we signed. We also supplied evidence to the developer of the payment..

And now they’re attacking one of our other developers, encouraging people to pirate the game instead of buying it. Bug Fables is an incredible game that deserves better. Moonsprout Games has been working for a very long time on the game, and has created something that we’re insanely lucky and proud to be working with. They do not deserve this.

Anyway, if anyone has questions or would like evidence, I do need to ask our counsel what we’re able to make public, as we do have an NDA in place. I hope this clears things up.
 
OP
OP
Theswweet

Theswweet

RPG Site
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
2,376
California
Hey everyone.

I loathe writing messages like this, because it means that something is on fire. I really wish I was writing a post about how awesome I thought X-men #2 was, or how much I’m enjoying Jedi Fallen Order.

That said, I think it’s proper that I handle the issue at hand directly. Since even before its release, the developer of Devil Engine has been verbally abusive to us, and has been hugely toxic to our entire team. The toxicity got to a point that it started to affect my mental state, and we eventually mutually agreed to a commucation proxy to get work done. (I’m happy to offer up evidence if asked, but I’m not doing so right now to keep this post legible).

There is no question that we made mistakes while working with the developer. We’re not perfect. When mistakes were made, we did our best to rectify the situation.

Soon after the release of Devil Engine, the developer assigned a proxy to receive all revenue they had earned. This was to expedite payment and make sure that they DID NOT receive payment late. Withholding tax when transferring money out of the country is a giant headache, which is why a proxy based in Japan was chosen. We paid the developer’s proxy on July 23rd, well within the rules of the contract we signed. We also supplied evidence to the developer of the payment..

And now they’re attacking one of our other developers, encouraging people to pirate the game instead of buying it. Bug Fables is an incredible game that deserves better. Moonsprout Games has been working for a very long time on the game, and has created something that we’re insanely lucky and proud to be working with. They do not deserve this.

Anyway, if anyone has questions or would like evidence, I do need to ask our counsel what we’re able to make public, as we do have an NDA in place. I hope this clears things up.
Thanks for the response. Can a mod update the thread title?
 

deadfolk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,710
It seems that the Devil Engine dev is alleging that that are not alone, but there doesn't seem to be anything to back this up afaict (and I'm not going to 4chan).

Anyone seen any evidence of this?
 

rawhide

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,455
A response to the response on this thread https://twitter.com/Protocultgames/status/1198161167320961024 (already deleted?)

"Way to leave out the crucial detail that you edited totals and removed dates on your rap sheet, charged us tax that didn't apply (and pocketed it yourself), and gave us an 'invoice' that look like it came out of a ToyRUs printer."

https://twitter.com/Protocultgames/status/1198163122416054279 (deleted?)

"Since sufficient documentation for what the payment was actually for wasn't provided the money is stuck in a legal limbo in Japan; Banks think it's mysterious Yakuza money or something and thus we can't get it out of the country."

https://twitter.com/Protocultgames/status/1198173237701562369 (deleted?)

"They've been ghosting us for months; this is the first communication we've had with them since about the middle of august."
 

jackal27

Member
Oct 25, 2017
896
Joplin, MO
Ugh hating all this as someone who really enjoyed Devil Engine and several other games Dangen has published. Really not sure which parts of this to believe and chances are the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Just sucks that it's happening in a public space. Then again the Ben Judd thing yikes... Seems I missed that in the shuffle last August.
 
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fiendcode

Member
Oct 26, 2017
12,374
Dangen's amassed one of the better indie lineups imo and I loved Devil Engine, I hope all this gets worked out.
 

DealWithIt

Member
Oct 28, 2017
729
I'm generally suspicious of the claims. It sounds like a tax controversy. In my experience, people are frequently certain that taxes that only apply in certain edge cases won't apply to them. That certainty is frequently misplaced.

That Dangen screwed up forms/process for an international payment seems a lot more plausible, but that doesn't have to be sinister.

Who knows, I guess we'll wait for more info from the devs.
 

ak1287

Member
Oct 28, 2017
964
Really glad we started with the most inflammatory headline and worked backwards from there.
 

Zelus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
659
Just to make it clear cause this isn't really mentioned in the OP: this fuck is the co-founder of Dangen.
That’s disgusting. I’m so glad I don’t work in the video game industry. I swear it’s full of sleaze balls everywhere you turn. It’s almost like an industry that embraces no discipline and hedonism has a bunch of out of control characters... Who would have guessed?
 

RexNovis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,509
A response to the response on this thread https://twitter.com/Protocultgames/status/1198161167320961024 (already deleted?)

"Way to leave out the crucial detail that you edited totals and removed dates on your rap sheet, charged us tax that didn't apply (and pocketed it yourself), and gave us an 'invoice' that look like it came out of a ToyRUs printer."

https://twitter.com/Protocultgames/status/1198163122416054279 (deleted?)

"Since sufficient documentation for what the payment was actually for wasn't provided the money is stuck in a legal limbo in Japan; Banks think it's mysterious Yakuza money or something and thus we can't get it out of the country."

https://twitter.com/Protocultgames/status/1198173237701562369 (deleted?)

"They've been ghosting us for months; this is the first communication we've had with them since about the middle of august."
As someone who lived in Japan and dealt with their backwards ass banking system this sounds more like an issue with the banking system holding funds which is frankly super common for international transfers.

Hey thetrin Glad to see you’ve responded here. I’m guessing people don’t realize how convoluted japanese banking can be when it comes to international transfers. Do you have any response to their other claims about alterations made or documentation etc?
 

Uhyve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
389
I'm generally suspicious of the claims. It sounds like a tax controversy. In my experience, people are frequently certain that taxes that only apply in certain edge cases won't apply to them. That certainty is frequently misplaced.
So much this. Honestly, the weird payment through proxy thing was always gonna look shady to the tax man.
 
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Kaguya

Member
Jun 19, 2018
2,951
None of this sound surprising from a publisher whose CEO is Ben Judd, and of course his name, alongside sexual harassment, comes up again in the Reddit thread.
 
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Necromanti

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,985
I've only skimmed parts of the article so far, but I'm already amazed by how unprofessional, incompetent, and scummy Ben Judd (in particular) seems to be on so many different levels. I don't see how he and Dangen are not finished after this.

Ben continued angrily, “Look, I see what you’re doing. You’re running around behind Nayan’s back, trying to ruin his life, digging up gossip about him. It needs to stop. I will not tolerate my team being treated like this.”

I distinctly remembered Ben being the one to suggest that Nayan should be fired, and I had only collected grievances against Nayan by Ben’s own request.
This hot-cold behavior reminds me of a boss I had a long time ago in terms of their poor ability to manage employees they had trouble with.

She really brought out all the receipts for this one.
 
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Necromanti

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,985
It's also kind of amazing how someone in Ben's position can lack such respect for NDAs.



Also, I stan sinoc.
 
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TheMrPliskin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,048
The medium article is a really infuriating read.

The level of negligence and creepy behaviour is just mind boggling.
 

Buckle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,663
I really hope it doesn't affect Bug Fables or Disc Creatures in a bad way.

Both incredible games that I would put as contenders for my indie game of the years.
 

rpm

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,518
the 24th century
Just finished reading the article.

God damn.

I'd really like to see the evidence that thetrin offered to show, assuming it isn't the stuff already in the article
 

newmoneytrash

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,268
Melbourne, Australia
So... we've got a huge medium article that just dropped, going over everything. It's a doozy.

this is damning

I'd really like to see the evidence that thetrin offered up, assuming it isn't the stuff already in the article
yeah, if it's just the stuff in the article then the post in this thread reads even more hollow than it already did
 

Praglik

Member
Nov 3, 2017
50
Jeeeesus that's insane. But you know what, my only window to the indie scene is Twitter and articles like that.

On Twitter there's sparkles, butterflies, ponies and kisses between indie devs everywhere, and then from time to time there's those insanely weird and creepy articles popping up that makes you think the scene is rotten at its core.

The whole indie scene looks EXTREME to me. You've got devs that earn millions from their weird title while some other post about how they starved themselves for years for a game that didn't find its audience and made virtually no money.

Is there some normal, healthy average studios out there?