Yogventures Artist Paid $35k For Two Weeks "Work"

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Yogventures Artist Paid $35k For Two Weeks "Work"

yogventures image

Stories of financial woe from failed Kickstarter Yogventures show just how they managed to lose half a million dollars.

You may have heard that the Yogscast-inspired adventure game Yogventures has been given the can despite managing to raise over $500,000 on Kickstarter. If you're scratching your head wondering how a company manages to blow through that much cash and still come up empty, some stories of financial woe, such as an artist who was paid $35,000 for two weeks of "work" (in which he produced nothing), may help explain it.

Kris Vale, of Yogventure's developer Winterkewl Games, said the unnamed artist accepted a $35,000 contract, then two weeks into it also accepted full-time employment with LucasArts, which was unwilling to let him moonlight for Winterkewl.

"Because we had worked out a contract that guaranteed each of the principal artists a $35,000 lump sum payment, and we didn't make any clear clause on how and why someone could legally stop working on the project, the artist in question got paid, worked for about 2 weeks and then stopped working on the project," explain Vale. "We had no way to force that person to pay back any of the funds and it was a bitter lesson to learn."

Lewis Brindley, one of the two Yogscast founders, "lost faith right away in my ability to run the company from a business standpoint," said Vale. Brindley in turn demanded that all the money Winterkewl hadn't already been spent (approx $150,000) be immediately transferred to him, to use in creating the physical rewards for Kickstarter backers, and also to hire the lead programmer that the game still lacked.

However, Vale says that the lead programmer Brindley was supposed to hire never arrived. "We began developing in earnest but without our main programmer and no funds to hire one it became clear that more of that role was going to be filled by me than I ever intended," Vale said.

Yogscast refused comment on what happened to the $100,000 that had supposedly been set aside for hiring the game's lead programmer, simply stating that "Any monies the Yogscast have received in connection with this project has been spent on this project."

So, it looks like we've got a combination of inexperienced developers, combined with Yogscast's over-reaching on the project, and just general poor money management which led to this disaster.

Source: Kickstarter via Polygon

Permalink

And this, children, is the reason why you only pay freelancers an advance before they start working for you, and not their full salary until their part of the project is completed.

The more I read of this failing, the more it it becomes absolute proof that everyone involved in a Kickstarter needs to do their research. The visionaries, developers and the backers all need to know what they're getting into. The only thing that seemed to work with this project was the Yogscast's ability to use their internet fame to haul in a load of cash.

Man, I wish that I could get paid a year's salary in one lump sum. Seriously, who though that was a good idea? What's the motivation to work if you've already been paid, and your contract doesn't say anything about actually completing the job?

What a player! He really hit the goldmine when he got hired by those jobbers...I mean who does such things? Pay someone in a lump sum with no clause to protect them in case the worker decided to vamoose? How many folk would actually stay if they knew they could get away with making a years sum of money in a day while doing nothing?

I'm still baffled by just how popular the yogscast are. I don't dislike their content necessarily, but I follow youtubers with a few hundred subs that I find much more entertaining.

Maybe I just really hate the sound of the word "yog".

Nothing but a disgrace. I wonder how anyone could trust those guys again.

What I'm amazed at is that these yogcast guys seem to be getting very little of the blame. They took $150,000 and no one knows where that went.

The way they have responded is horrible as well. Basically saying "oh those guys are the screw ups and we had nothing to do with it. And oh we don't have to lift a finger but since we are such nice guys we will give you this other game and call it even. Oh where is the $150k? Nah you guys don't need to know that. We spent it all on the game. Mhm. Yup. Just forget about it."

Seems real shady and low.

Kmadden2004:
Lewis Brindley, one of the two Yogscast founders, "lost faith right away in my ability to run the company from a business standpoint," said Vale.

Well I certainly wouldn't blame him! Those are some rank amateur business dealings right there. Much as we like to bash on lawyers, they exist for a reason.

Contracts should always be written up by folks with legal expertise and experience. And not the lawyer of the person who will benefit financially from the contract. Sounds like they threw together a contract with no earthly idea of contract law or how to write one... or they hired a fresh out of law school lawyer with no experience (who probably graduated at the low end of his/her class. What a trainwreck...
Don't run a business if you've no clue how to manage it.

I know it won't happen, but I really wish someone would take Yogscast up to task on explaining exactly where that 150 grand went. Actually looking at the backer rewards there's no way it took 150k to fulfill those rewards, it's primarily t-shirts and posters. And congrats to everyone who said Yogscast was in no way liable for this, turns out they actually are!

This is why I don't trust any Kickstarter by "celebrities" or anyone with little to no experience managing large projects. Roosterteeth creating their own movie and the Blue Mountain State producers making a BMS movie are safe bets. YouTube personalities who mostly just talk in and edit short videos producing a video game? That's pretty fucking stupid to get behind.

Unfortunate. But every KS fail shows us why the AAA industry is so conservative and protective.

"also accepted full-time employment with LucasArts"

What a minute... didn't Disney pull the plug on LucasArts?

captcha: i see

Sgt. Sykes:
Unfortunate. But every KS fail shows us why the AAA industry is so conservative and protective.

Has nothing to do with situation. It has to do with extremely poor running of a business. It has nothing to do with poor sales, or poor quality, which that statement would explain.

Bigeyez:
What I'm amazed at is that these yogcast guys seem to be getting very little of the blame. They took $150,000 and no one knows where that went.

At least part of it is apparently being spent on the physical rewards for the Kickstarter, and comments made on their forums suggest that they're also trying to implement as many of the game rewards originally promised for Yogventures in TUG, which backers get for free. Better to wait for a real statement though.

The Rogue Wolf:

Kmadden2004:
Lewis Brindley, one of the two Yogscast founders, "lost faith right away in my ability to run the company from a business standpoint," said Vale.

Well I certainly wouldn't blame him! Those are some rank amateur business dealings right there. Much as we like to bash on lawyers, they exist for a reason.

I'd have reacted exactly the same. One reason why indie projects go belly-up so quickly is because they tend to leverage mates rates and honour amongst friends, which is never something you should rely upon. Apparently these guys also took on an intern, which is just ridiculous for a fledgling studio.

Anyway, it's not like this game would ever have been any good. The world surely will not miss a Minecraft clone bursting at the seams with Yogscast in-jokes...

Bigeyez:
What I'm amazed at is that these yogcast guys seem to be getting very little of the blame. They took $150,000 and no one knows where that went.

Well apparently they took over the physical rewards and that "free" game didn't pay for itself. Yogscast have to pay for 13k backers to get a $10 game which is $130k right there, no doubt they got a discount for such a bulk purchase but we are still taking about a great deal of money.

Never the less they should have supported their own project first, it was probably a better call to spend that money on a game they could actually give fans, but keeping a critical staff member off the Yogventures team pretty much sealed their faith.

This is spectuacularly bad. Really, these guys shouldn't even have bothered.

It seems like good faith and expectations mixed with business and no one knew what exactly was going on.

It's a shame, because I was interested in the game from the videos I saw of it on the Yogscast site.

Why are they leaving the artist unnamed? Why wouldn't they publicly shame him/her and report their actions to their new employers? Preferably the latter first so they aren't blamed for a media crapstorm of "Lucasarts Hires Conartist" and damaging the company's image.

I've only ever interned in the industry and even I know you never give an up-front sum like that and to always write out a proper contract about what is expected of them.

Also a lesson for kickstarter backers. You're not 'paying up front' for a game, you're giving strangers money with hopes you'll ever see the game finished years down the line.

NightmareWarden:
Why are they leaving the artist unnamed? Why wouldn't they publicly shame him/her and report their actions to their new employers? Preferably the latter first so they aren't blamed for a media crapstorm of "Lucasarts Hires Conartist" and damaging the company's image.

The artist that took the money didn't "con" them, he just took advantage of bad contracts and bad decisions another business made. It's one of those "You're not wrong, you're just an asshole" things. Lucasarts aren't going to care because they have their own lawyers looking out for their best interests and are paid to write up binding contracts.

It turns out that two random bandwagon youtubers are not great at running a company to create a bizarre vanity project game about themselves.

NightmareWarden:
Why are they leaving the artist unnamed? Why wouldn't they publicly shame him/her and report their actions to their new employers? Preferably the latter first so they aren't blamed for a media crapstorm of "Lucasarts Hires Conartist" and damaging the company's image.

Because the artist is legally in the clear. If they weren't, they would be getting dragged into court.

They signed a contract where they pay a year of an employees salary up front in a lump sum but didn't add any conditions for what would happen if that employee quit. Who DOES that? They drew up a really fucking stupid contract and now have to live with it.

I actually feel really sorry for the yogscast here. They were very naive when they were just two dorks playing minecraft (instead of the entire business they have now) and put their faith where it should not have been put..

Has to be a shitty feeling.

Weaver:
I'm still baffled by just how popular the yogscast are. I don't dislike their content necessarily, but I follow youtubers with a few hundred subs that I find much more entertaining.

Maybe I just really hate the sound of the word "yog".

I enjoyed their podcast back in the day. It was real irregular but it was downright hilarious. Then Minecraft came out, they hit it big on that, and its been all downhill from there comicedicly imo.

walrusaurus:

Weaver:
I'm still baffled by just how popular the yogscast are. I don't dislike their content necessarily, but I follow youtubers with a few hundred subs that I find much more entertaining.

Maybe I just really hate the sound of the word "yog".

I enjoyed their podcast back in the day. It was real irregular but it was downright hilarious. Then Minecraft came out, they hit it big on that, and its been all downhill from there comicedicly imo.

Lewis and Simon are still pretty funny. I find that the rest of their crew has followed a loose pattern: random support staff member gets a chance to play game with them, generates a few laughs which become in-jokes which are endlessly parroted by their audience, said-staff member gets their own channel because they mistake the internet feedback loop for wit.

I wish they'd do more podcasts.

At this point it'll be more like news if a high profile kickstarted videogame doesn't run over time and budget....

I purport that we should wait a little more than four days for the Yogscast to actually sort it all out, rather than just start flinging allegations of fraud and theft. There's absolutely a chance there's shenanigans going on, but it takes a major multinational weeks or months to even admit that problems have even happened. Give a small team like the Yogscast at least a little bit of time to get their shit together before marching on their offices.

Wait a second. This artist screw them over big time, why aren't they mentioning his name. If i were them i would at least want to burn his reputation down for being such a scumback and just running with the money.

Weaver:
I'm still baffled by just how popular the yogscast are. I don't dislike their content necessarily, but I follow youtubers with a few hundred subs that I find much more entertaining.

Maybe I just really hate the sound of the word "yog".

My 10 year old daughter absolutely loves them. We didn't do the KS, thankfully, since I don't follow them enough to notice such things or I likely would have. And being in Australia, I often go for the digital-only tiers of things so would certainly have been in the most screwed demographic. :)

That said, I've done a bunch of Kickstarters, mostly on webcomic compilations and such, and have had really good luck with them. The few softwares I've done have been mixed (Girl Genius' game notably failed to impress me) but I take them with a HUGE grain of salt and understanding that if nothing comes of it, I'm out of luck.

Amaror:
Wait a second. This artist screw them over big time, why aren't they mentioning his name. If i were them i would at least want to burn his reputation down for being such a scumback and just running with the money.

Because then that artist could take them to the cleaners for defamation of character, or whatever the legal terminology should be.

Legally, the artist has done nothing wrong. Hell, he may not have realised he was going to get offered the LucasArts contract till after he signed up at which point as soon as he accepted the Lucas contract he then had to legally stop working on the Yogventures.

At this point, hes don nothing wrong. Sure, if he was a good guy he'd return at least a percentage of the money but he doesnt have to. If he were to return the money, it'd then be sitting with the Yog guys, then becomes a case of what do they do with the cash...

This breakdown is going to be fantastic, I hope he doesn't get sued for doing it.

It will be so helpful to everyone running a development studio to find some of the traps involved in making them. The artist thing is big and it's important to realise how thorough contracts need to be, sometimes even with people you trust.

But it was only $35,000, it must have been the inexperience as a lead developer and lack of main programmer (along with the overambition) that sunk it. Making games is expensive yo!

GloatingSwine:
At this point it'll be more like news if a high profile kickstarted videogame doesn't run over time and budget....

The time one is going to basically always happen. Kickstarter asks for the release date before people start backing the project. If you were making a game and you receive twice as much money, well it's basically going to take twice as long to make the game. You could hire more people but the quality of the game would begin to fall. Hiring the same people but for longer is the best way to make use of that money.

Also it's almost impossible to work out how long it takes to make a particular game before you make it =D That's why AAA development studios are always falling behind schedule too. My biggest surprise of Kickstarter so far is that Obsidian are still insisting that Pillars of Eternity is going to be ready for winter, which is the date they gave after the kickstarter was over.

maybe they should have used that $500k for a lawyer to make some contracts but alas internet contracts aren't as solid as they appear

Wow, that is one massive contract fail right there. It's odd that they had the sense to write a contract, but not enough to have someone check it through for gaping and soon-to-be expensive loopholes. Which is kind of one of the big problems with indie developers, they might have the game development sorted but they also need someone to cover the business side to prevent fuck up-ery like this.

Fasckira:

Because then that artist could take them to the cleaners for defamation of character, or whatever the legal terminology should be.

Legally, the artist has done nothing wrong. Hell, he may not have realised he was going to get offered the LucasArts contract till after he signed up at which point as soon as he accepted the Lucas contract he then had to legally stop working on the Yogventures.

At this point, hes don nothing wrong. Sure, if he was a good guy he'd return at least a percentage of the money but he doesnt have to. If he were to return the money, it'd then be sitting with the Yog guys, then becomes a case of what do they do with the cash...

Yeah but legally not done anything wrong and not done anything wrong are not the same thing.
He took money for work he didn't do.
That is doing something wrong.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here