Winterkewl releases Yogventures budget breakdown

$35k spent on an artist who left project after two weeks, completed no work for the game

Winterkewl Games has released a budget breakdown for Yogventures, the crowdfunded game it cancelled last week.

For the most part, the figures are intended to reassure the game's backers that all of their money was spent in "good faith" at the very least. And that seems to have been the case in all but one instance.

According to a statement from Kris Vale, who was lead developer on Yogventures, the company spent $35,000 on an artist who ultimately didn't contribute any meaningful work to the project. The deal Winterkewl offered to its contracted artists guaranteed payment, but contained no clause relating to valid reasons to stop working on the game. The artist in question was offered a job by LucasArts after two weeks, and LucasArts wouldn't consent to any further contributions to Yogventures.

"This is a very good example of how my inexperience caused some problems in the development," said Vale, who has been commendably honest about the reasons for Yogventures' cancellation. "We had no way to force that person to pay back any of the funds and it was a bitter lesson to learn. Always get every possible scenario in writing or you will have no legal recourse."

This early mistake prompted Lewis Brindley - co-founder of the Yogscast, which lent its imagery, characters and support to the project, but was not responsible for its development - to take $150,000 of the remaining money to ensure all of the physical Kickstarter rewards reached Yogventures' backers.

"The whole fiasco left a bad taste in all parties mouth and we could immediately feel tensions beginning to take the place of what was once just excitement and joy to be making such a cool game," Vale continued. "In hindsight I wish I would have let Lewis manage all of the funds from the very beginning and essentially just taken a profit share contract from them so that there wasn't any of the confusion that happened later."

Yogventures was cancelled last week, with WInterkewl now under threat of bankruptcy. All assets from the game have been transferred to the Yogscast, which is now working with TUG developer Nerd Kingdom so that its backers will receive a free copy of a game that is, "is shaping up to be everything we wanted Yogventures to be."

The Yogscast has claimed that all Kickstarter backers have been sent their physical rewards. Nerd Kingdom is currently working on suitable replacements for any rewards based on in-game items and features.

The full budget breakdown can be found here.

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Latest comments (3)

What a mess. Kris Vale's honesty is refreshing but it's a shame someone so inexperienced was left in charge of a project of that scope. Five film-industry artists, one (self-admitted underexperienced)full-time and one intern programmer? That's not a strong mix for a dev team.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
I have to say that offering 35k up front without assurance that work would be completed is very silly no matter what kind of budget you are working with.

I think everyone saw this kind of 'hey we promise the world kickstarter campaign' which actually turns out to be an 'OMG this is much harder than I thought!!!' fiasco. Shame really as the more of this that happens (which inevitably it will again) means people will be more reluctant to bet on the small team.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 21st July 2014 10:45am

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Nic Wechter Senior Designer, Black Tusk (MGS Vancouver)3 years ago
I have to say that its kind of low to accept a $35k payment and then not give any of it back if they didn't contribute significant work. Just because you aren't forced to by contract doesn't make it ok. This kind of thing makes all freelancers look bad.
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