Rising Star Games And Delve Interactive Air Dirty Laundry

Remember Poncho? That really cool 2D platformer I have spoken about on more than a few occasions?

Well, it seems the team behind the game may be in a bit of a bind, allow me to highlight the following article on DESTRUCTOID

The makers of Poncho have some words of wisdom for indie developers

 

Now to give you a bit of history I had the privilege to have met the guys from Delve Interactive when they were showing PONCHO themselves at EGX during the mid to end of their Kickstarter project which ended October 2014. The passion the team showed about their title was moving. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter failed and the team then decided to move to sign an agreement with Rising Star Games to get the game completed and published.

Now for a select few signing and getting the game published by a publisher is exactly the right decision, having someone supporting you who will have your best interests at heart, especially when the publisher you pick has a history of working successfully with other Indie Games titles it’s a no brainer right?!

Well, in this story that I have brought before you, this doesn’t seem the case!

In what can only be described as a blow for blow exchange the Rising Star Games team and the Delve Interactive team have “decided to take their dirty laundry out in public”.

Rising Star Game seemly taking the first shot following their feeling of being personally attacked in a post mortem that Delve Interactive wrote following the failure and pit falls that lead to this wonderful game not being found or making a penny.

Literally starting their reply to the article with this quote – “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” – Albert Einstein

Rising Star Game immediately go on the defensive, “we’d like to set the record straight or, at least, provide some sort of balance.”

The reply continues with a stage by stage historic summary of the relationship, what they felt happened and why and even goes as far to say “Sadly, not one development milestone was achieved to schedule by the dev team.” however despite this the game did get launched on a few platforms. So Delve are to blame for all failures right?

Well that was the case then why did The Rising Star Games team accept some of the responsibility? “We got things wrong too but to suggest that RSG caused a series of “events” that largely contributed to Danny’s parlous state ignores the repeated failings of the dev team to deliver on the promises and agreed work.” What exactly Rising Star Games are admitting fault on isn’t clear here.

Moving on Rising Star Game even attempts to demonstrate where they took matters into their own hands to help the Delve Interactive team “Delve kept working but eventually communicated “It’s just too much for one person to handle” – the game would be many more months in development. We solved this “event” by using our console development equipment and assigning (and paying) for the console versions of the game to be completed elsewhere.” Surely then they did everything they could do, well not when you see what happened next.

Now steps up Delve Interactive, Danny Hayes himself to be precise.

Opening the rebuttal with “It seems that Rising Star Games have decided to take their dirty laundry out in public. This is the very thing we restrained ourselves from doing while writing the post-mortem, which we wrote for other developers in order to stop them from making the same mistakes we made.”

Harmless enough when you think about it though it does seem there is more to the story than Rising Star Games are willing to discuss “We also need to defend ourselves. I have spoken to some of the other indies who have signed with Rising Star and knowing of their similarly disappointing experiences, I have invited them here to join this conversation.”

Seems as if there is an air of discontentment among a number of existing clients under the Rising Star Games branding.

Delve Interactive in a similar vain to Rising Star Games opted to write a historical overview of the relationship in their defense.

“This is where things are my fault, despite Rising Star telling us that they’d happily give us everything we needed or even additional funding without any problem, if we ever needed anything, they refused.” 

In fact, Delve’s Interactives’ Danny Hayes makes a point to mention a number of times they were refused help prior to the “failure” of the launch of PONCHO under the Rising Star Games publishing brand.

“Our contract stipulated an “on delivery” milestone system. The day after signing it, I asked our new allies if we could receive a small amount of start up funds. As soon as we mentioned perhaps receiving the first milestone in advance so that we could pay our artist and afford to pay rent, they said no. I explained how this could cause delays to the original release date we discussed, but they still said no. Now, of course, it’s my fault for not having this amended in the contract, but they could have easily paid a couple thousand in the beginning to ensure smooth development.”

Throughout these altercations, both parties make a point to demonstrate how they were not completely to blame. Though reading through replies it’s easy to feel a little disheartened and disappointed towards both parties, did they need to air this at all?

I mean we have to remember Rising Star Games are a business first and foremost and when you sign a contract you have to adhere to the contract, now if you can not then you need to make sure the party in question is fully aware and a compromise made where possible.

The questions I would like to think about are,

Did Delve Interactive really need to write a public postmortem in the first place?

Did Rising Star Game need to react so personally?

Surely Both parties understood what was expected and somewhere it was in writing help would be on offer when needed?

Could a compromise have been made by Rising Star Games that would have assisted Delve Interactive in the completion of their game to a successful standard?

Are Rising Star Games to be blamed for not doing enough, soon enough?

Did Delve under estimate the challenges they had before them?

What are your thoughts?

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