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

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Yogventures Artist Paid $35k For Two Weeks "Work"


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 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/136235-Yogventures-Kickstarter-Cancelled-Backers-Offered-Free-Other-Game] 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: Polygon [https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/winterkewlgames/yogventures/posts/919100]

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Kmadden2004

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Feb 13, 2010
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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.
 

Idlemessiah

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Feb 22, 2009
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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.
 

AdmiralCheez

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Nov 9, 2009
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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?
 

Rozalia1

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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?
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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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".
 

Bigeyez

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Apr 26, 2009
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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.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Kmadden2004 said:
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.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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May 15, 2010
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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.
 

Rednog

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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!
 

rasputin0009

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Feb 12, 2013
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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.
 

NoeL

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May 14, 2011
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"also accepted full-time employment with LucasArts"

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

captcha: i see
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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Bigeyez said:
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 said:
Kmadden2004 said:
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...
 

Smooth Operator

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Bigeyez said:
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.
 

RealRT

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Feb 28, 2014
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This is spectuacularly bad. Really, these guys shouldn't even have bothered.
 

NightmareWarden

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Jul 2, 2011
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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.