In an open letter to the media, three indie studio heads decided to break their silence and detail the struggle they have had working with publisher Mamba Games Ltd. The letter signed by Jakub Dvorsky, Managing Director of Amanita Design; Andrey Arutyunyan, Managing Director of Colibri Games; and Sergei Klimov, Director of International Publishing of Daedalic Entertainment, details at great length the alleged trouble these studios had in getting Mamba Games Ltd and Lace Mamba Global Ltd to honor its contracts and make payments in a timely manner.
The studios detail their own individual problems in the letter but it mostly has to do with Mamba Games Ltd and Jason Codd - its director. The companies claim that the British publisher did not honor its contract with them in various deals, and did not provide reports on time nor royalty payments it promised per contracts it signed. The publisher is also accused of selling rights to games it had no right to sell and pocketing the money. From the letter:
Following the execution of the contracts and delivery of game masters to Lace Mamba Global Ltd., neither Colibri nor Daedalic have received the full amount of the minimum guarantees that Lace Mamba Global Ltd. agreed to pay in their contracts with the studios. At first, promises to pay were made by Jason Codd, LMG’s European Managing Director; then Jason Codd completely disappeared from the correspondence and numerous reminders were ignored by him as well as by his colleagues.
At the same time, neither Amanita nor Colibri nor Daedalic received from Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. the royalty reports that have been due under the contracts on a quarterly basis. We found ourselves in an uncomfortable position of having a third party exploit the results of our creative work in a totally uncontrolled manner where we did not know
Later, two of the developers would find out - according to their account of the events - that their games were being sold in territories without an agreement and without their permission:
After trying with no success for many months all three publishers ultimately terminated their contracts with Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. After a long time of getting nowhere with the company, all three studios were either paid what they were owed or had an agreement promising to pay what was owed in their hands:
Moreover, as of February 11, 2013, Lace Mamba Global Ltd. has paid all of its outstanding debts to CBE and Daedalic Entertainment and also paid to Colibri the remaining part of the minimum guarantee that has been due for many months before, signing with Colibri an additional written agreement to pay the remaining debts by March 15, 2013. Finally, Lace Mamba Global Ltd. delivered to Colibri the unsold units of Colibri’s game that were in its possession, and promised to deliver the same to Daedalic.
Developer issues with Lace Mamba Global were recently brought to light late last month after indie game studio CBE Software went public with its dispute with the company and its associated subsidiary via a similar public statement. At the time Lace Mamba denied any knowledge of the problems put forth by CBA but promised to look into it. Later it announced that Jason Codd, the director of Mamba Games Ltd, had resigned.
Jason Codd is an important figure in this story because Lace Mamba Global Ltd claims he was the director of Mamba Games Ltd and that it was not responsible for reporting and payments due by Mamba Games Ltd. To add to the confusion, Codd, who supposedly owned both companies, denied that he was ever officially the director of either Mamba Games Ltd or Lace Mamba Global Ltd, even though "he sometimes signed as a European managing director of Lace Mamba Global Ltd (but not of Mamba Games Ltd)," according to the letter.
The structure of the companies related to Lace Mamba Global Ltd is part of the problem and who actually runs them is another. According to research from Games Industry International, Adam Lacey - director of Lace Mamba Global - is also named a director at eight other companies including Lace Digital Media Sales Limited and Lace Mamba Digital Limited. All of these companies are owned by the parent group Lace Holdings Ltd. Meanwhile Mamba Games Ltd is no longer an active entity apparently, though Dahl Westgaard is listed as the only director, not Jason Codd.
Ultimately the three indie studio heads who penned the letter did so as a cautionary tale to other indie developers who may be thinking of doing business with this publisher or any of its various subsidiaries.
"Please learn from our experience and do not make the mistake of working with a group of people who are known for systematically not fulfilling their obligations towards development studios," the letter warns.
Amanita also says that it will likely look into hiring a "professional law firm that would be able to take the issue to the British courts in order to establish the precise relationship of Lace Mamba Global, Lace Group and Mamba Games, as well as the positions and responsibilities of these companies and their management as far as Amanita’s contract and breach of such contract are concerned."
You can check out the entire letter below.
For its part, Lace Mamba Global issued a statement to GamePolitics in response to the open letter, where it tried to explain the events that led to the situation:
In reply to the open letter written by Daedalic, Amanita and Colibri on 11th February, Lace Mamba Global would like to comment.
In January of 2010 Mamba Games Ltd, an existing company, run by Jason Codd and Robert Neilson, formed a partnership with Adam Lacey of Lace International, with the intention of forming a new games company, Lace Mamba Global Ltd. This partnership was widely reported in the media at the time. As this was a partnership deal, Mamba Games Ltd continued to trade as a company in its own right, retaining its pre-existing contracts that were signed prior to the formation of Lace Mamba Global.
Mamba Games sub-licensed some of its pre-existing contracted product to Lace Mamba Global for distribution in the UK and Eire. Where Mamba Games product has been sold to other territories, this was done directly by Mamba Games, selling Lace Mamba Global branded product to international distributors for which Mamba Games were paid directly. Lace Mamba Global recognise that Mamba Games (Jason Codd) pre-existing contractual obligations are not being met and we will do all we can to help developers to ensure Mamba Games are held to account.
As per our previous statement ( http://bit.ly/12rw1PZ), Lace Mamba Global also recognise that there have been some reporting and accounting issues in the past which we are actively working to resolve. We are pleased that those companies who we have been working closely with over the past few days have acknowledged that we have resolved their outstanding issues and we continue to work with and contact our other partners to ensure all of Lace Mamba’s contractual obligations are being met in full.
Lace Mamba Global are committed to regaining the trust of the gaming industry, we value our partnerships and will endeavour to resolve all the issues currently facing us. We would like to thank all developers for their continued patience while we review our contracts and report accurately.
Lace Mamba Global would like to state that we will not publicly discuss individual contracts or issues out of respect for confidentiality.
We will have more on this story as it develops. You can find both letters attached to this story below.