‘Yogventures’ Developer Explains ‘Where The Money Went’

Last week popular gaming-related YouTube group Yogscast announced that Yogventures was no longer in development. Kickstarter backers were told they would receive a Steam key for TUG, a similar game whose developer Yogscast had now partnered with instead.

The Kickstarter campaign for the game generated $567,000 from over $13,000 backers. In an update to the Kickstarter page, Yogventures lead developer Kris Vale has laid out what the money has been spent on in a post entitled "One last update from Winterkewl."

"Sorry I didn't respond earlier to the news the Yogscast announced earlier this week," Vale began. "I was travelling for work and didn't really have time to get online and make a proper response. Like I said, our partnership was dissolved so of course they didn't (and didn't have to) tell me anything about it so it came as much as a surprise to me as anyone."

Vale begins by saying that, it received about $415,000 of the pledged money after Kickstarter and Amazon fees were taken. The developer then met with Yogscast to decide a budget. That budget break-down according to Vale, is as follows:

$35,000.00 Concept Art / Sky boxes / Environment Textures (Senior matte painter / concept artist from PDI Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Concept Art / Character Designs / UI Design (Senior Character Designer Treyarch)
$35,000.00 Modeling (Senior Modeler from Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Textures / Surfacing / Shader development (Senior Surface Artist from Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Animation (Senior Animator from Dreamworks)
$35,000.00 Programming / Unity Development (Myself Unity Developer)
$15,000.00 Unity Developer part time / intern
$100,000.00 Programming / Application Architecture / Back-end Server Code / Voxel Engine (TBD, we were courting several programmers with lots of game experience over the course of the Kickstarter)
$3500.00 Legal Fees Contracts
$1500.00 Accountant Fees
$15000.00 Hardware (PC computers)
$5000.00 Software Licenses
$15,000.00 Escrow for expenses related to development like buying Unity Assets etc.
$50,000.00 Physical Rewards creation and Shipping

"Since the money was all spent either directly on development of the game or paid to the Yogscast to handle physical rewards and 'licensing fees' I'm afraid Winterkewl Games has a negative balance at this point. We don't have any of the money left and as such can't really offer refunds."

"Nothing was scammed, no one and I mean NO ONE has gotten rich from this effort or is even better off then when we started, except for all the memories and the great feeling it was to see your support and try and make a great product from it," he added.

Vale also revealed details on an early fight between Winterkewl and Yogcast that soured the two company's relationship and caused "tensions" to arise.

"Right off the bat we had one major incident that happened that we could not fix," Vale explained. "Our good friend and matte painter, [a] really terrific artist that created most of the concept art with environments on the Kickstarter page, he left PDI to work at LucasArts. LucasArts wouldn't give him a carve out in his contract to work on Yogventures so he couldn't work on the project any longer.

"This is a very good example of how my inexperience caused some problems in the development. 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 two weeks and then stopped working on the project. 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."

"When Lewis found out about the artist incident he was rightly confused and upset, as a result he lost faith right away in my ability to run the company from a business standpoint and basically required that all the rest of the Kickstarter money that hadn't been spent be transferred to them right away."

"In the end we negotiated that $150,000 would be transferred to the Yogscast with the understanding that they would use that money exclusively to create and ship all the physical rewards, AND they would help hire the main programmer that we still didn't have on the project. The whole fiasco left a bad taste in all parties mouths."

Following Winterkewl's statement, Yogscast posted a brief response and disputed some of what Vale said.

"We're not ready to make a detailed statement about what happened with Yogventures," Yogscast co-founder Lewis Brindley wrote. "Winterkewl's statement omits much and I would disagree with a number of points, but there's no value in going into detail. Our only goal right now is to ensure that we provide the best possible experience for the backers that we can. I can honestly say this has been our goal throughout."

Brindley claims that these are these facts:

Winterkewl failed to meet their promises with Yogventures
The Yogscast are doing their best to rectify this situation – TUG is only the first step
Any monies the Yogscast have received in connection with this project has been spent on this project

"I would just like to say that this project was started when The Yogscast was just me and Simon making videos out of our bedrooms. We met Kris and trusted his qualifications and assertions that we could trust him with our brand and even more importantly, our audience. Needless to say, I'm upset and embarrassed, but strongly believe the backers will end up getting far more value and a far better result than they originally anticipated when they backed this project."

Source: Eurogamer

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  1. 0
    Sora-Chan says:

    As I've stated previously, this is the risk for kickstarters. Projects can just fall through, and it's not even always the fault of the dev. Some of it can be mismanagement, inexperience, or even just bad luck. It doesn't have to even be malicious. In this case, it sounds it's a little of "all of the above", for an example, the bad luck from the lost of the artist. You can't really get mad when a project you backed falls through. Stuff like this happens, it's not the first time, and it won't be the last time. Kickstarters aren't really for buying a product, it's for trying to make those products into reality. They didn't force you to pay money to them, you gave it to them on your own free will.

    One thing did seem odd though, the Yogscast was supposed to hire a programmer with the money that had been negotiated over. Instead, Vale ended up becoming the programmer, when he had little experience in the matter. I would count this up to mismanagement.

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  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I can not help but notice the general response from the developer has been transparent and taking responsibility, while Yogcast seems to be doing a lot of backpeddling and kinda throwing the dev under the bus.

    Given all the claims in the original kickstarter about the skills and history of the developer, I wonder if the dev talked themselves up and gave yogcast the wrong idea, or if the yogcast people hyped things up without thinking things through.

    The dev team was in over their heads fumbling through a project they lacked the  background to handle, but it kinda sounds like the Yogcast people are also struggling with their projects and are in PR panic model.  Two inexperienced groups handling way too much money.

    Hrm.  One tidbit I am seeing that I am curious about, the studio has claimed:

    now that the project has been "legally abandoned" by us, it reverts all the ownership to the Yogscast to do with as best they can,

    There has been talk about Yogscast shifting the project to another group of people, but this eats into the image they are trying to build of them not being legally responsible in any way.

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