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Dangen Entertainment Allegedly Robbing Indie Devs? (Update: Medium article with more allegations, Dangen responds)

Necromanti

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,985
Without further input from Dangen Entertainment and insight from their perspective, I can't agree that the developer communicating in a way that implies frustration can be characterized as "toxic". And I think the usage of the word on Dangen's part is very deceptive and intentionally used as a deflection.

The kind of environment that some of the staff at Dangen is fostering, though--from everything to the treatment of peers/business partners (especially women) to some of the gaslighting tactics--is definitely toxic, however.
 
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Uhyve

Member
Oct 25, 2017
388
It doesn't come across that way at all if you actually read the thread. Don't be obtuse.
When people use the "no angel" technique, it's not used as a way to argue that the victim deserved what happened, it's used as a distraction, a way to stop people talking about what actually matters. This is what you did below. Whether or not you're doing it on purpose, it is what you are doing and I'm going to stop helping you now.

I think it's fine to call out toxic behaviour even if it has a clear root cause, and I do think that dev was overly toxic in their responses.... but their responses don't change anything about the behaviours and actions of Dangen, they were being dismissive, evasive, and negligent long before the dev got pissed at them, and seemed to relish the opportunity to become defensive.

I personally wouldn't want to support the dev of that game as they seem to be a total dick, honestly, but that doesn't excuse Dengen here at all.
 

BZL8

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,250
Somewhere...
Considering that Vestaria Saga is available to download for free in Japanese on Kaga's website, this doesn't paint a good picture at all for the English release.
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,744
EDIT: retracted, given the evidence the dev's responses were justified.
 
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Foffy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,344
Finally finished reading it and wow, all of those receipts. Sinoc is a legend and their "toxicity" seems perfectly warranted.

"Where's me fuckin money" should become mandated as a statement requesting payment.

Dangen look like a bunch of fools.
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,744
When people use the "no angel" technique, it's not used as a way to argue that the victim deserved what happened, it's used as a distraction, a way to stop people talking about what actually matters. This is what you did below. Whether or not you're doing it on purpose, it is what you are doing and I'm going to stop helping you now.
Without further input from Dangen Entertainment and insight from their perspective, I can't agree that the developer communicating in a way that implies frustration can be characterized as "toxic". And I think the usage of the word on Dangen's part is very deceptive and intentionally used as a deflection.

The kind of environment that some of the staff at Dangen is fostering, though--from everything to the treatment of peers/business partners (especially women) to some of the gaslighting tactics--is definitely toxic, however.
Actually, you know, I'm going to retract my position from above. I read the guy's twitter while reading the article and I think it coloured my opinion of his responses a little.

I don't like their personality but that's in general, I don't see anything wrong with their responses in the article given the situation. Their "toxicity" is just them calling out Dangen's terrible handling, and you're absolutely correct about the focus on the "toxicity" being a deflection.
 

PepsimanVsJoe

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,819
Considering that Vestaria Saga is available to download for free in Japanese on Kaga's website, this doesn't paint a good picture at all for the English release.
IIRC it's the same situation as Disc Creatures.
For the Steam release of DC, the dev updated the creature sprites and made various changes/improvements.
 

spman2099

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,956
Well, that was an absolutely depressing read. I really hope everything works out for these developers. God, what an awful situation to be in.
 

a glitch

Member
Dec 12, 2018
10
Just about to start reading this but hoooooly crap this thread alone doesn't look good for Dangen.

I'd love to buy Devil Engine but I think I'll hold off until we know for sure the devs are gonna get paid.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,416
716
I would love to see a full investigation from a journalist complete with cooperation from Dangen on this. I have heard good things about them from people I know but the Medium article casts heavy doubt on that. I’d like to see how they respond, explain and/or defend themselves.
 

noyram23

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
6,926
Nayan and Judd are shockingly incompetent, I would be rightfully angry if I ever.

I hope devs wont deal again with them if true, and the Medium article really has all the needed receipts on them unless they're fabricated
 
Dec 2, 2017
2,690
Alright so I’m going to be frank here: this forum supposedly prides itself on supporting people in vulnerable positions especially this facing mental issues and battles with depression or anxiety. Seems to me y’all should be paying closer attention to the behavior of all parties involved.

like it or not business is messy. There will always be issues and disagreements. Especially when you are such a small business and you’re still trying to grow and establish your place. No matter what issues there are that should never give free license to hateful personal attacks like some of the stuff shown in this article and this Sinoc guy comes across as a total asshole

some of the things in this article that are pointed to as an indictment of the Dangen team arejust petty. Highlighting how many views their streams and YouTube efforts have or attacking them for doing these sorts of things as effort to build up their brand is ridiculous.These things are common. Just look at all the stuff Double Fine did in regards to streams and videos when they started getting into the role of publishing games. They are trying to get their name out there and establish themselves so of course they’re gonna try to put themselves out there as much as possible.

Furthermore highlighting that someone plays games regularly as some sort of indictment of their character is dumb. We are on a games forum for Christ’s sake. Just because someone is playing games regularly doesn’t mean that their games or interests in other hobbies is interfering with their work. This is just shaming people for enjoying the things they want to and since when is that acceptable here? Because someone makes mistakes at their job they’re not allowed to enjoy playing games or reading comics? Stop it with that nonsense.

I have no idea who Ben Judd is but Nayan is a good dude and if he says he’s felt personally attacked then there’s reason for that. The developer’s quotes in that article come across as incredibly hostile, belligerent and hurtful and if that’s what they are sharing to make their side of the sorry come across well I can only imagine the sort of things that haven’t been shown here. So seems to me he had very good reason to feel that way.

Making business related errors and mistakes shouldn’t entitle people to be subject to vitriol like that. It’s unprofessional and its hurtful.

Given the way Nayan is characterized in this article it comes across to me like he was battling some personal demons and trying to deal with a whole new branch of business for their company. Y’all have no idea who he is or what he’s been dealing with and to cheer on folks spouting such hateful and hurtful things is INCREDIBLY disappointing to see.

Did Dangen get in over their head by taking on these deals? Yes it seems like they did and it seems like it’s something they should probably avoid in the future (if there even is one after this) until they have the experience and staffing to handle all the intracacies of them but that doesn’t suddenly mean it’s ok to rubber stamp abusive rhetoric. That sort of thing is not ok coming from anyone no matter what side of the situation they are on.Even the comments meant to show that the developer wasn’t hateful all the time are actually extremely hateful and derisive.

I’m really disappointed with how nonchalant so many here are with the sorts of communication shown in that article. I’m not excusing the mistakes made here in behalf of Dangen but I am saying that y’alls thirst for drama and condemnation is preventing you from seeing the humanity behind all of this. Whatever happens here I just hope Nayan’s ok.
Just so I’m clear on this:

Party A: Sexually harasses people they are in a position of power over. Fraudulently alters contracts and provides “oops, sorry” responses when caught. Commit tax fraud in their contractors’ names. Attempt to defraud them out of large portions of income by “forgetting” to pay it. Take 40% without providing the agreed upon services. Make major costly decisions with contracted IP which they have no legal authority to make. Gave away musicians’ work for free without notifying or reimbursing them. Pressured developers into unpaid work which was never even used. Made business agreements in writing on developers’ behalves without even notifying them. Were caught outright lying about nonexistent business contacts and offers. Created a satanic “standard” contract which attempted to steal all work an individual had done, would do, work done by others not even involved in the contract, and have them do another person’s full time job...for $500 a month. Claimed to be too busy to fulfill vital business obligations while streaming themselves drinking from a bar.

Party B: Says some swear words after months of abuse at the hands of what now amounts to a criminal conspiracy constructed around a consistent and constant pattern of manipulation and business fraud.

You: Why aren’t you guys thinking about Party A’s mental health? You’re all monsters!

How do you have the life understanding of a deer.
 

Buckle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,556
I feel bad for the Bug Fables team that all this is blowing up right after their game got released.

It's getting a lot of well earned good reviews on steam though, hopefully its a good success for them in the end and they get paid for it.
 

ramoisdead

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,877
Man, I read that Medium article. If you all thought Jason's piece on Nicalis published on Kotaku painted a bad picture about the indie company, this Medium article alright destroys whatever "credibility" Dangen had. Seriously, Dangen should be done for after this. Such incompetency.
 

Disclaimer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,765
That article is an astonishing read and a meticulous breakdown. The level of mismanagement on the part of its founders (one of whom is also a predatory sleaze, at minimum) is... staggering. Just wow.

Well this sucks, especially considering they were doing the western release of Kaga's Vestaria Saga. No wonder we haven't heard anything about it yet despite being listed for 2019.
Yeah, this could go a ways toward explaining Vestaria Saga's situation. Kaga has no luck.
 

Aizō

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
7,461
ほぼ真ん中の方
I wanna see if thetrin has more to say on this, but I don't think it would be right to tag him and bug him about it.
Edit: Ah... after taking a look at that article, I don't think thetrin will be posting about what's going on here for a bit, since he's named in the article many times. Hope he's okay.
I’m guessing people don’t realize how convoluted japanese banking can be when it comes to international transfers.
I used to work in this exact field at my last office. What a fucking nightmare hahaha. I loathed seeing SMBC email us encrypted error reports where a refunded transfer failed due to a customer not knowing the exact katakana written on their account title (or it being in English, on the super rare occasion), or someone sending a transfer to a Japanese bank in full-width katakana, instead of half-width, which also causes it to fail. Lack of weekend transfers, despite SMBC and I think MUFG 24-hour transfers becoming available at the beginning of the year for some accounts, all the bank holidays, banks closing ridiculously early compared to most of the rest of the world...

Oh, man. I do not miss that work.
 
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OnionKnight

Member
Nov 23, 2019
8
Lordran
It's been several days now with no response from Dangen OR Ben Judd. If they can't refute or at least argue against these allegations there won't be much choice but to operate under the assumption that they are true.

Now that this medium article is in the mix, it's pretty damn clear that the response Nayan made to the initial accusation was full of outright lies... Which also fits his behavior profile based on the information in the medium article. Maybe they can do better next time? Somehow I doubt it.
 
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Iva Demilcol

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
Iwatodai Dorm
That part about paying the author 50 000 yen a month for doing the work the other dude couldn't or didn't want to do...

That's less than my rent when I was living there... and that was cheap because I was a student at the time. How can you insult a person like that? This is so fucked up...

To say Dangen are incompetent and unprofessional is a huge understatement.
 

Lord of Ostia

Member
Oct 27, 2017
16,023
That article is an astonishing read and a meticulous breakdown. The level of mismanagement on the part of its founders (one of whom is also a predatory sleaze, at minimum) is... staggering. Just wow.



Yeah, this could go a ways toward explaining Vestaria Saga's situation. Kaga has no luck.
Of course, there are way worse things going on with this than just a game being delayed/up in the air on release date, but it is worrying from a compensation standpoint.

I bought Bug Fables and Minoria the day before hearing about this too, I hope those devs get the money they are owed.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
990
Man, I read that Medium article. If you all thought Jason's piece on Nicalis published on Kotaku painted a bad picture about the indie company, this Medium article alright destroys whatever "credibility" Dangen had. Seriously, Dangen should be done for after this. Such incompetency.
Dangen is awful but maybe let's not downplay the horrible shit Nicalis did.

Anyway, hope developers make it out having to work with them okay.
 
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atbigelow

Member
Oct 29, 2017
152
It seems blatantly obvious Dangen coordinated the "toxic" defense strategy. They used it in here to defend themselves, in an incredibly well-timed self own, and they tried it out first in their responses documented in the medium post.
 

FuzzyWuzzy

Member
Apr 7, 2019
186
Yeah Dangen will just keep ignoring it while occasionally going to the "toxic" defence. I would love for Kotaku to follow up on this all, these allegations are serious as hell
 

inguef

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
13,438
I wanna see if thetrin has more to say on this, but I don't think it would be right to tag him and bug him about it.
Edit: Ah... after taking a look at that article, I don't think thetrin will be posting about what's going on here for a bit, since he's named in the article many times. Hope he's okay.
I hope the developers are okay.
 

nickinerdface

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1
post starts out with an email from the dude telling a woman he's heard she's dirty (wow) and then near the end of the article he mentions he needs to put his daughter to bed.

so fucking gross lol
 

Quote

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,584
i would expect any payment complications to be eaten up by the publisher and not impact the devs. fuck your cut, pay your devs.
Hey everyone.

I loathe writing messages like this, because it means that something is on fire. I really wish I was writing a post about how awesome I thought X-men #2 was, or how much I’m enjoying Jedi Fallen Order.

That said, I think it’s proper that I handle the issue at hand directly. Since even before its release, the developer of Devil Engine has been verbally abusive to us, and has been hugely toxic to our entire team. The toxicity got to a point that it started to affect my mental state, and we eventually mutually agreed to a commucation proxy to get work done. (I’m happy to offer up evidence if asked, but I’m not doing so right now to keep this post legible).

There is no question that we made mistakes while working with the developer. We’re not perfect. When mistakes were made, we did our best to rectify the situation.

Soon after the release of Devil Engine, the developer assigned a proxy to receive all revenue they had earned. This was to expedite payment and make sure that they DID NOT receive payment late. Withholding tax when transferring money out of the country is a giant headache, which is why a proxy based in Japan was chosen. We paid the developer’s proxy on July 23rd, well within the rules of the contract we signed. We also supplied evidence to the developer of the payment..

And now they’re attacking one of our other developers, encouraging people to pirate the game instead of buying it. Bug Fables is an incredible game that deserves better. Moonsprout Games has been working for a very long time on the game, and has created something that we’re insanely lucky and proud to be working with. They do not deserve this.

Anyway, if anyone has questions or would like evidence, I do need to ask our counsel what we’re able to make public, as we do have an NDA in place. I hope this clears things up.
pay your devs
 
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rawhide

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,443
They didn't even react to their business partners in a timely manner, why would you expect them to be punctual now?

Moreover, do you think anyone could provide an adequate response to all those accusations in just a few days? Putting aside the idea that they'll want to at least appear to take the high ground, they're undoubtedly planning legal action against anyone they can get in their crosshairs and those concerns will temper any public statements they make.
 

Grath

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
205
They didn't even react to their business partners in a timely manner, why would you expect them to be punctual now?

Moreover, do you think anyone could provide an adequate response to all those accusations in just a few days? Putting aside the idea that they'll want to at least appear to take the high ground, they're undoubtedly planning legal action against anyone they can get in their crosshairs and those concerns will temper any public statements they make.
My experiences with slighly similar situations (and people) is that they would immediately and angrily answer to any criticism, even when they cannot be reached for weeks. Like Nayan did in the thread.

But I guess you really can't say anything after that article and those screencaps - although not answering and hoping this'll simply goes away is not really a solution...
 

FuzzyWuzzy

Member
Apr 7, 2019
186
My experiences with slighly similar situations (and people) is that they would immediately and angrily answer to any criticism, even when they cannot be reached for weeks. Like Nayan did in the thread.

But I guess you really can't say anything after that article and those screencaps - although not answering and hoping this'll simply goes away is not really a solution...
Sadly seems to be working so far, only seen this on here so far and even here it didnt exactly blow up
 

DarknessTear

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,451
thetrin Hope y'all act fast because this shit will crush Dangen Entertainment as a publisher if not handled properly. Hell, who knows how much damage has already been done. Nothing has been handled properly thus far.
 

rawhide

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,443
Sadly seems to be working so far, only seen this on here so far and even here it didnt exactly blow up
In all fairness, it went up late in the week and the people you might expect to do it are going to want to do due diligence, or at least wait for a counter-statement from Dangen.

A ton of public spats go unreported by the wider games press, primarily because a ton of games sites can't or don't want to imply any sort of editorial position on said spat, so reporting barely goes further than "he said, she said" with no attempt to dig further or add context. It sucks that nebulous and sometimes unfounded fear of legal reprisal keeps people from so much as reporting on situations like these, but it is what it is.
 

FuzzyWuzzy

Member
Apr 7, 2019
186
In all fairness, it went up late in the week and the people you might expect to do it are going to want to do due diligence, or at least wait for a counter-statement from Dangen.

A ton of public spats go unreported by the wider games press, primarily because a ton of games sites can't or don't want to imply any sort of editorial position on said spat, so reporting barely goes further than "he said, she said" with no attempt to dig further or add context. It sucks that nebulous and sometimes unfounded fear of legal reprisal keeps people from so much as reporting on situations like these, but it is what it is.
Oh yeah, the fact that it went up late in the week definitely is a big one, due diligence takes time, to some extent I am just not a very optimistic person in that regard.

Reporting on something like this also bears its own risks as you correctly point out.
 

Com_Raven

Brand Manager
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
716
Europa
Let me first of all say that I don't know anyone involved here (besides having heard the name Ben Judd before). With that said, some posters here need to take a step back and look at this whole thing like sensible adults and not forum warriors.

A lot of very serious (as others aptly remarked, potentially company/ career-ending!) allegations have been made. And you seriously have nothing better to do than keep tagging one of the accused people here, expecting them to reply to such allegations in a random internet forum thread?

This is something you talk to your lawyers about, and definitely don't want to say anything about in public. And talking to your lawyer probably doesn't happen on a Saturday night on Thanksgiving weekend (and the same is of course true for quality press coverage).

So give it some time, and don't keep expecting people to defend against potentially career-ending allegations in an Era thread.
 

Harlequin

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,614
Seeing as these people are apparently based in Japan, I don't think Thanksgiving will have had much to do with it (unless they were home in the US visiting family). But yeah, I agree with everything else you've said. This is a whole lot bigger than just a bit of internet forum drama. I'm inclined to believe the accusations but even so, it's unreasonable and unrealistic to expect them not to seek legal advice in a situation like this.
 

MaLDo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
376
Let me first of all say that I don't know anyone involved here (besides having heard the name Ben Judd before). With that said, some posters here need to take a step back and look at this whole thing like sensible adults and not forum warriors.

A lot of very serious (as others aptly remarked, potentially company/ career-ending!) allegations have been made. And you seriously have nothing better to do than keep tagging one of the accused people here, expecting them to reply to such allegations in a random internet forum thread?

This is something you talk to your lawyers about, and definitely don't want to say anything about in public. And talking to your lawyer probably doesn't happen on a Saturday night on Thanksgiving weekend (and the same is of course true for quality press coverage).

So give it some time, and don't keep expecting people to defend against potentially career-ending allegations in an Era thread.
So why they replied in the very first page of this thread?
 

Com_Raven

Brand Manager
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
716
Europa
So why they replied in the very first page of this thread?
Presumably because they massively underestimated the situation, and thought they could nip in in the bud before it blew up. Which was very ill advised and unprofessional, to be sure. But the Medium, which came after, really kicked things up into legally relevant territory.