Yogventures studio reveals troubled development, how Yogscast "lost faith" early on

"Right off the bat we had one major incident..."

The fallout from failed Kickstarter effort Yogventures has continued, with more details emerging on the game's troubled development and how one early incident caused YouTube channel Yogscast to lose faith in indie developer Winterkewl.

Yogscast announced last week that, after more than two years, Yogventures was no longer in development. Kickstarter backers were told they would instead receive a Steam key for TUG, a similar game whose developer Yogscast had now partnered with instead.

But questions remained of what happened to the $567,000 raised by Yogventure's fundraising campaign and whether backers could arrange for a simple refund.

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Yogventures lead developer Kris Vale has now addressed some of these points in a new blog post titled "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.

"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."

While light on details of the Yogventures project's final days, Vale revealed details on an early rift 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 has posted its own brief response - although few new details were revealed.

"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.

"To keep things simple, the facts are:

  • 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."

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