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Devs slam Digital Jesters

Over alleged breach of contract.

A group of developers and publishers has contacted GamesIndustry.biz to contest claims by Digital Jesters marketing director Leo Zullo that the publisher is now "110 per cent" financially secure.

"We believe that the industry has to know important information about Digital Jesters," an email from the CEOs of Cyanide, Frogwares, Nadeo and Focus Home Interactive begins.

"We wish to record that, as partners of Digital Jesters for several years, we deeply regret its actions and behaviour and we expected better from a company that we were led to trust."

The email claims that Digital Jesters' behaviour has been "highly suspicious", alleging that no sales reports were sent out to developers for months and that some titles sold at different price points or in territories "not agreed to in our contracts."

"Worst of all for independent studios, we have received no payment for products which were released some time ago. This is creating a significant loss for some of our companies," the email continues.

Its authors are said to be "deeply concerned" by the fact that Digital Jesters has changed its registered name "four times over the last few months, and that a new company called DJ Incorporated started trading at the end of the summer."

They claim that the company "has informed us that it is not taking over any of the debts and obligations of the old company."

"In view of this, some developers and publishers have started legal action, while some are waiting for clear replies and actions from the directors Mr Terry Malham and Mr Leo Zullo," the email concludes.

Frogwares developed Digital Jesters' Sherlock Holmes and Jules Verne titles, while Cyanide was the studio behing Chaos League and Pro Rugby Manager. Nadeo developed TrackMania and Virtual Skipper, and Focus is the French publisher of Cossack, Sudden Strike, Freedom Force 2 and Codename Panzers.

The CEOs contacted GamesIndustry.biz following claims made by Zullo last month that Digital Jesters' cashflow problems had been resolved thanks to "a substantial investment."

Responding to their comments, Zullo said: "Digital Jesters has been going through restructuring over the past months - as we’ve previously discussed. We have kept our partners informed throughout and the vast majority appear to be happy with how the company is evolving."

"We’re doing our best to maintain existing relationships through what has been a difficult trading period, and everyone has been approached with a proposed resolution," he continued.

"I’m surprised [Frogwares CEO] Mr Amr has communicated otherwise. He can continue to speculate on other matters, but the fact remains that much of what he is claiming here is fiction - to the extent that the other parties named have not shared any complaint with anyone else here at Digital Jesters.”

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.