Torn Armour: Konflikt mit Defiance Games
Schlechte Nachrichten für alle Backer des innovativen Miniaturenspiels Torn Armour. Anscheinend bedroht ein Konflikt mit Defiance Games die Umsetzung des Kickstarters.
In den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten gab es immer wieder Vorwürfe gegen das Management von Defiance Games. Da uns die tieferen Einblicke fehlten, haben wir bisher auf eine Stellungnahme zu diesem Thema verzichtet, inzwischen sind die Probleme allerdings so drängend geworden, dass wir nicht mehr um dieses Thema herumkommen (und auch nicht mehr darum herumkommen wollen).
Worum geht es also?
Bereits vor und während des Defiance Games Kickstarters gab es von kleineren Firmen aus der Branche immer wieder Vorwürfe gegen Tony Reid und sein Unternehmen. Sicher auch aufgrund dieser Vorwürfe gab es zuletzt verschiedene Veränderungen im Management von Defiance Games, die eigentliche Kontrolle über Defiance liegt allerdings anscheinend nach wie vor bei Tony Reid.
Im Kern geht es bei fast allen Vorwürfen um ausstehende Zahlungen und mangelnde Kommunikation durch Defiance Games. Immer wieder wurden offensichtlich Rechnungen nicht bezahlt, obwohl die entsprechenden Leistungen von den Zulieferern regulär erbracht wurden. Einige dieser Schulden wurden offensichtlich nach Ende des Kickstarters beglichen (vermutlich mit Einnahmen aus dem Kickstarter, was eine Zweckentfremdung dieser Geldmittel bedeuten würde), es bleiben aber weitere Zweifel im Raum.
Interessant ist in diesem Zusammenhang folgende Stellungnahme von Proxy Models:
I would like to warn people that I have had an extremely unpleasant dealing with the new management. Be very careful about these guys. I am owed a lot of money and I have been informed that the new management will not pay debts owed by Tony. I have a very strong reason to believe the management shift was a shell game to make the kickstarter look better. Can’t prove it, but have a very strong feeling about it.
This company has been the worst dealings I have had in my limited time as a part time, one man plastic company. I will NEVER work with them again.
They had planned for me to make the plastic mech in the kickstarter without ever even talking to me about it. I found out I was the supplier after reading the kickstarter and asking who was making it. I told them I would not be making anything for a company that owed me thousands of dollars and was making no attempt to pay. After I was paid for previous product I would be willing to look at the files and see what could be done. Well, they got a pile of money from kickstarter and found someone else to make the mech. And they told me weeks ago they would be returning product, but they have not. This is NOT ok with me, but I have no choice. I would not have made the items if they had not ordered them. Still they have the items in their store, I have no money, and they are setting on almost $50,000 USD in kickstarter money.
I am very sorry if this seems to be a bad business move to spread bad news about another company, but I am angry beyond the capacity for rational thought.
Be very careful dealing with them.
Im Internet kursieren außerdem Berichte von ehemaligen Defiance-Mitarbeitern, die zeitweise in Zwangsurlaub geschickt wurden, weil buchstäblich kein Cent mehr für Ihr Gehalt da war.
Bereits diese Entwicklungen werfen ein extrem schlechtes Licht auf Defiance Games, und haben bei Backern des Mech-Suit-Kickstarters für große Skepsis gesorgt, dramatisch wurde es jedoch gestern mit dieser Stellungnahme der Macher von Torn Armour:
This is not an easy update to send out, but I have always been open, honest and transparent with you all and recently the Torn World team has had to have some very unpleasant conversations regarding “Torn Armor.”
We have hit a major obstacle here – which I will detail below – and it is only fair to be open and clear on the parties involved. I will simply layout the facts as they have occurred and you can form your own conclusions. What I will say is that ultimately you put your faith and trust in me to ensure that this project was delivered, and in that I have failed you. So while the Torn Armor team has hit unforeseen circumstances and been subjected to unprofessional behavior and broken promises, ultimately I am responsible and please direct your frustrations squarely towards me.
As you will remember, immediately after the Kickstarter ended last year we contacted the China-based companies to finalize our quotes, and were then informed that even though our quotes were less than 90 days old the new production prices, across the board, jumped by 30%. This caused us to seek an alternative production company and during this time one of our backers came forward with a recommendation. This recommendation was given and genuinely provided to help the project, but in hindsight it set us on an unfortunate path.
The company recommended is here in the United State, and this – if anything – I viewed as being beneficial. What I did not know, and honestly had no way of knowing, was that they were about to head into some very troubling times. This company is Defiance Games.
Back in June/July of last year I had my first contact with Defiance and after talking to them for a short while, I felt that it was a good solution and I felt confident that everything was still on track. But the intervening time has been nothing but stalls, delays, staffing shuffles, and sideways movement. They brought on a new CEO shortly after I signed contracts with them, which I found to be alarming, but was told that it was to improve the running of the company. They acknowledged that they had been experiencing turbulent times and the new CEO was to help get things back on track; I was reassured, numerous times and by their upper management that all was on track and schedule.
The team I had recently been introduced to and communicated with soon left and a new team was brought onboard. Again I got to meet them and again I was reassured that the changes were for the best. We were still prepping miniatures for mold production, deadlines and timelines were re-affirmed as being “November,” and while I was uncomfortable with the constant switching of staff, I felt that the wheels were moving and shortly we’d start seeing masters roll off the 3d printers. When this did not happen as promised I started updates regarding delays, later delivery timeframes and so on. I simply need time to sort out what was actually happening and where I might be able to adjust as needed.
Now while I am a patient person and I can be understanding the constant delays and lack of action from Defiance made me think that this was more than a “changing of the guard, or a that new production schedule was being implemented.” I realized there was something seriously wrong.
With our initial deadlines past and the old year ending I put them under great pressure to get things moving. With this pressure we saw the hoplite. He was great and Defiance confirmed that they could work with the model.
I believed we had a light at the end of the tunnel. With constant pressure and micro management on my end I cautiously believed we could get the project on a track towards completion.
It was at this time that Defiance stated that they would not produce any masters until they had finished a batch of models. They then informed us that the file format we had provided them, their choice, wasn’t going to work. This new format was already a replacement of the original format they said wouldn’t work, which again was their choice. Soon after this they started talking about “going back to the models from last October” It was at this time I knew we were going into a downward spiral of excuses and finger pointing.
Ironically their chief responsibility was the creation of a usable, printable, castable 3d miniature models. Early on, they informed me they were unable to work with my artist/modeler and they in turn chose the artist/modeler they wanted to work with. The file format wasn’t going to work!
Clearly we have a serious problem.
Get Another Production Company?
Last Friday I concluded that Defiance was completely unable to fulfill our needs and that I made a mistake in choosing them. Being noble and generous I would say that they truly felt like they could handle it, but the reality of the project – in addition to their own projects – was too much. There may well be other reasons.
I formally asked for our money back less the approved and agreed charges and after a weekend of badgering they told me on Monday that “We do not have the available cash on hand to return these funds at this time” and “We are gearing up here for our own releases to get new product to market and improve our cash flow.”
And herein lies the problem: Defiance have not been able to produce the miniatures, but they are also unable to return the funds. And the funds are somewhat substantial.
Currently, we are reviewing all legal options, but I have very little faith that we will simply get this money back.
Torn Armor is effectively dead in the water.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Clearly our options are considerably broadened if Defiance returns our funds: Reaper Miniatures offered to help out, but without these funds allocated to the miniatures being able to fulfill on the miniatures is an impossibility.
The money lost is crippling, but it wasn’t everything and we can put the remaining funds to good use. Currently we are discussing offering partial refunds, creating the game-only tier (rules, maps, cards, units, dice) or simply staying in a holding pattern until there is news where our funds are returned, but this last option could honestly be something that dragged on for years and we are not a fan of that route.
This situation simply sucks.We have put in a lot of our own personal money into this, we created a dream and you – our incredible backers – were the best that anyone could have ever asked for. We all passionately worked together for the Kickstarter and I earned some good friends because of it, so to now be reduced to this a year later is utterly crushing.
I fought off this moment as long as I could, but I would not send out an update like this without firmly believing that we just ran into a brick wall.
In a nutshell we have been screwed by our supplier and are now not able to fulfill this Kickstarter project. We are discussing all options at the moment, but do consider the miniatures portion of this project dead.
~ Natalya & the Torn World Team
Eine kurze Zusammenfassung von unserer Seite:
Offenbar wurden Defiance Games damit beauftragt, die Modelle für Torn Armour herzustellen und dafür auch bezahlt. Inzwischen hat sich jedoch herausgestellt, dass Defiance Games nicht in der Lage (oder nicht gewillt) sind, diesen Auftrag umzusetzen. Als die Macher von Torn Armour daraufhin ihr Geld zurückgefordert haben, wurde ihnen mitgeteilt, dass das Geld nicht mehr da ist (trotz des erfolgreichen Defiance-Kickstarters!). Somit hat das Team um Natalya nun weder die Modelle für das Spiel, noch das nötige Geld, um einen Alternativen Hersteller zu beauftragen. Das Projekt ist somit in ernsthafter Gefahr und droht komplett zu scheitern – mit einem möglichen finanziellen Verlust für die Backer.
Ganz abgesehen davon, dass uns diese Entwicklung für die Macher und die Unterstützer von Torn Armour sehr Leid tut, sie wirft außerdem Fragen zur finanziellen Lage von Defiance Games und zur Umsetzung des Mech-Suit Kickstarters auf. Ist das Unternehmen bereits wieder zahlungsunfähig? Kann der Kickstarter somit überhaupt umgesetzt werden?
Inzwischen gibt es einen offenen Brief des Defiance-CEOs John Morse, der auf die Vorwürfe eingeht:
Did you really have to take so little responsibility and say that WE failed? After a nice paragraph in which you say you should take the blame, you write a long text blaming us. Wrong.
Basically, your figures were not produced because the digital files you provided do not work. Yet you try to shift responsibility for that to Defiance. Defiance DID NOT create the digital files. It was never our responsibility to do that. You should admit that, but you do not.
This is your project — the only person responsible for the fact that Defiance never received workable files is ultimately you, Alyssa. The buck stops with you when it comes to Torn.
After the original files proved unworkable, the vendor you hired to fix them did not provide results which could be manufactured (Did you really want us to try and make a 20 mm resin figure in 5 parts???). Nothing that happened at Defiance, the ‚changing of the guard‘ or the ‚turbulent times‘ changes that.
You claim to have patience. Well, you are now choosing (it is a choice on your part) to close your project. Ultimately, this might still be a fixable problem. We have suggested possible solutions. You have decided not to do that. That is your decision and your responsibility. Do not blame anyone else for it.
I am really disappointed in you.
Im Grunde sagt er, dass es nicht die Schuld von Defiance Games war, dass die Modelle nicht hergestellt werden konnten. Die Ursache sollen fehlerhafte oder vielmehr nicht passende Ausgangsdaten von Torn Armour gewesen sein. Defiance Games haben seiner Aussage nach bisher gar nicht viel an dem Projekt arbeiten können. Hier drängt sich allerdings die Frage auf, warum Defiance Games dann nicht einfach das bezahlte Geld erstatten können – schließlich haben sie nach eigener Aussage noch kaum etwas geleistet, das sie abrechnen könnten.
Wir haben John Morse per Mail einige Fragen gestellt, und inzwischen auch Antworten erhalten:
Would you like to comment on the recent development of the Torn Armour Kickstarter?
I posted a statement today on our facebook page (Anm. d. Red: Der oben zitierte offene Brief). We will have a more detailed response there later.
Do you see a chance to solve this problem and help the Torn Armour team to complete the production of their game?
Yes, we think Torn Armor could still be done and we have suggested possible solutions to Torn. So far, Alyssa at Torn has not chosen to purse them.
Is Defiance Games in financial trouble?
We’re on a tight budget. This problem with Torn is going to be a financial challenge, but Alyssa has told me she will work with us so that refunding Torn will not overwhelm us. We do appreciate that. It is our intention to refund her.
Could this harm the completion of your Hardsuit Kickstarter?
The Hardsuits are funded by the Defiance Kickstarter. At this point that money is not ours. It belongs to the Kickstarter members who contributed to the Defiance Kickstarter project. We must use it to make and deliver product to the Kickstarter contributors. Once that product is delivered (and there are more than just the Hardsuits) we will use any retained earnings to meet our other costs of doing business, as would any company.
In unseren Augen bringen diese Antworten zwar einige neue Informationen, aber es ist nicht zu 100% glaubwürdig, dass die Gelder aus dem Hardsuit Kickstarter wirklich vollständig zweckgebunden sind. Es klingt schon nach einem sehr seltsamen Zufall, dass angeblich mehrere offene Rechnungen ausgerechnet nach Ende des Kickstarters bezahlt wurden. Darüber hinaus bestätigen die Antworten im Grunde, dass das angezahlte Geld nicht mehr da ist, und man mit den Machern von Torn Armour einen Kompromiss finden muss, der es Defiance erlabut, die Gelder über einen längeren Zeitraum zu erstatten.
Es wird interessant sein zu sehen, wie sich die Situation entwickelt. Wir werden in diesem Zusammenhang mit unseren Partnern aus anderen Nachrichtenportalen zusammenarbeiten und weiter für Euch nachhaken. Für den Moment wünschen wir Natalya und ihrem Team, sowie den Backern von Torn Armour alles Gute.