Hato Moa, the pseudonymous creator of weird, wonderful, and warbling pigeon dating simulator Hatoful Boyfriend, has a problem. She says she's not received any royalties from the 2014 HD remake of the game ever since Epic picked up Mediatonic—the studio behind it—in 2021.
On September 29, in the wake of a wave of layoffs at Epic, Moa tweeted her condolences to affected employees hoping the "lovely talented people from Mediatonic" would "find a better place soon". This seems to have put Moa in mind of her own relationship with Epic, because she soon followed that tweet up with one remarking that she had received "no royalty payment for Hatoful Boyfriend from Epic since they acquired Mediatonic back in spring 2021," noting that it seems unlikely "sales have been zero for two years".
btw I’ve got no royalty payment for Hatoful Boyfriend from Epic since they acquired Mediatonic back in spring 2021. I don’t think the sales have been zero for two years?🤔September 28, 2023
"The obligations were transferred to Epic, but they've never sent any replies to me," wrote Moa, asking the general Twitter public if they had "any ideas to make contact with the right person?"
The general Twitter public did not, beyond tagging Tim Sweeney in the replies to the tweet, but someone at Epic must have taken notice. The official Epic Games Publishing Twitter account responded to Moa's tweet, saying that its team was "looking into this" and would be "reaching out to [Moa] directly."
Well, that's good, although it is a bit odd if it took Moa venting her frustrations on Twitter to get Epic to finally pay attention. I've reached out to Epic to ask for comment on this story, and I'll update if I hear back.
The 2014 remake of Hatoful Boyfriend has been delisted pretty much everywhere besides Steam since Epic picked up Mediatonic in 2021, says Moa. That, plus the age of the game, means she thinks "the total sales should have been much lower than before," so she doesn't think she's really been missing out on much in the way of financial reward anyway. That's why she's "not willing to hire a lawyer for [the matter]... the lawsuit would not be worth my money and time."
"Unpaid royalties would be quite little, I suppose," wrote Moa, adding that "Mediatonic has a much tougher time" after the recent layoffs and reiterating her hope that laid-off staff find new jobs soon. Nevertheless, Moa's complaint prompted many fans to ask the best way to support her.
"What I want you to do is just be nice to the pigeons and birds in your town," wrote Moa, relentlessly on-brand. She did note, in response to fan questions, that the official Hatoful shop sends her royalties regularly, but she's definitely much more keen about all of us being nice to birds. I'll do my best, Hato.