Yogventures developer "as confused as everyone else" about Kickstarter funds

The biggest question currently hanging over the collapse of Yogventures is the fate of the $150,000 in Kickstarter funds that Winterkewl Games founder Kris Vale says went to Yogscast shortly after the Kickstarter concluded. Vale claims a contract specifying how the money was to be used was never drawn up but the amount is roughly triple what the studio estimated as the cost for physical rewards, and he's "just as confused as everyone else" about what happened to the rest of it.

In an email exchange, Vale made it clear that the Yogventures project was plagued by mismanagement from the very start, resulting from a mix of inexperience, naivete and a misplaced faith in the essential goodness of human nature. That led to the now-infamous loss of a principal artist, and more significantly the $35,000 lump sum he was paid that the studio could not legally recover. Shortly after that, Lewis Brindley of Yogscast demanded—and ultimately received—$150,000 of the Kickstarter funds.

Vale said the money was transferred to Yogscast shortly after the Kickstarter concluded, and that he was of the understanding "that some of that $150,000 would be spent on physical rewards, and some would be for Yogscast to get re-compensated for their efforts at E3 and during the Kickstarter, but the bulk would be used to hire a programmer to work on the actual game."

That didn't happen, however, and according to Vale, Yogscast actually insisted on a new contract not long after the money was transferred. "We were basically told that without a new contract, there would be no new programmer. So we were in a really tight spot at that time, and agreed to the terms of this new contract," he explained. The contract stipulated that neither company had any financial obligation to the other, nor was Yogscast actually required to hire a programmer for the game, despite Vale's "understanding."

"We did at least get them to finally agree in writing that the money for the physical rewards was in their possession so it was their responsibility to create and ship the rewards," he said. "We were unable, however, to get it stipulated that they would hire a programmer." Negotiations with another programmer that had been underway when Yogscast made the new contract demand fell through, Vale added, and with no money remaining to offer anyone else, "We had a new contract but no programmer."

He said Yogscast refused to hire a new programmer because Brindley was unhappy with the progress of the game and Vale's handling of the company. During the time Yogventures was in development, according to Vale, "We were sending regular updates and asking each time, 'When do you think we'll see videos promoting the game?' And each time we were told this feature or that feature is a 'must have,' and we'd go off and work on that feature, always hoping that at some point the business would get off the ground and marketing would begin."

"If we didn't need the Yogscast for marketing, we would have never approached them in the first place," he said. "I was honestly afraid all the time that at any moment Yogscast would just sever our contract, so I didn't have a lot of ammunition to fight back when things weren't going our way."

The question now is, if Yogscast didn't hire a new programmer with the money, what happened to it? Brindley said in a July 19 post on Reddit that he disagreed with a number of Vale's claims but declined to address them in detail, although he did suggest that an official statement may be forthcoming at some point in the future. But beyond that, Yogscast has not responded to any inquiries, and Vale says he has no idea.

"The Yogscast maintain that the remaining funds they received were used to pay for the things they did for marketing of the game. They did pay for the E3 booth, (although we paid for all the decorations and rentals of all the equipment, etc.) and they did spend time and effort making and publishing the Kickstarter videos," he said. "But honestly, we're just as confused as everyone else where the rest of the funds went."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.