Followers of The Repopulation may remember that in early November the company told players it was forced to delay a patch as a result of contract issues with HeroEngine. Early reports went on to claim that these issues were the result of Hero Engine’s parent company having financial issues.
The drama continued to drag on, HeroEngine’s parent company Idea Fabrik decided to address public inquiries as to just how the company operates and what is going on. The post states that one of the developers using the service — assumed to be The Repopulation — refused to pay royalties due and as a result HeroEngine shut down the live game servers.
Starting in September 2015, one of our clients has refused to pay our royalties amounting to 30% of their revenues. Idea Fabrik/IFS is a small company, and our funding relies on those royalties and our VC’s.
After two months of not getting our royalties paid, we were faced with difficult decisions. And after additional two months without being able to find a solution, we had to shut down their live game servers.
Please note that we still hope for a positive outcome for all the players and fans of the game – that’s why their development servers have always been and are still up and running, so they can continue to work on their game.
J.C. Smith, The Repopulation developer, responded to HeroEngine’s post saying that the financial issues were between Idea Fabrik and another party who pulled funding. Later, the person who pulled the funding brokered a joint deal between Idea Fabrik and the developers of The Repopulation designed to keep Idea Fabrik afloat, only things seemed a bit fishy.
The problem is that this deal was brokered with the same person who had pulled their funding, which sounded a lot like extortion to us. From our standpoint a situation had been created where if we wanted to launch the game we need to take this deal by Midnight, or servers will all be going down. After some careful thought we found it was unacceptable, because it had a list of obligations such as us sticking with them for two years, no guarantees on servers after that point, and starting $1.2M in debt. Royalties were not reduced, and no guarantees were made about what would happen after those five months. So we rejected it. This occurred right when the news was first breaking. We felt like this was a bluff at the time to try to get us to cave in and accept a significantly worse deal out of desperation. It turned out it was not a bluff and their funding was pulled.
According to Smith, this spun out into a variety of other issues, with the end result being that it impacted The Repopulation servers negatively. Now the main question for players and those looking in from the outside is, who is to blame?
So the basic answer is that there is a question of whether or not we owe a small amount of back royalties to Idea Fabrik, but in our opinion we owe them nothing. But no, this has nothing at all to do with the problems. It is something that happened after the fact, and I’m surprised to see them go on the offensive here.