Indies Amanita, Daedalic, and Colibri say UK publisher violated agreements
Shocking news has surfaced of a number of indie developers who claim to have been defrauded by Mamba Games.
The company also known as Lace Mamba Global reportedly entered into agreements with Amanita Design, Daedalic Entertainment, and Colibri Games to publish and distribute games including Machinarium, Deponia, The Whispered World, and The Tiny Bang Story to certain territories on condition of minimum guaranteed payments, "followed quarterly reports and royalty payments."
In an open letter to the game development community published by Gamasutra, the collective of indie developers laid out their claims as a warning to fellow developers to stay away from the UK company.
"Following the execution of the contracts and delivery of game masters to Lace Mamba Global Ltd., neither Colibri nor Daedalic have received the full amount of the minimum guarantees that Lace Mamba Global Ltd. agreed to pay in their contracts with the studios," reads the letter.
"At first, promises to pay were made by Jason Codd, LMG’s European Managing Director; then Jason Codd completely disappeared from the correspondence and numerous reminders were ignored by him as well as by his colleagues."
The developers claim that non of them have recieved the royalties promised on a quarterly basis.
"We found ourselves in an uncomfortable position of having a third party exploit the results of our creative work in a totally uncontrolled manner where we did not know when, how and with what result our products were being manufactured and sold into the market," said the developers.
Trying to communicate with Jason Codd, who initially made the promises to pay, proved futile and the developers found themselves in conversations with a host of deriviative e-mail adresses - all of which were equally ineffective.
Codd has since been fired from his position at Lace Mamba.
At GDC 2012 Amanita and Daedalic discovered that their games had been distributed by Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. in territories where no permissions had been granted.
In some instances local distributors were sold the rights to manufature their games and collect revenues in breach of the developer's rights, and in models which never would have met with their approval.
In July and November 2012, Colibri and Daedalic terminated their agreements with Mamba, and the former studio published a letter discouraging other developers from working with the company.
In January another developer, CBE Software, joined the mix by going public their story. CBE claimed to have recieved no reporting, no royalties, and no response from Mamba games.
"It’s worth noting that in later conversations with the representatives of Lace Mamba Global Ltd., they claimed that the letters – despite being delivered with confirmations of the receipt – were never seen, and that their email system was ‘malfunctioning’ exactly on the days when copies of the same termination letters were also forwarded to the company’s email address – despite these emails being successfully delivered without any error messages in response," said the developers.
In the end, this united front proved effective, and Amanita, Daedalic, and Colibri reccomend that similar action be taken by other small developers in such a situation.
Colibri and Daedalic both report they have no outstanding debts with Mamba, and that new agreements have been signed.
Amanita has had less luck, and has been told it was dealing with two different companies.
"Adam Lacey – the CEO of Lace Mamba Global, a company whose logo is clearly displayed on the retail boxes of Machinarium, told Amanita that in fact Mamba Games Ltd. and Lace Mamba Global Ltd. are two different companies, and that Lace Mamba Global Ltd. is not responsible for reporting and payments due on the side of Mamba Games Ltd., which is said to be fully owned by the same Jason Codd who was just a few days ago a director of both of these companies, and who completely disappeared from the radar, nor responding neither to emails nor to phone calls," reads the report from the developers.
Amanita is now pursuing legal action against the company.