Biz Partners Stole Money for Booze and Strippers, Dev Says as Game Canceled [UPDATE]
Ant Simulator is no more.
[UPDATE] The business partners Tyler Monce and Devon Staley tell Game Informer that Tereshinski's claims are "100 percent bullsh**."
"It's completely false," Monce said. "I don't know why he's painting that picture, but the reality is that anything that was spent in a bar or restaurant was very reasonable in nature when you look at any business, including video game companies. It was part of our operating budget, it's not anything that was excessive. It was all reported to the IRS. The picture he's painting about that is 100 percent bull****."
The original story is below.
Games get canceled from time to time, but they rarely fall apart in the way Ant Simulator now has. Lead programmer Eric Tereshinski says in a video message posted this weekend that the game--in which you would have played as a queen ant--is canceled and that he's resigned from the development team. He claims his business partners stole company money and spent it on, among other things, booze and strippers. As such, he no longer wants to be associated with them and is making the unfortunate decision to scuttle the project.
Tereshinski originally created Ant Simulator for a 48-hour game jam called Ludum Dare back in 2014. After it generated some buzz, he decided to form a team and make Ant Simulator into a full game. Joining the team on the business side were Tyler Monce and Devon Staley, though it's unclear if these are the team members that Tereshinski is calling out in his video.
GameSpot has contacted Tereshinski in an attempt to get more details.
Here is Tereshinki's full statement from the video (via Kotaku):
"I recently found out that my ex-business partners were secretly stealing company money. They had secretly spent the overwhelming majority of both our Kickstarter money [Ed note: In 2014, Tereshinski successfully raised almost $5,000 on Kickstarter for a game development tutorial series, though it's unclear if Ant Simulator was also crowdfunded] and the Ant Simulator investment money on liquor, restaurants, bars, and even strippers. This, among many other reasons, is the reason why it has become exceedingly clear to me that I cannot have my career associated with these guys. My ex-business partners directly said to me, 'If you release Ant Simulator without us, I will sue you.' I really don't have any options.
"A year and a half ago, I signed an LLC agreement with them. I trusted them. And they had been my friends for 11 years. I made the mistake of trusting them. So that means that resigning and therefore canceling the development of Ant Simulator, since I was the programmer of Ant Simulator, resigning and canceling Ant Simulator is really the only option available to me right now. So this is obviously a huge and disappointing setback, but I am going to continue forward and continue to develop games."
People in the comments section of Tershinki's video ask why he doesn't take legal action against his former business partners. He says he has looked into this, but believes the contract he signed contained clauses that wouldn't work to his benefit.
"The problem is that these guys covered their asses in the contract," he explained. "They'll say the drinks were for business meetings, and they have the paperwork/minutes to prove they had meetings (even though I know they were bullsh** meetings). They went over the contract line by line with me and I reviewed the whole thing twice. I just didn't realize they had protected themselves, screwed me (like the fact that they listed themselves as consultants, so they aren't legally obligated to work on anything, but still have the rights to spend money etc.), and I had no idea what their plan was until it was too late."
At the end of his video address, Tereshinski says this result is personally and professionally devastating, though he is optimistic about the future.
"I'm definitely going to move forward more cautiously and not be so trusting, even of my closest friends, apparently."
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