Biz Partners Stole Money for Booze and Strippers, Dev Says as Game Canceled [UPDATE]

Ant Simulator is no more.

101 Comments

[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****."

Head to Game Informer to hear more from Monce and Staley's side of the story.

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.

No Caption Provided

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."

Ant Simulator was planned for release on PC and PS4. People who preordered the game should be receiving an email with instructions for how to get a refund.

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."

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

I cant help but find this amusing.

Its wrong, but so right at the same time.

Any kick-starter is a risk and this is quality proof to hold on to your money!!!!

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LouiXIII

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Strippers and Booze...but what about the drugs?

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aiat_gamer

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Edited By aiat_gamer

Poepl seem to be under the impression that they wasted Kickstarter money, they did not. The kickstarter money was for game making videos this guy did. The money for the game came from some pre-orders which was not a lot.

The developer did not even cite the lack of funds for cancelling the game, it feels like a petty argument between these three which was blown out of proportion by click-hungry media. A small game developer cancelled a game over a pretty small amount of money, and it was not clear how much of it came from customers who pre-ordered the game ( I would imagine not a lot).

We are all getting duped by a story ran first by Polygon of all places, by media who did not even give a s*** to check the story with both parties, I guess fact checking is for pu**ies these days. The only reason all major websites ran the story was because it had the words "booze" and "strippers" in it.

"A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes"

Terry Pratchet.

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Barighm

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Oh, what fun! We've got a total "he said, she said" thing going on here. Who will break first?

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GunsSlashRoses

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Who the hell looks over a contract themselves in such an adventure? You should have got yourself a lawyer to read it over and bring up these kind of potential issues. Oh, and never, EVER, have friends or family as business partners; it rarely works out well.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

They can claim it was business expenses, but business expenses at a strip club.....?

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Barighm

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@Thanatos2k: If they hold a meeting there, then yes, they can.

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Thanatos2k

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@Barighm: Sure, legally they can. Morally, it's clear they're just embezzling.

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@Thanatos2k: with respect, the business's are not at fault, the IRS or tax law is.

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yeah_28

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They shouldn't have spent any of the money on unnecessary things like a bar or a restaurant, even for a meeting, but reading the whole GI article the pair of accused guys sound far more believable than this Eric guy.

Plus, usually the one that attacks first ends up being the real problem in my experience.

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kresa3333

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Edited By kresa3333

LOL, This title is a crazy clicker magnet. Is it one more point for Kickstarter Scammers?

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mestupidface

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When all your capital is from donations and loans given to you for a specific reason, than any amount of money spent on something not necessary in completing the reason it was given is to much. That would be like the race for the cure saying they can't cure women's breast cancer because they spent all their money on tampons and nail salons. Just because all women buy these things does not mean its okay for you to use others money to do it for yourself.

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aiat_gamer

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Edited By aiat_gamer

@mestupidface: It is not donation, it is not a load. It was for pre-order. Theoretically they can do whatever they want with it as long a they deliver a product.

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mestupidface

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@aiat_gamer: And when you spend all of it on titties and beer? You aren't going to be able to deliver a product....

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deactivated-58a78a043e9d4

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Well they weren't going to admit to embezzlement, were they?

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JustinGoSka

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Edited By JustinGoSka

The partners' response to the article is such bs. First of all, a bar obviously isn't the best place to seriously work on developing a game, and I'm sure kickstarter fund-paid alcohol doesn't help.

Then they try to sayy other companies do it too in order to give themselves an excuse. Just because companies that make millions of dollars have meetings in restaurants in order to write it off with th taxes, it doesn't mean than the measley $5k that you received from fan donations should be spent on your bar tab.

I was so looking forward to a modern SimAnt, but I guess its not happening.

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JohnMafia

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Donated money should not be spent in a bar or restaurant, no matter what the amount. Have your meetings in your office or home and order pizza.

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aiat_gamer

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@JohnMafia: Not donated.

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mestupidface

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Wow would of just been better off keeping your dumb mouth shut than posting a rebuttal that F@%$ing stupid. Oh we only spent a modest amount and if you look at any other video game company they do the same. Well if all the other game companies jumped off a bridge would you? Also I doubt those companies are operating solely off of capital that was donated to you for a very specific reason. To make a FU%^%ING VIDEO GAME.

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Tr4newreck

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the dev has everything to lose, the investors clearly didn't care, the clauses in the contract that exempt them from responsibility but allow them to partake in the funds, the admittance that they did go to strip clubs and bars, but seemingly didnt spend much... please

he needs to find better friends, or proper business partners, these two douchebags are neither

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stalin_ksa

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Must have been one hell of a party

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deathblow3

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lol so the claims are true that you spent money in a bar and strip club lol. but it was only a modest amount hahaha fail.

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X-RS

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@deathblow3: One can only imagine how their 'research'done on the female figure would help an Ant Simulator _-_

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archav3n

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these people are making bad impression on kickstarter and even discouraged future genuine projects.

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Gomtor

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This is extremely funny. Hahahahaha.

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RicanV

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"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"

Not so sure I'd accept that as a backer for a small project. Liquor is expensive nowadays and I can't see how a bar visit would be beneficial to the project.

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aiat_gamer

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@RicanV: What backer? The game did not have any KS project.

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nomadsalt

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@RicanV: Blowing off steam and relaxing can be good for team morale. I don't see a problem as long as it's not excessive.

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JustinGoSka

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@nomadsalt: I like drinking after work to blow off steam after work, but I don't expect people to donate money to a kickstarter to pay for it.

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Tr4newreck

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Edited By Tr4newreck

@nomadsalt: and yes for multiple people at a bar and strip club, your paying ALOT of money, there is no non-excessive visit to a strip club, unless you are planning to stand around, not drink ANYTHING for several hours

buy some liqour and host a party in your office, its cheaper than strip bars and clubs...than you can call it a non-excessive party

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simonbowden

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Id have to drink also, some of my local strippers are vile.

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neowarrior793

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in all honesty this is bad, yea people are laughing and joking about how "well spent" the money was, at the end of the day a load of people may not get there money back for a game they were interested in. Even if the game sounds silly we dont actaully know how good the game could of been.

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Ragnarocking

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Biz Booze Biz Booze Biz Booze!

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ajzoot

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There's no way that Inafune and the fat double fine guy didn't do the exact same thing. I've enjoyed a few kickstarter games, but these sort of botch jobs are far too common.

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deactivated-5d762a7e1423c

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Is that all the particulars? The only $ amount I see here is $5k, which is chump change and couldn't float a team of 1 for a month......come on, Eddie, give us relevant info and not just "booze and strippers".

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deactivated-5ae060efb3bf6

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Sounds like the money was spent on something better.

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derp215

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I guess you can say, he should ANT't trusted them. badumtss

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lenyora-sama

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this has to be a joke

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aiat_gamer

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Edited By aiat_gamer

Well, his partners came out and denied all of this of course, I suggest every one to refrain from painting them as villains before hearing their side of the story and wait for more facts to come out. To me the whole thing is a bit comical and absurd to be true. Like how and when did he know his partners were spending the money? Did he really find out after the fact? Don`t they keep track of their budget at all?

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93ChevyNut

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@aiat_gamer: Agreed. If the biz partners were courting additional investors, for example, money spent on booze and ladies isn't really out of the ordinary.

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BrunoBRS

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@aiat_gamer: "Don`t they keep track of their budget at all?" that's kinda what the business partners were there for.

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JSusie

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Money well spent.

Seriously.

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Phooey442

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@JSusie: Booze and strippers is the game I want to play. I see no problem here

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manoogian

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doubtful.

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Sgt-Damain

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Well at least the money wasn't wasted, a bigger crime would have been throwing it away on something as stupid as "Ant Simulator"...

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hystavito

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@Sgt-Damain: :)

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rosinmonkekyx17

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What a classic

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Barighm

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Well, they say don't go into business with friends or family for a reason.