In response to the petition that was recently started in favor of Chaos Chronicles' continued development and release, publisher bitComposer Games issued an official statement citing a legal impasse that they claimed to have done everything in their power to overcome. Now it's developer COREPLAY's turn to present their side of the story, which follows exactly as it was sent to me:
The dispute between the publisher bitComposer Entertainment AG and the developer Coreplay GmbH started in Autumn 2012 with the controversy about an early release of the game 'Chaos Chronicles' in February/March 2013. As we (Coreplay) stated then, a release at this time would lead to terrible consequences for the game regarding its quality, content, and stability. Since bitComposer refused to invest more money in ‘Chaos Chronicles”, but wanted to publish this incomplete game by February/ March 2013, we offered to develop and complete the game by June 2013 at our own cost, which of course would necessarily lead to it receiving a corresponding share of the sales revenues. bitComposer refused this proposal without putting forward any alternatives.
It's a common practice of some publishers to withhold payments to put pressure on developers who usually don't have the financial stability to withstand this. This is the way bitComposer also acted. In December 2012 they asked for a further ‘Chaos Chronicles’ milestone, and announced the payment of EUR 45,000.- for it. But after the milestone had been delivered, payment was refused for no reason. Furthermore, bitComposer did not pay the remaining fee for additional work and an Add-On for the game ‘Jagged Alliance: Crossfire‘, which Coreplay had been developing for bitComposer. As bitComposer well knew, we needed these payments urgently to pay our staff and continue the development of ‘Chaos Chronicles’. This resulted in serious liquidity problems for us.
Because of the grave differences as to the further development of the game ‘Chaos Chronicles’ and because of bitComposer’s non-payment of their contractual obligations, we had no other choice but to give notice on the contract with bitComposer in February 2013. In response bitComposer also gave notice on the contract. Therefore the contractual relationship between Coreplay and bitComposer ended in February 2013.
As we were convinced that ‘Chaos Chronicles’ would be a successful game when completed, we borrowed money from third parties and started the further development of ‘Chaos Chronicles’. However, on April 2 2013, bitComposer forced us to stop the further development of ‘Chaos Chronicles’ through a legal injunction. Later bitComposer evidently realized that this injunction was a grave mistake and withdrew it on May 21 2013, but still maintained its opinion that Coreplay was not entitled to continue developing and completing the game.
After that, we made several proposals for a final solution with no success. Finally, a meeting between bitComposer and us took place on Friday, May 31 2013. In negotiations lasting more than five hours, to which bitComposer’s lawyer was connected by telephone, the parties discussed and negotiated every detail of a final agreement between bitComposer and Coreplay to realize the completion of 'Chaos Chronicles.' A contract was written clarifying all the terms and conditions, by which bitComposer would transfer all their alleged rights to the game to Coreplay and would in return be paid immediate compensation. By the end of the negotiations, both parties agreed to sign this contract and bitComposer firmly declared that they would send a signed copy of the contract on the following Monday, June 3 2013. But to our great disappointment bitComposer has up to the present day neither sent the signed contract back nor have they contacted us.
In bitComposer’s recent statements they mentioned a meeting on July 24 2013. Before this meeting took place, bitComposer had already declined to sign any agreement in this meeting. But what is the point of negotiations if one party has no intention of reaching an agreement? As we did not want to experience a repetition of the lengthy and fruitless negotiations of May 31 2013 without any outcome, we did not attend the meeting.
After all the trouble, we have experienced during the last eight months, we firmly believe that this publisher is entirely unwilling to settle the conflict. Although bitComposer has repeatedly claimed that it is interested in a solution, it has never followed this up with deeds. In particular, as opposed to Coreplay, bitComposer has not presented any single contractual proposal since its withdrawal of the injunction.
Their strategy is quite clear to us: bitComposer assumes that we will finish developing the game with large sums of borrowed money, whereas bitComposer incurs no further expense. BitComposer would then prevent the marketing of the completed game by Coreplay or a third party on the grounds that this would violate bitComposer’s alleged rights to the game. In this way bitComposer would be able to force us to sell them the game cheaply and under heavy losses. This is why we were not able to borrow further money in order to continue developing ‘Chaos Chronicles’.
As developers and avid RPG fans, we are deeply disappointed that bitComposer has simply destroyed our possibility of finishing such a promising and ambitious RPG and thereby ruined our financial efforts and our creative work, which was carried out with such great enthusiasm and passion.
But of course, everyone can form their own opinion about how strong bitComposer’s aim is to publish quality games and how fair and cooperative they are.
Coreplay GmbH, 11th August 2013