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Sonic Mania Dev Headcannon Says He's Broke, Recent Kickstarter a "Spectacular Failure"

Dane

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How can you make the best Sonic game in decades and then be broke...? Like, how? What? What happened?
Because it was only one game and dlc, plus he used the money to personal good causes (get rid of debt and buy a house).
 
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SlashBringingHasher

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Why would anyone want to become a game developer?

Seems like a really shitty job.
because it is. like 1% of game devs that are indie make a hit. if not way less than that. and the figures you see on tv are people in the industry or decades and clawd their way there when you could. if you go in the game industry now. if you ever actually get a job. it will be a desk cubicle job. I really despize nerds with thick glasses and pimples that want to work in the game industry thinking they will actually get to make games. no you won't. thats like saying a person that makes steel door handles makes cars. you don't make cars. you just make a piece of metal. if you work in the game industry you will either code something your asked. or draw something your asked. people that will decide and make what the game is are the heads of studios, and you will probably never be unless you are rich or something. or been in the industry since the 2000s at the minimum
 
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What waste of money, even for a game held in high regard from former Sonic fans who post crude children's drawings on 2000s era neogaf, post pictures of Sonic being killed. And refuse to acknowledge anything good about the series after 1994.

Adventure era Sonic fans get the last laugh
 

Roufianos

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Sad story but I think he'll be ok. Obviously he's a super talented guy, someone will pick him up now this has gone viral.
 
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Enjay

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This is the result of pure passion with no business savvy. Sega tore this guy apart they ripped him off so bad.
 

Belmonte

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I feel bad for him, but as a classic Sonic fan, I'm disappointed with Sega. Why they didn't hire him and the others to make a Sonic Mania sequel or something like that? He and the others should be hired, not only because the dude is broke, but because they are talented and made the best Sonic in years. What Sega has against good Sonic games?
 
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Nickolaidas

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I don't even have to watch the video. The dark, muddy colors and his blank expression in the thumbnail are enough to convey the message to me.

This sucks for the guy. Hope he'll recover from this.
 
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Ten_Fold

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He didn’t get any shares of the profit made from the game which REALLY sucks, he made the best sonic game since like generations. Being a game dev is very stressful.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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I’m not sure what Sega should be ashamed of. They paid the guy based on a contract he signed. He chose what he wanted to do with the money, and chose what to do next. It’s not Sega’s job to take care of this guy the rest of his life.
I understand the scenario that he signed a pretty dismissal contract, but I do think they took advantage of that knowing he was in debt and was trying to get himself straight.

He has to control his finances as you say, but I think they should hire him for future projects if he is a talented soul.

I only wish SEGA maybe offered a chance to help talent should they have issues with money.
 

ultrazilla

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This guy comes across as desperate and the $250,000 goal was a fucking joke. Seems like he was trying to hit the lottery.

It didn't look that great and I can't justify a quarter million dollars for it when a game like
Bushiden Bushiden Kickstarter only asked for $70,000 and got funded with a final take of $84,382 with a 3 man development team!

From the sounds of his video, he was hoping to pay off bills and get a better quality of life going. There's no way he was going
to put $250,000 into the game.

His video hurts him more instead of simply stating he would re-configure and relaunch the campaign
with a more moderate funding goal.

Let's see how much he'll ask for in the relaunched campaign. That will be interesting.
 

diffusionx

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I understand the scenario that he signed a pretty dismissal contract, but I do think they took advantage of that knowing he was in debt and was trying to get himself straight.

He has to control his finances as you say, but I think they should hire him for future projects if he is a talented soul.

I only wish SEGA maybe offered a chance to help talent should they have issues with money.
They're a business, not a charity. They pay people for services rendered. it's up to those people to manage their own lives. My company doesn't offer me more money if I get into a tight spot and cry about it on YoUTube. They'll hire him for more projects if they think he can add value, not because his life is down the crapper.
 
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Dec 25, 2018
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They're a business, not a charity. They pay people for services rendered. it's up to those people to manage their own lives. My company doesn't offer me more money if I get into a tight spot and cry about it on YoUTube. They'll hire him for more projects if they think he can add value, not because his life is down the crapper.
Businesses also adhere to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) these days as well, unless this doesn't exist in the US/Japan? Which tend to at least advise on how to give employees guaranteed benefits to stop exploitation from the business or employee. If this is not broken and the guy in question doesn't follow this, then yes, it is entirely his undoing.

I agree that he should be able to dictate his own life with the money he is on (that was agreed), but given he helped that business create a successful game when their own Teams in the business cannot get the Character or game correct (resulting in less sales), the natural order of a Business would be to go with what works (i.e: What this guy has done) and dump what doesn't (i.e: Sonic Team), if we're talking purely Capitalistic Values.
 
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CJY

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250K?! I just posted about Xeno Crisis... that game's goal was just 25K, but obviously you can't necessarily directly compare like that.

In the video, Stealth said the goal was "higher than anybody expected" and it was calculated based on "what it would take for an entire team to meet cost of living throughout development which could have been as long as two years". HOLY HELL.

Going off headcannon.com, there are 8-10 people on the team. It's kind of absurd that they would even hope for people around the world to help fund not only the development of the game, but their "cost of living" for a period of 2 years.

This whole thing just rubs me the wrong way. Guy in the video seems like a decent guy, but having so many people on the team seems utterly insane for an indie game today.
 
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diffusionx

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Businesses also adhere to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) these days as well, unless this doesn't exist in the US/Japan? Which tend to at least advise on how to give employees guaranteed benefits to stop exploitation from the business or employee. If this is not broken and the guy in question doesn't follow this, then yes, it is entirely his undoing.

I agree that he should be able to dictate his own life with the money he is on (that was agreed), but given he helped that business create a successful game when their own Teams in the business cannot get the Character or game correct (resulting in less sales), the natural order of a Business would be to go with what works (i.e: What this guy has done) and dump what doesn't (i.e: Sonic Team), if we're talking purely Capitalistic Values.
Maybe we just don't see eye to eye. Nobody is getting exploited here. They made Sonic Mania and got paid for it. Maybe Sega should have kept them around to keep making Sonic Manias, or maybe they didn't want to make another one and decided to strike out and do something different. Sonic games, for some unknown reason, sell fine no matter what. I don't know if Mania was materially more successful financially than the turds they've been putting out over the years, seriously. But even if it was a massive, massive hit, they still got paid for it. Sega didn't do anything wrong here. It's not their job to take care of him, and they're not obligated to make more Manias to keep him employed, if they don't want to.

I don't think this has anything to do with Sega, but has everything to do with a guy putting out a KS at a very high value that people evidently had no interest in.
 
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Dec 25, 2018
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Maybe we just don't see eye to eye. Nobody is getting exploited here. They made Sonic Mania and got paid for it. Maybe Sega should have kept them around to keep making Sonic Manias, or maybe they didn't want to make another one and decided to strike out and do something different. Sonic games, for some unknown reason, sell fine no matter what. I don't know if Mania was materially more successful financially than the turds they've been putting out over the years, seriously. But even if it was a massive, massive hit, they still got paid for it. Sega didn't do anything wrong here. It's not their job to take care of him, and they're not obligated to make more Manias to keep him employed, if they don't want to.

I don't think this has anything to do with Sega, but has everything to do with a guy putting out a KS at a very high value that people evidently had no interest in.
I agree with most of what you say, but I do honestly think that perhaps SEGA had him over on the agreement of "Milestones" over Sales, which would be pretty terrible if true. I am not saying that SEGA have done anything wrong by the books, but I do feel that the deal benefited them far more than the people making the game for them.

It is up to them whether they employ him for more work or not, but if he really is in trouble, perhaps giving him positive feedback to other companies who may need his services would have been satisfactory, as it sounds like he may have tried to find work elsewhere (before the KS) and failed for some reason or other.

I know they are not liable for him other than making the game and paying him for it, but it is usually common courtesy to provide some positive feedback to freelancers. I still love SEGA games regardless of my opinion of the Company and its management sometimes, which doesn't have the best record. :/

I respect what you are saying by the way. I can't fault your logic!

The Kickstarter thing is a dumb way to evaluate any sort of Budget, I agree with that 100%! He should have tried to use connections to get some form of work before anything else.
 

Panajev2001a

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250K?! I just posted about Xeno Crisis... that game's goal was just 25K, but obviously you can't necessarily directly compare like that.

In the video, Stealth said the goal was "higher than anybody expected" and it was calculated based on "what it would take for an entire team to meet cost of living throughout development which could have been as long as two years". HOLY HELL.

Going off headcannon.com, there are 8-10 people on the team. It's kind of absurd that they would even hope for people around the world to help fund not only the development of the game, but their "cost of living" for a period of 2 years.

This whole thing just rubs me the wrong way. Guy in the video seems like a decent guy, but having so many people on the team seems utterly insane for an indie game today.
Of course they would cover cost of living... funding a game is not just paying for Visual Studio and Unity licenses... Are we kidding now? Why cannot an indie team have 10 or 20 people on?
 

CJY

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Of course they would cover cost of living... funding a game is not just paying for Visual Studio and Unity licenses... Are we kidding now? Why cannot an indie team have 10 or 20 people on?
Of course, they could have 100 people or more, doesn't make any difference except I believe anybody with a brain could see that this crowdfunding campaign would have an absolutely minuscule chance of success based on the factors involved. The number of people on the team being just one of many issues.
 

Panajev2001a

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Of course, they could have 100 people or more, doesn't make any difference except I believe anybody with a brain could see that this crowdfunding campaign would have an absolutely minuscule chance of success based on the factors involved. The number of people on the team being just one of many issues.
... and? You made a big point about the “absurdity of paying the cost of living OMG!?!WTFBBQ?!?” as if it and I still do not get that. What are the factors that would have doomed the game produced by such campaign?
 

Stefan.North

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It's a sad story, yes. But what stopped him from finding some other job?
I mean, if someone is having financial troubles, isn't the best thing finding better payed job or extra, part-time job? His life is only his responsibility and if he doesn't want to take initiative to fix things then I guess he'll grow old in his mother-in-law's appartmant.
 

Al3x1s

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It's a sad story, yes. But what stopped him from finding some other job?
I mean, if someone is having financial troubles, isn't the best thing finding better payed job or extra, part-time job? His life is only his responsibility and if he doesn't want to take initiative to fix things then I guess he'll grow old in his mother-in-law's appartmant.
I mean, making a Sonic game with SEGA seems like it was done because he did work hard and take initiative and jump on opportunities, I don't think many indies can talk about having a similar past? Unemployment rates in whatever nations/worldwide aren't above 0 (to put i lightly, it's pretty horrible in many countries) because everybody in it is too lazy to search for a job. And what's with insulting him for falling to hard times and having to stay at his mother in law's (and he's already said he has moved out with his wife thanks to the Sonic game)? It's not like he asked you to bail him.
 
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Enjay

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... and? You made a big point about the “absurdity of paying the cost of living OMG!?!WTFBBQ?!?” as if it and I still do not get that. What are the factors that would have doomed the game produced by such campaign?
This is seeming like it should be something you should ask your parent/guardian to explain to you. Ask them why asking for a total of $250,000 is absurd.
 
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Stefan.North

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I mean, making a Sonic game with SEGA seems like it was done because he did take initiative, I don't think many indies can talk about having a similar history? Unemployment rates in whatever nations/worldwide aren't above 0 (to put i lightly, it's pretty horrible in some countries) because everybody in it is too lazy to search for a job, lol. And what's with insulting him for falling to hard times and having to stay at his mother in law's for a time (and he's already said he has moved out with his wife thanks to the Sonic game)? Jesus. It's not like he asked you to bail him.
What's with what insulting? Never have I insulted this guy 🤔
As someone that comes from a country with pretty high unemployment country I can tell you this. If you want job, meaning that you'll take even a sh**ty jobs and use the time to search restlessly a couple of months, you'll find work. I send over 80 applications only to had 6 intervues and got 1 job offer to find a work a couple of years ago. That's why I can sleep in my own appartment.
 
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CJY

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... and? You made a big point about the “absurdity of paying the cost of living OMG!?!WTFBBQ?!?” as if it and I still do not get that. What are the factors that would have doomed the game produced by such campaign?
Sorry man, too busy right now to reply properly, but if you don't see the issues, then that's you. We can agree to disagree and leave it there.
 

Al3x1s

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Of course they would cover cost of living... funding a game is not just paying for Visual Studio and Unity licenses... Are we kidding now? Why cannot an indie team have 10 or 20 people on?
I mean, isn't the purpose of any job (or for some multiple jobs) to cover one's costs of living, lol, why would anyone willingly take up a job that takes up all their hours and energy but doesn't even pay the rent? Having their life sorted for x amount of time means they can work on their indie game full time, that's the goal for most indies, to work on their project full time so that life and shit doesn't take over and it gets put off/cancelled. It's not like they asked an amount that would mean they can dine at Michelin star restaurants every night and live in a mansion with a butler, maids, cooks, gardener, and take a 6 month vacation to travel the world.

It sucks that thanks to shitty publishers and Epic and other factors people nowadays don't trust anybody and Kickstarter is for most just a preorder so when a game doesn't already look finished and polished they refuse to back it regardless of the developer's history and passion and how they'd actually want to play such game.

So the few projects that actually need the money to get the project off the ground rather than just finish it up/get promotion/get publisher attention/whatever which was the whole point of Kickstarter just look like the most undesirable of the lot for most people and you gotta get super lucky to get it done.

So yeah the game didn't look AAA in the trailer, that's because there's no game yet, the campaign was going to fund the development of one!

And it's not like the guy went in detail about his daily life for people to advice him to get a job and take responsibility lol, you don't know if he's sent 80 or 800 applications for any shitty job you can imagine or not, might as well assume he's leeching off his wife or something and sits on his ass all day with that attitude. Fuck.
 
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Stefan.North

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... and? You made a big point about the “absurdity of paying the cost of living OMG!?!WTFBBQ?!?” as if it and I still do not get that. What are the factors that would have doomed the game produced by such campaign?
Never have I seen a employer offering or accepting a terms of employement with salary covering 'cost of living'.

Simply because, if given the opportunity, people would just have very high 'costs of living'. Everyone gets a precise value of their work, not some vague definition that employee could missuse.
It's individual's responsibility to manage their personal finanses, not their employer's.
 

StormCell

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How is this news? This is basically the story of every software developer who didn't strike it rich. Like 9 times out of 10, the software developer(s) are the ones not getting any money when the company hits the jackpot.

I mean, you look at Sonic Mania for example, and you see this hugely successful game. It couldn't happen without the game developer, you think, because his code is the literal innards, the core, that makes the whole thing run. But then there's graphics artists. And there's the music composers. There's very much the marketers and social media/PR folks. And let's not forget that someone put the project together, pitched, and SOLD it to SEGA. There's project mangers, directors, and executive directors. All these people, ALL OF THEM, are gonna get their cut, I guarantee you, before the software developer(s). LOL

It's almost always the way it works out. Everyone forgets about software dev until there's a business-crippling bug in the very important customer-facing software!!!!

But for real, this guy had a contract job, and he did it and got paid. He's not complaining at SEGA. He's just very particular about the work he does, I suppose. It's not easy working on software you care absolutely nothing about.
 
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Porcile

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$250,000? I know mans gotta eat but that's insane. Obviously this guy has a lot of personal shit going on so he should just stabilise his life first, before asking for a quarter million to make his game.
 
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Al3x1s

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$250,000? I know mans gotta eat but that's insane. Obviously this guy has a lot of personal shit going on so he should just stabilise his life first, before asking for a quarter million to make his game.
There would be at least 9 people involved, that means less than 30k for each, which is what, $1157/month for a couple years? There are probably other costs too which means they'd get around minimum wage for a couple years instead as best case scenario (maybe only 1 year depending on said other costs).

Oh and I forgot about Kickstarter's own high fee so that 1 year deal does seem far more likely than 2.
 
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Panajev2001a

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This is seeming like it should be something you should ask your parent/guardian to explain to you. Ask them why asking for a total of $250,000 is absurd.
For a team of 10 people for two years $250,000 is not much... have you done the maths on that beside using your thesaurus to call me childish or retarded?
 
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Panajev2001a

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There would be at least 9 people involved, that means less than 30k for each, which is what, $1157/month for a couple years? There are probably other costs too which means they'd get around minimum wage for a couple years instead as best case scenario (maybe only 1 year depending on said other costs).

Oh and I forgot about Kickstarter's own high fee so that 1 year deal does seem far more likely than 2.
Considering they have to pay taxes on that it is meagre living.
 

Porcile

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There would be at least 9 people involved, that means less than 30k for each, which is what, $1157/month for a couple years? There are probably other costs too which means they'd get around minimum wage for a couple years instead as best case scenario (maybe only 1 year depending on said other costs).

Oh and I forgot about Kickstarter's own high fee so that 1 year deal does seem far more likely than 2.
All fair points, and ones I sympathise with, as I've been in the similar position of being an independent creator trying to makes ends meet. But the Kickstarter goal was still unrealistic.
 

Panajev2001a

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Never have I seen a employer offering or accepting a terms of employement with salary covering 'cost of living'.

Simply because, if given the opportunity, people would just have very high 'costs of living'. Everyone gets a precise value of their work, not some vague definition that employee could missuse.
It's individual's responsibility to manage their personal finanses, not their employer's.
Live in London or SF and offer something not in tune with cost of living, for a highly skilled job, and then wonder why the people do not stick around 🤔...sure...

The mention of cost of living was to ensure people were informed how the money would be spent and to reduce controversy. Again, a team of 9-10 people for two years requesting $250k means a very low wage if you take Kickstarter fees and taxes out of that pot.
 
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Grinchy

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I know it seems harsh, but I'm having a hard time feeling a lot of sympathy. If one of the writers of a TV show knowingly accepted a contract where they were paid a specific salary with no profit sharing of any kind in the back end, would any of us have a sympathy thread for them?

I know we connect with videogames, so we might look at this case differently, but this guy did a job and agreed to a contract. The fact that it was a success doesn't mean Sega should have to go back and just give him money for no contractual reason. If the game was a huge bomb, it's not like they would have gone to him asking for money back.

And then I've always hated Kickstarters anyway. The fact that something didn't work out on Kickstarter for him is just not something I'm going to shed a tear over. In the end, it sounds like he's someone who should send out resumes letting companies know that he developed a very successful Sonic game and get another job.
 
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diffusionx

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There would be at least 9 people involved, that means less than 30k for each, which is what, $1157/month for a couple years? There are probably other costs too which means they'd get around minimum wage for a couple years instead as best case scenario (maybe only 1 year depending on said other costs).

Oh and I forgot about Kickstarter's own high fee so that 1 year deal does seem far more likely than 2.
I don't think many people count on KS to cover the full cost of development anymore. Nowadays they do a KS to gauge interest and strike a deal with a publisher for proper funding. The fact is, unless you're a big name like Igarashi it's hard to get a lot of money on KS. Even "dev of Sonic Mania' doesn't hold much sway because, well, Sonic fans want Sanic and that's it.
 

Stefan.North

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Live in London or SF and offer something not in tune with cost of living, for a highly skilled job, and then wonder why the people do not stick around 🤔...sure...

The mention of cost of living was to ensure people were informed how the money would be spent and to reduce controversy. Again, a team of 9-10 people for two years requesting $250k means a very low wage if you take Kickstarter fees and taxes out of that pot.
I am not saying a salary shouldn't cover ones cost of living. I am saying that no employer formulates employement contract like that. Employee gets, example, 25 $/h in a contract, and it's his responsibility to use financial resurses to manage costs of living.

Otherwise, if people would have a chance, what would stop them having fictious costs of living in absurd ranges. Like me saying to my employer 'no matter my salary and work performance, or how much my co-workers are earning, my costs of living are 100 000$ a month and I whant you to pay me up'?
 

silentstorm

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Depends on the person, i actually liked Sonic Mania more than any of the 16-Bit titles, and i am sincerely not joking about that, but everyone has their opinion and taste.

Anyways, looking at the brief gameplay trailer, Vertebreaker actually seemed fine but not 250.000 good, even if i know it was to pay for living conditions.

Still, if he worked on Sonic Mania, he should be able to work somewhere else and get something else for his resume before going back into passion projects, it sucks, but it's the way of the world that if you aren't getting money, you should be looking for more work, and it seems he went into some weird passion project regarding Darkwing Duck when he hasn't been really around since the 90's and it's a licensed IP belonging to Disney.
 

Panajev2001a

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I am not saying a salary shouldn't cover ones cost of living. I am saying that no employer formulates employement contract like that. Employee gets, example, 25 $/h in a contract, and it's his responsibility to use financial resurses to manage costs of living.

Otherwise, if people would have a chance, what would stop them having fictious costs of living in absurd ranges. Like me saying to my employer 'no matter my salary and work performance, or how much my co-workers are earning, my costs of living are 100 000$ a month and I whant you to pay me up'?
Yup... and if you are worth that HR will pay up and tell you to keep it quiet not to start an avalanche of raises ;).

Still, the main point of that “cost of living” but was to ensure people had transparency in how the money was spent and nobody cried foul if part of the money was also used to pay for food, mortgage payments, etc... stuff you would not tell your employer, but you need to tell to those that kind of finance you.

Also, we are taking of what $800-900 a month after taxes and Kickstarter fees (9-10 people for 2 years)?
 
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