Defamation of Tiny Metal Producer Cleared Up

Producer of the turn-based strategy title, Hiroaki Yura, recently faced an issue of defamation of character by a former employee, Mr. Tariq Lacy who accused the producer/director of using funds from the kickstarted title, Project Phoenix for development of Tiny Metal.

Now Yura has responded to the allegations calling out Lacy as a liar via a Steam blog post.

Project Phoneix was announced back in 2013 and was set to bring a cumulation of Japanese talent from the likes of Square-Enix and Blizzard under one roof. The modest $100,000 goal was easily reached with a final tally of $1 million. Unfortunately, the game didn’t really go anywhere and hit a standstill. Eventually, Yura formed a new studio called Area 35, bringing the stalled game with them to his new venture.

“TINY METAL has only ever used outside sources of funding.” Said Yura, “Our staff has personally gone through considerable sacrifices and hardship to bring TINY METAL to life. To claim that we used Project Phoenix development funds to create TINY METAL is an insult to all the developers who have made these sacrifices.”

He went to on state that the legal system in Japan prevents him and his team disclosing any information of the former employee

“Japanese law prevents us from providing full details about Mr. Lacy, his motivations, and his actions during his brief time at our company. Please understand that Japanese law would not protect us from potential further abuse from Mr. Lacy if we provide these details in public.”

Yura Continued stating that his refusal to apologies has resulted in him having to be brought out to court.

“He has refused to apologize for his lies. Our only option to clear our name is to bring Mr. Lacy to court. Unfortunately, he is ignoring multiple legal correspondence in an attempt to delay. Once we submit evidence to the court, it will become public and everyone can understand the truth. We hope that this message will be received by him and that he will take actions to resolve this serious matter.”

“We are a small and earnest team, though Mr. Lacy’s actions in the office and posting of his lies has caused great distress among his former co-workers. We have devoted over two years of our lives to bring TINY METAL to life. Having poured our heart and souls into TINY METAL, it is truly a sad thing to see false and evidence-less accusations cause such great harm.”

My Thoughts

Crowdfunding as a way to develop games has become a hot topic over the past couple of years, with many developers reaching their goals through means of this new platform. Unfortunately with the good comes the bad. I’d like to draw attention to Star Citizen, the most successful crowd-funded game. It’s managed to raise millions of dollars and continues to do so – unfortunately, the product is nowhere to be seen, except a prequel to the final game and an alpha build. This begs the question of where exactly the money is going to (which investor should know.)

With Project Phoneix, I think that it’s unfair that Yura ended up delaying the game to divert his efforts towards the production of a new title – especially when the success of the new game is placed as a token to make a better Project Phonex.

It’s an issue of professionalism – was it professional for Yura to divert his efforts to this campaign in order to produce a better Project Phoenix? or should he have made use of the tools that were placed in front of him? Considering the initial investment goal of a mere $100,000 in comparison to the 1 million the team actually made, I think the latter.

For other thoughts on gaming and beyond, follow me on Twitter @Jaybalse

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