After a legal struggle over physical copies of Axiom Verge for the Wii U, its developer is continuing the battle with defunct company Badland Games. Badland Games, responsible for producing physical copies of the action-adventure title, promised to contribute 75% of their sales cut to a medical fund for developer Thomas Happ’s son, Alastair. Alastair suffers from kernicterus, a rare neurological condition arising from jaundice that can result in seizures and sensory issues. But, according to Dan Adelman, the company never followed through on its promises.
In a Twitter thread last Friday, he criticized Badland Games for its actions. After initial issues funding its production, Limited Run Games offered Badland a $78k advance on manufacturing and distribution in the EU region. These funds were to be used for manufacturing copies for the Wii U. According to Adelman, however, Badland became silent when it came to paying out profits to Happ’s medical fund. Limited Run Games stepped in to distribute physical copies in the NA region instead.
[Badland] wanted to keep the publishing rights in Europe. EU distribution is a lot more complicated, so we agreed. Badland was able to fund production for the EU market and finally launched there. When it came time to pay Tom Happ his share for EU sales & contribute to Alastair’s health care fund (which Tom had to pay a lawyer to establish), Badland went dark on us.
Despite Happ filing a lawsuit, international cases make pursuing legal action notoriously difficult.
Limited Run Games just announced the long-awaited release details for Axiom Verge Wii U. (Link to actual tweet: https://t.co/uyExyFDG2L)
We've been quiet about it until now, but Badland Games ripped us (me and Tom Happ) off as well. Here are some of the details: [1/14] pic.twitter.com/PEzDAzNHDR
— Dan Adelman @ GDC (@Dan_Adelman) March 15, 2019
After the bankruptcy of Badland Games, Badland Publishing emerged with a new team, though Publishing retains Games’ previous owner as a team member. Luis Quintans, CEO of Badland Publishing, fired back against Adelman’s allegations with a statement on Twitter. Quintans attempted to explain Badland’s lack of funding as a roadblock for distribution. At the time of writing, community responses to the tweet are largely negative.
Statement on Games Industry article about Axiom Verge and BadLand Games pic.twitter.com/9KTiJoxWwZ
— Luis Quintans 🙌 (@Luis_Quintans) March 16, 2019
In addition to Quintans’ tweet, Badland Publishing released a statement translated into English on March 19. Badland Publishing emphatically denies making any profit with Axiom Verge. It also stated the differences in shareholders and personnel structure between Badland Games and Badland Publishing. The company also accused Thomas Happ and Limited Run Games of starting a defamation campaign. Adelman alleges the company still used the money from the game to fund its other projects, even if they made no profit.
Quintans admitted to a failure to make contact while Badland Games was having their financial difficulties, but noted potentially pursuing legal action in turn on behalf of Badland Publishing, something that was reinforced by Badland Publishing when mentioning defamation.