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Chucklefish hit by unpaid Starbound dev work allegations

Published: 13:42, 30 August 2019
Updated: 15:05, 30 August 2019
Chucklefish
Screenshot from Chucklefish's Starbound
Starbound

Chucklefish are perhaps best known for developing Starbound that had vast success on Steam but they are now in controversy over allegedly not paying their developers that worked on the hit title that brought the company massive success.

Chucklefish's Starbound is one of those indie games that found a ton of success but it appears the success may have been achieved in large part to developers and artists who didn't even get paid.

Damon Reece broke the silence two years after Starbound came out of Early Access and had already earned Chucklefish enough money to swim in it. One could argue the whistle should have been blown immediately, but it is understandable that Damon was afraid of repercussions such an action could have on a career that was in its infancy. The developer was only 16 at the time.

These allegations could be understood as random ravings of a disgruntled former member of the team if there was no one or nothing else to corroborate Reece's story. Well, as it turns out, there is a deluge of comments from people who formerly worked with Chucklefish both paid and unpaid that testified to these claims.

Christine Crossley, an artist that worked on Starbound wallpapers testified this also happened to her, as she was a contributor and therefore went unpaid by Chucklefish.

Clark Powell, a composer, stated he almost composed music for Starbound, until the director attempted to get his work for free, citing that coders and artists weren't getting paid either. Upon Powell's insistence that this approach didn't seem right, the director apparently exploded into a foul-mouthed outburst about his entitlement.

Toby Fox, of Undertale fame, said he believed all of these testimonies because he himself experienced some odd management from Finn "Tiy" Brice - Fox's WIP music was scrapped because he was apparently not in the IRC channel enough. 

Chucklefish Screenshot of a house in Starbound Starbound

According to Rho Wattson , the former artist working on Starbound's sprites among other things, all of Reece's claims are true. She also compared the work of the so-called "contributors" to slave labour. The word is in quotation marks because it sounds like a fancy way to label unpaid workers in this case.

The story about unpaid workers has been making rounds for a few days already at the time of writing this article. Chucklefish didn't offer an official statement yet.

 

 

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