It has been six months since I took on the responsibility of running Dangen's business and I want to review the progress we have made since my statement as interim CEO in December.
When I made my December statement it was as interim CEO. I am now working as head of operations, focusing on strategy and business development. The registered CEO we settled on is a close colleague named Max Harvey. He is a natural fit for this role, having founded and run businesses in the past. Max also lives locally in the Osaka area where our office is located, which simplifies administrative work and banking. I have seen claims the previous CEO is still involved with Dangen, but I want to make absolutely clear: that is not correct. The previous CEO has nothing to do with the company anymore. I have to rely on mutual trust and respect with collaborators like Max to successfully operate this business and to deliver on the promises I made. I have committed so much of myself--my time, my emotions and my reputation--to doing right by developers and making good on the promises I made in the December Dangen statement. At this point I have to take responsibility for any failure to deliver on those promises myself.
And I'm comfortable saying that because I have made good on those promises: I received and accepted one request to close out our contract with a developer; I returned store page control to that developer and removed Dangen's branding on its own pages; I paid all developers on the mutually understood timelines; I provided all the materials needed to resolve the Devil Engine and Fight Knight project cancellations; I provided all the data required to process Devil Engine's final payments.
Across this six month journey Dangen helped successfully launch Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition simultaneously on nine platforms worldwide in both English and Japanese. We completed porting for two games across four console versions. We supported the launch of Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling on all consoles worldwide which was met with an 85 Metacritic on Switch, ranking it as the 8th best Switch game of 2020. We have collaborated closely with the developers and we've felt blessed to work with such talented people in relationships of mutual respect. Our new website features an updated list of the games Dangen publishes and we look forward to continuing our support of these projects.
There is only one thing left to do: close out our relationships with the Devil Engine and Fight Knight teams. Since December 17th, I have sent 11 emails to the developers and Jeannie Park, their representative. I received one reply on December 18th, which called my proposals "favorable". After that, I received nothing until May, even after I sent a pre-signed cancellation contract in January in which Dangen gets no revenue after termination. During this time, Dangen sent all sales reports on time, but received no invoices (which are required by law in order for us to pay them). We also saw claims that Dangen threatened heavy legal action (which I never did) and that I refused to give the titles back to the developers (which my emails show to be false).
I am aware that the facts of my work to close out these relationships clash directly with what Tristan Chapman has been saying online. I will provide all of the emails below for anyone to review themselves. On some matters where the accuracy of financial records (especially payment made, sales data, recoupment values or timeline) have been called into question by the developers, my previous offer stands for a third party to verify this information.
The stress of 2020 and the terrifying realities of Covid-19 remind me that dwelling on negativity will never solve the monumental challenges we face. We need understanding and specific action. In this particular case, I have kept the door open since December for these developers to receive their games when they are ready.
I trust anyone reading this to do so maturely and not to cause the developers any grief. I want this information to help break through the emotional obstacles the developers faced in completing the steps to finalize this relationship. I want this to aid them in getting their games back. I hope this helps us all move on with our lives.
-- Dan Stern, Head of Operations
※For the sake of fans being able to support the Devil Engine developers while Jeannie and Tristan review the cancellation contract, Dangen states here that it gives express permission to Protoculture Games to sell Devil Engine and/or Devil Engine Ignition on itch.io or any other platform.
Summary: Dangen’s new CEO is Max Harvey, Dan Stern does operations; Dangen is working great with developer partners through 2020; all developers have been paid according to mutually understood deadlines; Dangen delivered on all promises made in December, excepting the Devil Engine and Fight Knight cancellations; Dangen attempted to end the Devil Engine and Fight Knight contracts, and the teams have had pre-signed cancellation contracts for six months but have not signed--instead they claim that we have been ignoring them.