Axiom Verge Producer: "Badland Has Literally Stolen Money From a Disabled Toddler"
In bombastic claims, Dan Aldeman claims that Axiom Verge Wii U publishers Badland Games "has literally stole money from a disabled toddler."
Limited Run Games announced that Axiom Verge would finally be released physically for the Wii U in a Multiverse Edition by the end of March. Axiom Verge is a side-scrolling action-adventure game in which you control a scientist who, after suffering a crippling injury, wakes up in an ancient and high-tech world. Interestingly, this news comes after a years-long legal battle with Limited’s former publisher BadLand Publishing (previously known as BadLand Games) where reportedly they refused to uphold a negotiated trust fund for the Axiom Verge creator’s disabled son.
According to their official Twitter account:
After several years of struggle (and an ongoing legal battle over a huge amount of lost money at the hands of BadLand Publishing) – Axiom Verge is coming physically to the Wii U on Friday, March 29th 10AM Eastern Time at https://t.co/rZI6STrUid. pic.twitter.com/Ajcg0eOy6W
— Limited Run Games (@LimitedRunGames) March 15, 2019
In a second tweet the company goes on to state that while they won’t break even on this physical collection, they hope that fans can still appreciate owning the Multiverse edition on the Wii U. Even more poignantly, Axiom Verge‘s most prominent spokesman and Producer Dan Adelman went more into-depth on the matter: “Badland has literally stolen money from a disabled toddler.”
The issues started back in 2017, about a year after the Axiom Verge released digitally for the Wii U in North America. BadLand Publishing made a deal with Limited Run Games — through a partnership with developer Thomas Happ — to release 6,000 copies of a limited physical version called the “Multiverse” edition which would include an artbook with director commentary, a poster, and a making-of video. The target release was set for Fall 2017 and Limited made the agreed-upon payment of $78,000 to have the copies delivered to retailers at least one week before the release in November.
The deadline passed, however, with no delivery made and the release month was subsequently pushed back to January 2018. Nintendo caused a second delay, as Axiom Verge had trouble passing the quality verification check due to a rating mixup. This was easily solved by Happ and BadLand presenting a new build of the game. But even with this issue resolved, the copies never arrived.
According to Limited Run CEO Josh Fairhurst, by March 2018 his BadLand contact went silent and so he emailed BadLand Games CEO Luis Quintans in April 2018. The initial contact gave the publisher two options: one, repay the full amount of $78,000 or two, give Limited $78,000 worth of Axion Verge on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, or PS Vita. After two additional emails from Fairhurst’s lawyer and a just missed ultimatum deadline of May 21, 2018, Quintans finally responded and agreed to the second option.
After that BadLands failed to respond again until October 2018 and by then Fairhurst had already begun to pursue legal action. When Quintans finally did contact Limited, they explained that BadLand Games closed, the rights were given back to Happ, and that future activity would be under BadLand Publishing. He explained that a simple issue with their lender bank resulted in spiraling debt and profit loss that eventually led to the closing of their original company. The repeated silence stemmed from Quintans’s efforts to save the company.
In the Adelman Twitter chain, he discusses how part of the reason they original went with BadLand over other publishers was because the CEO was understanding of Tom Happ’s child’s medical condition, and agreed to set up a trust fund to benefit his son:
Badland made us an offer we couldn't refuse. In addition to matching what other publishers were offering in terms of rev share, they said they'd contribute 75% of their cut to a trust fund set up for Alastair Happ's ongoing medical expenses. [4/14]
— Dan Adelman (@Dan_Adelman) March 15, 2019
This woefully went unfunded in the series of events mentioned above:
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. We didn't even really know how much they owed us, though we have reason to believe it's about $200k. [11/14]
— Dan Adelman (@Dan_Adelman) March 15, 2019
As of this writing, Fairhurst is still seeking repayment from BadLands Publishing. Badlands has of course issued their own statements, explaining their end of the story — mostly that the non-payment had to do with both negotiation disputes and a difficult period financially with the producer. CEO Luis Quntans offers within the statement to repay the debts in full, and also underscores the charitable work they have participated in. Within his explanation, he also threatens legal action “against anyone who might make publlic inaccurate or false information harmfuly to the interest of… Badland Publishing, or [CEO Luis Quintans].”
Axiom Verge is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation Vita, PS4, Wii U, and Xbox One.