Hello, this is Steve Piggott, President of Torn Banner Studios and lead Chivalry dev mentioned in Scott’s post. I wanted to respond to provide the missing details and clear up both false and misleading statements presented in Scott’s story. I believe that an honest reading of the situation will give a very different impression than the one he was presenting.
First I want to explain that our company was formed from a MOD team, and it was comprised of people working remotely all over the world. When we started we had absolutely no budget, little experience and no idea what to expect in terms of the success of the game. In the early years Scott is referring to, no one, including myself, received payment for working on the game because there was no money to pay them with. From the start it was a group of dreamers trying to create a game they believed in and were willing to put in the work up front in hopes of a success down the road. This was the case for every single member of the team.
As any of you who have worked on them before will understand, the nature of MOD teams and Royalty-based Indie teams is that you have a lot of people coming in, saying they want to contribute, joining with a lot of energy and then fizzling out rapidly, ghosting on you and no longer contributing to the project. From our experience as a MOD team, we knew this was going to be the case even as we pursued our commercial release, and its totally understandable, because after all you aren’t paying them a salary. We knew that this would be the core challenge to overcome in creating the game, and as such set out to create a contract that would represent the investment of effort by team members who were willing to stick out the struggles of development and see the project through to its completion, especially because the final stage of completing a project is always the most difficult.
This point is also made by Scott less diplomatically in this quote: “The first year on UDK (unreal) was a nightmare. What few team members who were left on Team Chivalry were lazy, no shows, who had no desire to learn the new tools and take the commercial version seriously.”
So when we decided to get serious and go commercial with the project along with a shift to the UDK as Scott mentioned, we knew that we would need to set up a company and create contracts for all team members to sign so we could formalize the agreement between us all about how we would pursue this commercial project together given our situation and the challenges we faced. To be clear, this structure means we were not a company with employees, but instead a company working with independent contractors with whom we had no way of encouraging let alone forcing to do work other than the terms of the contract itself.
The team discussed and designed the structure of the contracts together, so that we would all feel comfortable with the agreement we were working with. Everyone on the team knew the structure of the contract and at the time agreed that the terms were fair and the best way to ensure that the team members who stuck with the project and contributed would be rewarded and that the company would be protected against future claims by people who were briefly with the team or made very minor insignificant contributions.
We also agreed that there needed to be a way for the team to remove team members from the project who were not contributing, both to ensure we could continue to function and to protect the fairness of the situation for team members who were significant contributors and stuck out the length of the project. Our solution, arrived at together as a team, and specifically designed to make it so that I could not act individually in firing team members without cause, was the following term in the contract, which Scott has been referring to as the Team Vote.
Termination of the contract could occur if:
the Contractor was in breach of the Agreement including a failure to perform the Services or to remain an active and productive member of the Development Team and contributor to the Project up to the Commercial Release Date; or
no less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the members of the Development Team request the Contractor be removed from the Development Team.
the contractor themselves terminated the agreement
So to clarify, the team vote setup was NOT a loophole, but instead a protection for the team members specifically against the claims that Scott is making that I could cut them loose at the last minute for my own benefit.
As admitted by Scott himself, the night he departed the team was as a result of his own expressed desire to quit the team after months of falling productivity. In doing so he terminated his own contract, the terms of which he completely understood and had agreed were necessary.
He did later request to rejoin the team, and despite having no legal obligation to do so, I agreed there would be a team discussion and vote about having him back on. The other team members were clear, they no longer had any interest in working with him as a result of his history of negative social interactions with the team while drunk, in addition to subpar work quality and output.
I do not know why Daniel would claim the vote and discussion around Scott rejoining the team did not occur, it is possible he missed it due to his own absence or has since forgotten but it did occur and other members of the team can attest to this.
Name Change of company
The company still exists as the same entity it was, the name change (from Team Chivalry to Torn Banner Studios) was done to reflect the fact that we intended to make a variety of games, not just those within the chivalry universe. The business number is the same and in all other legal respects the company still exists and this would have posed no barrier at all to a legal proceeding.
“Steve also lied to everyone by saying he got 9%, but neglected to mention the 50% for the company'” The numbers used here are inaccurate, and this is an attempt to blur the difference between the amount of money that was agreed would be taken out of the company personally by me and the amount that would be left in the company (so that we could achieve our goals of paying salaries to employees and becoming a “real company”). This was made clear to everyone. In reality I ended up taking out far less than this amount and leaving more in the company.
I don’t want to pull Daniel into this, because he is a great guy who we always got along with, but his contribution is being misrepresented too. The truth is that there’s maybe a handful of his animations in the game, less than 1% out of the hundreds upon hundreds of others made by our lead animator Richard Yang. This was the case at launch, and when he left the team. We still have access to the SVN submit log which is very enlightening as to how much work was being produced per team member.
Level of Contribution
Scott has put himself forward as the guy who basically made Chivalry a success, while lying and exaggerating his contribution at every level and casting me as a greedy kid who did nothing and purposefully screwed hardworking team members out of their money. Going as far as to say “Yet all he did was log in once a day, ask me how things were going, make sure things were getting done and logging off. I assure you the sweat equity was not his.” The idea that I, who has spent more time working on Chivalry and the Torn Banner company than I have done anything else in my life was barely contributing and only there to exploit the work of others for a paycheck is absurd – we didn’t have any idea we would be successful for the over 5 years I worked on the game before it launched. Chivalry was a passion project, made by the efforts of people who dared to dream that they could create the game and achieve the careers of their dreams. And for the members of the team that were able to see the project through and behave professionally, it was a dream come true. It is sad and unfortunate that not everyone who had the chance was able to finish the ride with us, but the story being presented by Scott Petty here is intentionally misleading and clearly the baseless lashing out of someone bitter they missed the boat.
Scott quit by his own accord, more than a year and a half before Chivalry launched. His contributions to the end result of Chivalry have been grossly exaggerated by him throughout his posts. When he requested to rejoin the team, the rest of the team didn’t want to work with him any longer or think that it was fair to bring him back in given his lack of professionalism, productivity level and the quality of his work. He, along with the rest of the team present at the time directly contributed to the conversations about how to create the contract he is now claiming was malicious and designed to screw people over. This wasn’t a normal company with employees situation for any of us – we all worked this way without pay, including myself believing in the dream of the game we were creating to pay off in the long term. We all knew what the terms were, which were set up so that we could finish the game properly, avoiding the fate of so many mod teams failing to transition to commercial game studios with abandoned projects.
It is telling that he made no attempt to make personal contact before going public with this story. Scott is upset about leaving early and missing out on Chivalry’s success and that’s understandable, but it’s unfair for Scott to be taking it out on the team like this. The reason he has not pursued a legal case, is because his claims are invalid and he knows this, but is hoping the court of public opinion will blindly accept his accusations. I would also like to make it very clear that Scott and all other team members that were not with us at launch but contributed to the project did receive official credit in the game, he, nor anyone else was not unfairly uncredited. Many members of the original team would be happy to provide support to my statements and answer any further questions you have in interest of transparency for those concerned about the truth.
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