Dangen Entertainment isn’t as well-known as other game companies, but as an indie-focused publisher that helps bridge the gap between Japan and the West, you’ve undoubtedly played a product of its efforts. Games such as Bloodstained, Momodora, CrossCode, and Iconoclasts have benefited from Dangen’s publishing, localization, and advertising services.
An anonymous blog post published charges against the publishing house over the last weekend, ranging from accusations of professional inefficiency to allegations of sexual harassment against the company’s CEO. Developers have been venting their frustrations about Danger Entertainment on social sites such as Twitter for some time.
Although the post was removed and placed under review, it still remains in archived form. It has sparked a surge of pushback against Dangen, with current and former workers defending the team and others corroborating the initial source’s story and providing their own anecdotes. Others have defended Dangen, and the corporation itself has written a reaction in which it asserts, among other things, that the post was driven by self-interest.
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In November, a developer posted a blog post advocating piracy of his or her own games rather than contributing to Dangen. Everything came to a head with the publication of a lengthy Medium article during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that compiled several concerns involving Dangen and its workers.
In the original article, titled “Dangen Entertainment Warning,” an anonymous author who claims to have collaborated with the publisher on many projects outlines their grievances. USgamer has confirmed the author’s identity as genuine but will keep their name confidential.
The piece is very lengthy, but it discusses two significant difficulties with Dangen Entertainment. The first is several professional complaints, ranging from the improper management of marketing materials and royalty payments to the unauthorized usage of a developer’s music. The majority of this post focuses on the development of two video games, Fight Knight and Devil Engine, from 2018 to 2019. A second, more serious section focuses on allegations against Ben Judd, the CEO of Dangen Entertainment.
Ben Judd’s Dangen Entertainment website lists him as a 15-year veteran of the video game business, having worked at Capcom Japan and DDM. In addition to his participation in Mighty No. 9 and Bionic Commando Rearmed, he created Dangen in 2017. Multiple sources informed us of his prominence on the international stage, where he organises social events for industry professionals.
In both the original Medium piece and subsequent tweets, Judd has been portrayed as someone who transgresses personal boundaries, carelessly violates NDAs, and veers into predatory conduct. Emails exchanged by a game designer to the author in the first piece reveal that Judd shifted from a business talk to flirtatious conduct.
Programmer and main developer Tristan Chapman willingly surrendered control of the Twitter account to them in June 2020, according to the statement, “after we objected to his making needlessly provocative and increasingly untrue charges under the pretext of representing all of our viewpoints.”
The bulk of Tristan Chapman’s prior actions and remarks to the media have not been condoned, and we will no longer be working with him in the future.
The statement concludes that Protoculture no longer has permission to utilise Devil Engine’s artwork or music, and that discussions are now underway with Protoculture’s legal representation.
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In addition to problems with Judd, creators of Devil Engine and Fight Knight, as well as others in the industry, have complained about dealing with Dangen Entertainment on professional concerns.
Prior to the release of the Medium essay, the creator of Devil Engine had expressed difficulties with Dangen on numerous social media platforms, generating an initial response from Dangen Entertainment.
Through pictures of Slack, Discord, and email, the author of this Medium post illustrates Dangen Entertainment’s troubles with associated devs. Complaints vary from lack of responsiveness and missed deadlines for product launches and advertising to disagreements over contract negotiations.
Devil Engine was never submitted for a Steam Golden Week discount at one time. Given that the game was successful in Japan and Golden Week is a highly popular event in the region, the developer was keen to have it included, but it appears that Dangen co-founder Nayan Ramachandran never put the wheels in motion.
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