Starbound Dev Responds To Allegations Of Exploiting Volunteers
Starbound released back in 2016 and was quite well received, however, it appears there may have been some strife outside of the public eye. Recent allegations have surfaced claiming that the company may have taken advantage of volunteers who helped build the game.
A former developer by the name of Damon Reece, who is credited as a writer for the game, recently made a post on Twitter stating that his career started with Starbound as a volunteer at the tender age of 16. Reece states that while there he put in a lot of time and effort on the game’s development though he never saw a cent of money, meanwhile the success of the title raked in quite a bit for the developer and claims that his situation was similar to multiple volunteers who also worked on the Starbound.
i started out my gamedev career working on starbound for almost two years.
i was sixteen.
i worked hundreds of hours and wasn’t paid a single cent for it while the company made unbelievable amounts of money off of my labour, and that of around a dozen other unpaid workers.
— damon (@demanrisu) August 28, 2019
To back up the claim, other former volunteers also came forward making similar claims including concept artist Christine Crossley, composer Clark Powell, and graphic artist Rho Watson. Watson also goes a little deeper into the claim, stating in a recent report that the those who were passionate about helping the project along but weren’t paid members of the core team were given a “contributor contract” and were told that it was the industry standard.
Put simply, it was either sign that contract and get your foot in the door or get out. A few people were happy to donate their time or just wanted to see their work in the game, but for most people who wanted to work their way up to a paid position, they’d be forced to sign that contract and waive any right to compensation.
Chucklefish recently released a statement expressing that they were saddened by the claims of taking advantage of volunteers. The developer also explains that the unplayed contractors were under no obligation to put in work to create content, and they were not forced to give their time to reach deadlines or even put in any amount of time towards the project.
Both the core crew and community contributors were collaborating via a chat room and dedicated their time for free. Community contributors were under no obligation to create content, work to deadlines or put in any particular number of hours. Everyone was credited or remunerated as per their agreement.
The developers also stated that if any issues were had with the way they handled their volunteers that the troubled parties bring their concerns directly to them. Volunteers are people who give their time freely without expectation of a reward. However, in the instance of Starbound and Chucklefish, it seems that the situation wasn’t handled as well as it should have been in the first place.
Starbound is currently available on PC and is expected to arrive on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at some point in the future though as to when is unclear at this time. Let us know your thoughts on the most recent allegations of Chucklefish exploiting volunteers and more in the comments section below. As always don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for 24/7 coverage of all things gaming and entertainment.
Chris Calles1151 Posts
Known as "Stash" or Yippee Calles. He's a student of everything, avid adrenaline junkie, and creator of random things. When he's not delving into a game, book, or movie - He's out teaching himself new things or taking part in some pretty epic adventures. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.