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Greed Monger Cancelled; $100,000+ in Kickstarter Funds Unaccounted For

EponyxDamorEponyxDamor Member RarePosts: 726

Well, it's official. According to James Proctor, the "Lead Developer" of Greed Monger, he will no longer be working on Greed Monger and will officially be shutting down the project.

"Hello Greed Monger Community!


A few weeks back when I left GM and then Jason signed everything over to Joel and My self we took over based on the promise of Guaranteed funding through to launch from an out side investor. Once we stepped into ownership of GM that out side investor bailed on us and we were left with no funding. We made the choice to try and develop a smaller scale game that we could get released in a much shorter time and use the funds generated to fund GM. Since those plans were leaked we have dealt with nothing but flack for it from a bunch of people. So we are faced with some choices to make. We are unable to get GM built with out funding and we are unable to get funding from developing another smaller scale game with out taking heat for doing so. Joel and My self decided to give everything back to Jason and allow him to get GM developed using his Investors he told us he had. He is refusing to take GM back from us. Therefore with no means of funding and Jason refusing to take GM back from us we are forced to admit defeat and Close GM down. The last 3 years were a great learning experience for me. I've learned a number of things about working in the Game Development Industry that I wouldn't have learned else where. This community has been great and it's been an honor working with you guys. MMOI will be back at some point and you guys will NOT be forgotten by us that is a Promise we made when I left the GM and it's a Promise I intend on fulfilling. I'm sorry things have had to end this way and will do everything in our power to make things right in the future."

Leading up to the close of Greed Monger, James Proctor was already spending money on Unity Store Assets to begin another project, one he named "Zombie Survival Game"; spending funds on a new game while he claimed to the backers that he had no funding remaining to send the T-Shirts or to continue developing Greed Monger. James asked his community what they thought about Greed Monger's development just two days prior to announcing his decision to closing Greed Monger. In this thread, James Proctor had this to say about Greed Monger and his new side project:

"Hello GM Community!

First of all let me make things perfectly clear. Our Commitment has always been to you guys and ensuring you guys get what you paid for. Our Commitment has never been to a specific IP or Game. We are dedicated 100% to getting you guys a fun game with all of the features promised during our KickStarter campaign. Just what form that game will take is the subject of this message.

Back a few weeks ago we conducted a Google Hangout where you guys were free to join and ask whatever questions you wanted to ask. Though the turn out wasn't that great a common theme came up. People wanted us to drop GM and all of it's negative PR and work on our own Game that could actually stand a chance of being successful. Both before the Hangout and after we also talked to others who were interested in us doing the same thing. So now we want your feedback we want to hear your thoughts and concerns and we want your help in plotting the future course for GM and MMO Interactive! Do you want us to continue with GM with all of it's negative PR and History or do you want us to work on coming up with a completely new Game that includes all of the features of our KickStarter and where all of the KickStarter Pledges are full filled but that doesn't have the negative PR and Long History?"

When members of his community pointed out that he shouldn't be dividing his attention between Greed Monger (a $150,000+ project) and his new "Zombie Survival Game" James had this to say to his backers:

"The Zombie Survival game WILL be made regardless of what is decided in this poll. Like I said that is not up for debate here. And I understand it's not going to interest everyone but Zombie Survival Games are popular enough that it should be able to at least start paying for some of GM or other Large Scale MMO."

Originally, the project was created and successfully Kickstarted by Jason Appleton, who left the scene shortly after some massive drama took place, primarily here on the MMORPG.com forums and Wurm Online forums. Years later, after the project seemed to be dead and no end in sight, Jason Appleton relinquished control of the project to James Proctor, who, at the time, was the only member of the development team for the majority of the game's creation.

It has been suggested that James Proctor was part of the scam the entire time. After all, he was the only team member remaining on the development team just weeks after their Kickstarter campaign was successful, had been the only person posting "development updates" to the community for three years (most of which were apparently not true, based on the infrequent and progress of the game videos shown), and was the only other person to have benefited from the game's shady past.

James Proctor decided to "quit" development of Greed Monger, after a poster on RPGCodex.com posted a very exposing thread about Greed Monger, Jason Appleton, and James Proctor's shady past dealings. Greed Monger was in limbo between Jason Appleton and another MMO development company after James Proctor quit the comapny. However, despite having an easy "out" from the Greed Monger name with this company, Jason Appleton quickly handed over the keys to James Proctor.

Why would Jason Appleton have given James Proctor the reigns of development and $20,000 worth of assets? When, just days prior, Jason Appleton had posted a very long-winded rant about how incompetent James Proctor was, and why James was the reason the game was in the terrible state it was.

It seems all too convenient that James Proctor agreed to take the game back (only three days after "quitting") and also agreed that Jason Appleton would keep all remaining assets the game had acquired through their kickstater campaign.

While it's known that kickstarters are a risk and gamble, there are provisions in place by kickstarter themselves that give backers some form of legal recourse against situations like this. It's estimated that over $150,000 was given to Greed Monger through their multiple crowd funding campaigns. Through development of the game, it was requested multiple times by the community that James and Jason post how they had been using the funds given to them, another provision provided by Kickstarter, however, neither of them ever provided this information.

Even three years later, the 243 t-shirts promised as rewards to backers have still remained unsent, and the project is in an abysmal state of development, with no alpha access available. Nearly 1,000 backers funded Greed Monger, and according to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Greed Monger is required to fulfill all promises made to their backers, and if they are unable to, must refund the backers or find another way to reconcile the situation.

"Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."

Source

"Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill."

Source

 

At the end of the day, I'm sure little can be done for backers. However, this should stand as a warning to people who decide to back Kickstarter games without researching the creators, team, and reality of the project first. It should also stand to be a wake up call to gaming "news" sites to stop praising every kickstarter campaign that blows through the doors. Although Greed Monger was funded in 2012, the height of the crowd funding bubble, during a time when it was incredibly easy to deceive the unfamiliar public, it was easy to tell it was a scam.

The only question that remains is: Was James Proctor part of the scam the entire time, and should he be the one held accountable for the missing $100,000+?

(UPDATE: Here is James Proctor's previous work before Greed Monger. At the time, he couldn't even properly code a score tracker into the game. However, not one year later, Jason Appleton hired him to be the Lead Programmer of Greed Monger.

For any backers interested, a few weeks back, Gloriva Victis offered an invitation to their game with proof of purchase for Greed Monger funding:

Meanwhile, if there are any Greed Monger, Embers of Caerus or another MMORPG Kickstarters backers who were not delivered yet what they paid for please contact me via support@gloriavictisgame.com with showing some proof of your donation for those projects. I will gladly send you invitation into the Gloria Victis hoping that you won't loose believe in Indie Developers.

I think that's pretty gentlemanly of them to do.

Additionally, mightyking here on the MMORPG.com forums has offered $250 to help with legal expenses for any US Kickstarter backers that can prove they backed the game, and provide copies of legal documents regarding the case. Spider3 on the official forums has also expressed a desire to collect other backers in order to start a suit against Proctor/Appleton.

To update the story, James Proctor was recently questioned as to why he was banned from Atavism early on, and he had this to say:

Yes as a matter of fact I was (banned) because I dared to speak out against the way they were advertising their framework. They were saying it already had features that were yet to be implemented. I suggested to them that they might want to be up front with potential customers and instead of saying it already had those features say they they were planned features.

The comical irony in his words are nothing short of pure poetry. This is surely the best example of the pot calling the kettle black. While I'm sure this isn't the last we will see of James Proctor, at least he has a way of creating an interesting story!)

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Comments

  • SeelinnikoiSeelinnikoi Member RarePosts: 1,316

    Well that did not escalate quickly, it took them 3 years to admit they scammed dumb people out of 100k dollah!

    I love this quote from Thomas Tusser:

    A foole and his monie be soone at debate,
    which after with sorrow repents him too late.

     

    PS: I dont think James was on the scam the whole time, but at some point his hands got dirty and he saw the assets he got from this whole thing, a very lucrative deal.

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  • TokkenTokken Member RarePosts: 2,190

    Good riddance! What a zoo, but I am sorry for all those who lost money on GM's kickstarter! :-(

    Make PvE GREAT Again!
  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,124

    Did GM get funded before KS changed the rules regarding accountability...? 

     

    Also i do not think it was a scam... Just a manchild with dreams to big for his head to cash. 

     

    That being said... I do no think he is missing much sleep over the KS money. 

     

    As for JP spending money... Either it is from his own pocket or he has secured funding form some other place. 

     

    After all 100k is peanuts when it comes to running a company. 

    Tawess gaming

    Tawess soapbox

    This have been a good conversation

  • EponyxDamorEponyxDamor Member RarePosts: 726
    Originally posted by tawess

    Did GM get funded before KS changed the rules regarding accountability...? 

     

    Also i do not think it was a scam... Just a manchild with dreams to big for his head to cash. 

     

    That being said... I do no think he is missing much sleep over the KS money. 

     

    As for JP spending money... Either it is from his own pocket or he has secured funding form some other place. 

     

    After all 100k is peanuts when it comes to running a company. 

    They were funded before October 2014, so yes. However, even the original Terms of Use has an accountability clause regarding refunds and obligations:

    • Kickstarter does not offer refunds. A Project Creator is not required to grant a Backer’s request for a refund unless the Project Creator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the reward.
    • Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.
  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504

    Hopefully used as a cautionary tale of KS projects which sound too ambitious (check), especially for the amount asked for (check), from an inexperienced (check) and too-small dev team (check.)

    Kickstarter is a great platform and I actually strongly recommend using it to support projects that do sound possible.  But people need to analyze the risks before donating, unless they want to see their money lost.

    "What is truly revealing is his implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true. [continue]" -John Oliver

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] UncommonPosts: 0
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,125
    Curious whether James was ever paid for his work and if not should he not have been since he was one of the people working on the project.  I suppose he might have a claim against Jason too for his work. As for holding James responsible would you not have to prove fraud on his part and Kickstarter can only go after Jason right if they do anything if at all .

  • EponyxDamorEponyxDamor Member RarePosts: 726
    Originally posted by kitarad
    Curious whether James was ever paid for his work and if not should he not have been since he was one of the people working on the project.  I suppose he might have a claim against Jason too for his work. As for holding James responsible would you not have to prove fraud on his part and Kickstarter can only go after Jason right if they do anything if at all .

    James is responsible now. He signed a contract with Jason stating as much, that he was obligated to fulfill all original Kickstarter rewards. James also received over $20,000 worth of assets and software licensing from the deal, while allowing Jason Appleton to take the remaining $100,000+.

    As for being paid, James claimed he was a "volunteer" and was never directly paid. However, here's a list of things James claimed Jason had given him over the years:

    "As for pay I can't say what each team member is making as that's between them and Jason but I can let you guys know what I'm making. We would like to be as open with you guys as possible and it's only right that I be the first... I am officially labeled as Volunteer. However I've been making bonuses upon completing different tasks. To date I have gotten a new Mid range Gaming Rig valued at $800. My old computer was a 2008 $400 walmart special so not even close to being good enough for development. This Development PC is a huge improvement. I have gotten a $1200 or so Unity Pro License. I got $2,000 December 2012 for my work leading up to our KickStarter Campaign and then through out the KickStarter Campaign, I've gotten a couple $500 checks over the last year and I believe a $200 check for a Birthday Bonus in 2013. I then have been promised a pretty sizable check upon launching Alpha but I won't say the amount until I see how much I actually get where it's taken us so long to launch Alpha. I've then been promised a percentage of profits post launch and funding to start up a R&D department to Prototype new things to add to the game and future games." -James Proctor

    Also keep in mind, that James couldn't technically hold a paid position at work, due to other "reasons" I don't think should be brought up in this thread.

  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,124
    Originally posted by EponyxDamor
    Originally posted by tawess

    Did GM get funded before KS changed the rules regarding accountability...? 

     

    Also i do not think it was a scam... Just a manchild with dreams to big for his head to cash. 

     

    That being said... I do no think he is missing much sleep over the KS money. 

     

    As for JP spending money... Either it is from his own pocket or he has secured funding form some other place. 

     

    After all 100k is peanuts when it comes to running a company. 

    They were funded before October 2014, so yes. However, even the original Terms of Use has an accountability clause regarding refunds and obligations:

    • Kickstarter does not offer refunds. A Project Creator is not required to grant a Backer’s request for a refund unless the Project Creator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the reward.
    • Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.

    So it will have to be a civil action between backers and Appleton then... Don´t see that one going much of a way. 

    Tawess gaming

    Tawess soapbox

    This have been a good conversation

  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,125

    Do you have the terms in writing ? Does it actually say that or you're speculating and is it binding as far as Kickstarter goes. Since Jason is the one who did the kickstarter isn't Jason still the one responsible ?

     

    Are there any backers who have threatened to sue ?

     

    Since the agreement is between Jason and James the backers can only seek remedy via Kickstarter which can only be done via the agreement in Kickstarter which is between Jason and Kickstater .Jason if he is held accountable can then sue James to recover ,but for Kickstarter to go after James is not likely to happen.

  • EponyxDamorEponyxDamor Member RarePosts: 726
    Originally posted by kitarad
    Do you have the terms in writing ? Does it actually say that or you're speculating and is it binding as far as Kickstarter goes. Since Jason is the one who did the kickstarter isn't Jason still the one responsible ?

    It's all according to Jason and James, I've never seen the contract itself. However, James claimed:

    "... Our contract we signed with him (Jason) was to fulfill the promises to you guys from the KickStarter campaign ..."

    (EDIT: It all seems very convoluted in the end, and I'm sure it'd be one hell of a situation to sort of for any lawyers involved. However, at the end of the day, I'm really just trying to call to light the problem of people throwing money at every kickstarter campaign without properly researching it first. This could be the result of a $3,500+ investment.)

  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,125

    Sounds like an agreement for assets, that is between James and Jason with an added agreement to fulfill the requirements for the game but it could be qualified too if the parties taking over consider it viable. I do not think Kickstarter can use the agreement between Jason and James.

     

    That is true this kickstarter thing is susceptible to scams.

  • thunderclesthundercles Member UncommonPosts: 510
    For me, this story has been the most entertaining thing in mmorpg world all year! I couldn't dream up this kind of tomfoolery.
  • TalonsinTalonsin Member EpicPosts: 3,619
    The whole thing is sad really.  Jason walks away with at least $75,000 in his pocket and James gets a new PC and several thousand dollars for putting unity assets in a map.  They both made out while the KS backers got robbed.  Just a sad example of how low people will go for the almighty dollar.
    "Sean (Murray) saying MP will be in the game is not remotely close to evidence that at the point of purchase people thought there was MP in the game."  - SEANMCAD

  • BurntvetBurntvet Member RarePosts: 3,465
    The first of many MMO "scams" we are likely to see before crowdfunding dies in this game space.
  • damond5031damond5031 Member UncommonPosts: 444
    Jason walked away with 80k and James gets all the game assets. Instead of moving on with the project that people paid to have developed, James will instead run off and work on some new project he has dreamed up. All involved with this project are thieves and liars. James will probably have a new kickstarter running within a week or two. 
  • JamesPJamesP Member UncommonPosts: 543
    Originally posted by damond5031
    Jason walked away with 80k and James gets all the game assets. Instead of moving on with the project that people paid to have developed, James will instead run off and work on some new project he has dreamed up. All involved with this project are thieves and liars. James will probably have a new kickstarter running within a week or two. 

    And IF I do and if all I show in the preview for the new game is nothing but Assets bought from the asset store with nothing really to show that I've actually done work on the game then please feel free to drag all this stuff up and do whatever you feel is needed. However I assure you that won't happen because I'm NOT that type of person. But hey man do what you have to do and believe what you want to believe it's your right to do so.

    Company Owner
    MMO Interactive

  • Charlie.CheswickCharlie.Cheswick Member UncommonPosts: 469

    So the only remaining question is who is the real Greed Monger?

    Appleton? 

    Proctor? 

    Or the KS backers who so greedily desired a game that they blindly threw hope laced legal tender at it,  praying it would fill the void in their gaming guts?

    Oh, the drama of it all!

    -Chuckles
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771

    Is this even a surprise?

    If you shower money on people who have no obligation, it does not take a genius to figure out some will take the money & run. You can put up whatever excuse, but the bottomline is that people put in money, and get no game.

    But it is a good story though ... next time when someone post about a KS project begging money here, we can point to this and say "are you sure 100% that this won't happen?"

     

  • flizzerflizzer Member RarePosts: 2,408
    Will anyone admit to giving these crooks money?  
  • CalmOceansCalmOceans Member UncommonPosts: 2,437

    I'm principally opposed to any Kickstarter projects. Backers are not given any protection from Kickstarter and Kickstarter never goes after the projects who scam people.

    The best advice I can give people is to do a chargeback.

  • mgilbrtsnmgilbrtsn Member EpicPosts: 3,300
    I'very supported a couple of Kickstart erstwhile and will continue to support projects which I think are worth while.

    Going in though, I know the risks.

    I haven't been following this drama, but if he made away with 80 from a 3 year project, he's not a very good scammer. In the grand scheme if things, that's not much. In addition, his name is mud, and he will have trouble finding backers for any new project he may want to start. No, he didn't do well at all.

    Concentrate on enjoying yourself, and not on why I shouldn't enjoy myself.

  • TalonsinTalonsin Member EpicPosts: 3,619
    Originally posted by JamesP
    Originally posted by damond5031
    Jason walked away with 80k and James gets all the game assets. Instead of moving on with the project that people paid to have developed, James will instead run off and work on some new project he has dreamed up. All involved with this project are thieves and liars. James will probably have a new kickstarter running within a week or two. 

    And IF I do and if all I show in the preview for the new game is nothing but Assets bought from the asset store with nothing really to show that I've actually done work on the game then please feel free to drag all this stuff up and do whatever you feel is needed. However I assure you that won't happen because I'm NOT that type of person. But hey man do what you have to do and believe what you want to believe it's your right to do so.

    But you are the type of person to take responsibility for the GM project and then weeks later spend much of your time on another project as mentioned here:

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/6658569#6658569

    And then when it looks like the zombie game has less drama involved you easily drop the responsibility for GM that you took up just weeks before.  Promising backers how you were going to do such a great job. 

    Even if you made the best zombie game in the world, I would never give you a single dollar of my money and I'll bet many people here will follow your career and continue to show potential supporters of your projects just how easily you will bail on them when the going gets tough. 

    "Sean (Murray) saying MP will be in the game is not remotely close to evidence that at the point of purchase people thought there was MP in the game."  - SEANMCAD

  • IczerIczer Member UncommonPosts: 115
    Originally posted by JamesP
    Originally posted by damond5031
    Jason walked away with 80k and James gets all the game assets. Instead of moving on with the project that people paid to have developed, James will instead run off and work on some new project he has dreamed up. All involved with this project are thieves and liars. James will probably have a new kickstarter running within a week or two. 

    And IF I do and if all I show in the preview for the new game is nothing but Assets bought from the asset store with nothing really to show that I've actually done work on the game then please feel free to drag all this stuff up and do whatever you feel is needed. However I assure you that won't happen because I'm NOT that type of person. But hey man do what you have to do and believe what you want to believe it's your right to do so.

    *gets popcorn and a front row seat for more comedy*

     

    Seriously, someone should do a kickstarter to fund a sitcom about a kickstarter that was a scam and the hijinks that ensues.

     

     

  • NightHaveNNightHaveN Member UncommonPosts: 1,051
    A case like this was what I was talking about when people went crazy over the Crowfall funding. Don't get me wrong, when game starts to sell I'm going to get a collector's edition like I have done with all my previous MMO purchases. But paying for vapor ware with the chance of not even playing the game a single day... No thanks.

    People gets dumber every day.
This discussion has been closed.