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Lace Mamba implicated in non-payment, piracy scandal

Three more indie developers have raised their voices in complaints about Lace Mamba Global, with one ready to take legal action against the multi-national publisher.

Machinarium developer Amanita Design, The Tiny Bang Story team Colibri Games and Daedalic Entertainment of The Whispered World fame contributed to an open letter published on Gamasutra.

The letter alleges that Colibri and Daedalic did not receive the full amount of initial guarantees, nor any royalties, specified in their initial contracts with Lace Mamba. Furthermore, Amanita and Daedalic found their games were being distributed in international markets, something the contracts had not authorised and which amounts to piracy.

The letter claims all three companies contacted Lace Mamba multiple times and were promised payments, but communication then tailed off with no action taken.

The new accusations follow those of J.U.L.I.A. developer CBE Software. The four developers made a collective effort to secure their contractual right, and after "a week of heated discussions involving such entertaining topics as Crown Prosecution Service and possible imprisonment for organized piracy", Lace Mamba Global provided the four companies with a work-in-progress ad hoc royalty report.

Later, the publisher paid all of its outstanding debts to CBE and Daedalic Entertainment, and made a partial payment to Colibri along with a promise of payment in full by March 15. It also returned unsold stock to Colibri, and promised the same to Daedalic.

Unfortunately, Amanita Design has had no such luck pursuing its case. Claiming "years of missing reports and lack of due payments", as well as the illegal sale of Amanita's games in unauthorised territories, Lace Mamba Global CEO Adam Lacey reportedly told the developer that it cannot be held accountable for the actions of Mamba Games, despite the appearance of the Lace Mamba Global logo on the unauthorised copies published by Mamba Games.

According to Amanita, Mamba Games is owned by former Lace Mamba Global European managing director Jason Codd, who resigned last week.

Amanita further claims Lace Mamba employees including Codd refer to themselves variously in emails as staff of Lace Mamba Global, Lace Group and Mamba Games. Amanita reports it was told by Lacey that Codd was the director of Lace Mamba Global, but Codd himself says he was not the director of either Mamba Games or Lace Mamba Global, despite referring to himself that way in emails and press releases. Furthermore, Amanita has received payments from Mamba Games in the past.

The complicated relationship between the Mamba firms is now a complete tangle and smells strongly like a combination of fish and rat, and although the three other companies are satisfied, Amanita is threatening to take the issue to the courts to get it sorted out.

"We kindly ask you to distribute this open letter throughout the industry so that at least in the short term, fellow developers pay more attention as to whom they sign with, and whom they send the masters of their games to – as one the master is out of ones hands, unexpected things may happen. We stay united in our disapproval of the business practices described above and we hope that our experience prevents other developers from making similar mistakes," Amanita staff said, signing off the letter. You can read it in full on Gamasutra.

Thanks, Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

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