ForceTime: No More Credits

Note: I know I’m not supposed to “call out” another website, but I do this as a fan of both The Escapist and Extra Credits, not as a writer.

No More Credits

Extra Credits, one of the internet’s best shows on gaming, has been cancelled. The show, started by Daniel Floyd, James Portnow and Allison Theus, was a landmark series that gave everyone, not just gamers, insight into game development and game theory that many only got from taking classes in a university. Its ideas to improve the game industry for everyone not only oozed creativity, but were beautifully simple. The show was an absolute success on many levels, and now it is over because of an absolutely ridiculous dispute over the money from a charity that the Extra Credits crew started on Rockethub, a site where people can invest in different artistic projects.

Before we talk about the Rockethub project itself, there is one thing that needs to be established: The Escapist owed James Portnow $20,000. They had only paid him for four episodes out of the year. Even though Alexander Macris, the publisher at The Escapist, says, “James told us not to worry about paying him,” it doesn’t make sense that they would let that go to the tune of twenty-thousand fucking dollars. This is one of their most popular shows. I couldn’t miss my rent by twenty bucks without a landlord threatening to roast my head on a pike in the middle of his yard, and yet The Escapist owed him a thousand times that.

So, as you all probably know, James & Co created the Rockethub project to help Allison Theus, the artist of Extra Credits, as she needed crucial surgery on her arm. It was wildly successful, raising nearly $100,000 (again, these are the guys that weren’t getting paid?), and James decided that a community-focused game publishing company would be the best way to move forward with the overflow of donations.

James then says in his post that they wanted to trade some of the debt for the rights to the IP back. The next part is truly best said in his own words:

We thought this was going to be an easy discussion. Instead they responded by telling us that they felt that they were entitled to 75% of the Rockethub money, thus their debt was covered and, despite not paying us for nearly a year, we owed them $9500 dollars.

What?

If they were entitled to 75% of the Rockethub money, wouldn’t they be looking for roughly $75,000 instead of just trying to say, “Oh no, our debt’s clean.”?

In what land does $20,000 = $75,000?

Debt? What Debt?

I have to say that I don’t think this is entirely The Escapist’s fault. It seems like James should have paid them back for the publisher’s club memberships they were giving out as incentives on Rockethub; James apparently at one point refused to speak with The Escapist and instead dealt through a “business development manager” and that seems questionable. Later, The Escapist did come around and tried to finally pay James the money they owed him, but only so that “the debt wouldn’t become a sticking point in negotiations”. It’s good that they finally paid him for most of the year now that the year is mostly over. Had they paid James two months ago (or, you know, when he was supposed to be paid to begin with!) this whole issue would have been far less dramatic.

I want to hear from Allison. She is central to this entire debacle, and I want to know how she feels on the matter.

And finally, to speak to the people saying that Extra Credits is “just trying to create a side business”. This statement is levels of remarkably stupid that Dante may have to write a second fucking book. “Just a side business”? What kind of ignorant myopic bullshit is that? This isn’t profiting off the show Extra Credits, this is using an overflow of charity money to create a community-focused game development company. Gamers bitch all the time that “they have no say” or “the publisher/developers are doing x to my game and I don’t like it.” This would be a chance to actually change something like that. Admittedly, it might be a clusterfuck, but there’s just as much of a chance it could also be a huge success and give even a bit of power back into the hands of gamers. Now that you’re being given that chance, you’re going to sit there and bitch at the people trying to give it to you?

I know I speak for many when I say that I loved Extra Credits, and I’m sad to see it go, especially in the wake of some ridiculous thing like this. I hope the project still gets funded, though that looks unlikely now. As for people thinking to boycott The Escapist, that might be a little rash, but honestly, I can’t say I blame them.  To lose the show over such a ludicrous dispute feels like having your arm cut off by your spouse because you forgot to make the coffee.


Comments
One Response to “ForceTime: No More Credits”
  1. Anonymouse says:

    They’re still making videos. So their voice isn’t silenced yet.

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