Update Feb 2, 2016: Eric Tereshinski's ex-friends and business partners have issued a statement saying his video is "completely false."
Two sides, of course, to every story. Tyler Monce and Devon Staley, the two men accused by Eric Tereshinski of spending Ant Simulator's crowdfunding money on 'liquor and strippers', have been speaking to Game Informer about what they think of the developer's video. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they're not pleased, issuing a series of denials and a completely different story of what happened towards the end of last year and into this one.
If only they'd known about the best adult games on PC, they could have just spent the budget on copies of The Witcher instead.
Here's what Monce, who was in charge of financing, has to say about the video itself:
"It’s completely false. I don’t know why he’s painting that picture, but the reality is that anything that was spent in a bar or restaurant was very reasonable in nature when you look at any business, including video game companies. It was part of our operating budget, it’s not anything that was excessive. It was all reported to the IRS. The picture he’s painting about that is 100 percent bull****."
Some interesting stuff to note in there. He says it's completely false, but does at least imply that they spent company money in bars and resteraunts. He doesn't even mention the strippers, either because he finds the notion so ridiculous as to not be worth legitimising with a denial, or because he doesn't think he can pass it off as "very reasonable." It's also a bit odd to see him talking about this sort of spending being the nature of business - I've no doubt it is, for the big publishers and developers who can afford it, but maybe not for indie games about ants, eh?
He goes on to say that Tereshinski had as much access to financial info as they did and there was no point at which they could have spent money without him noticing. Monce also claims that in November 2015, Tereshinski "took control of everything":
"He took control of not only all the company’s physical property, our bank accounts, our social media accounts, our website (which he changed to just our faces for some unknown reason), that was all him. This all started to take place right after the game started to get really popular late in the summer. My personal theory is that he wanted to take it all for himself and cut us out of it. We made it clear that we weren’t going to let him do that, because we had a moral and legal right not to."
Monce also addressed claims Tereshinski made to Polygon that Monce messed up on a deal with Playstation. Monce says that it was Tereshinski that failed to provide a gameplay demo in time. There's a load more over on Game Informer, and it looks like the two parties are going to be at it for some time - Staley and Monce are planning legal action.
Original Story Feb 1, 2016: Ah, indie game development. The only true wild west left. Ant Simulator hit our radars last year for being quite a nice looking game about exploring the world as an ant, doing menial tasks for your ant queen and climbing up impossibly tall blades of grass. It was being produced by Eric Tereshinski - who also Kickstarted a YouTube series, ETeeskiTutorials, in 2014 - with the help of crowdfunded pre-orders. Now Ant Simulator is cancelled, because his business partners and ex-best-friends spent the "overwhelming majority" of money from both sources on alcohol, strippers and other activities not really related to making a good videogame.
All this info has been revealed as Tereshinski has resigned over the matter, as you would really, and posted a video on YouTube explaining the whole situation. Needless to say, Ant Simulator is dead, not least because his former business partners said they will sue him if he tries to make it elsewhere.
Wondering why he doesn't just bring the full force of the law down upon them? Their contracts list them as consultants, meaning they can write everything off as business meetings, and they have the minutes to do so, according to ETeeski. He says he could try to sue them, but chances are it would be more time, money and effort for zero gain whatsoever. He explains all this in a comment on the video itself.
It's fairly extraordinary, and another example of why game development isn't quite as easy as giving a bunch of talented inviduals a lot of money and telling them to get on with it. I gain more sympathy for large publishers with every passing day, and really hope that ETeeski can land on his feet and make something cool.
Update: The opening paragraph of this article has been reworded for clarity.