As some of you may be aware, there’s a certain project that’s been gaining a bit of attention. A Western game circle making a Super Smash Bros. clone for Touhou. Sounds awesome right? Well… with enough greed and ignorance, and a dash of douchebaggery, anyone can ruin even the most promising of ideas.
Some background information. We did originally allow FromSoySauce to discuss and advertise their game idea in the forums. We’re all for developing and nurturing talent within the WTC; this is one of our core missions for MotK. A fangame would be more than welcome to use us as a launching pad to find talent to help bring an idea to life. Where things got hairy is when crowdfunding was brought in. FromSoySauce (Saijee on the forums) decided pushing to monetize their idea was a great idea, and opened a crowdfunding campaign along with ad supported versions of the game. A HUGE no-no according to ZUN’s recently updated guidelines on using Touhou IP. Several prominent members including several staff members immediately warned him about the guidelines, but were flatly ignored, and the crowdfunding campaign was launched. A close friend of ZUN tweets about the project to ZUN and ZUN replies back that this isn’t a good idea. Immediately several blogs in Japan pick up on this and eastern fans are angry.
At this point, Saijee hadn’t done anything wrong other than maybe being a bit ignorant. Had he respectfully dropped the issue, closed the crowdfunding project and apologized for his mistake, this would be the end of this story. It’s an understandable mistake. The western indie gaming scene is only similar to the eastern doujin culture in the most general of terms. It’s understandable he may have overlooked some of the intricacies and unspoken policies and customs, and that there’s still a lot of mixed feelings about using digital distribution methods. Crowdfunding is also a very foreign concept, there’s nothing quite like it, and to the eastern doujin community I imagine it feels extremely commercial. Most doujin works are made for the love of making, with no concerns about trying to make a profit. Games and other doujin items are sold as collector’s items at trade shows. There’s also serious respect involved and an unspoken rule that making a doujin of someone else’s work is a homage, but commercializing it is theft.
But he instead decided to play word games, stalling on removing the campaign until Team Shanghai Alice directly contacted IndieGoGo to void the campaign. He chose to drag others down in the mud with him, mischaracterizing and outright lying about the involvement of others in the fiasco. Staffers with patience far greater than most tried tirelessly to work with him to make the project acceptable to everyone involved, but he refused to cooperate, or pretended to not comprehend the issues at hand. There’s no actual confirmation that any money he received had actually been refunded once the crowdfunding campaign was stopped. He has also lied about staff PMs during the incident, either misrepresenting or lying about statements made.
I want to make it clear that at no point did ZUN or anybody from Shanghai Alice give any official blessing to their project, nor did we agree to do any sort of mediation or blessing on their behalf. We did not edit or touch any of his posts made on MotK, and he was probated several times for harassing other users and hijacking other discussions to troll. We have no involvement or affiliation with FromSoySauce, and frankly we don’t want to be associated with them at all. After his most recent “advice to future Touhou devs” video, where he has now chosen to doxx the very people trying to help him, we are forcibly removing Saijee and any known accomplices from MotK and washing our hands of this incident. We will not tolerate such behavior in our community, nor allow such people to use our resources to promote themselves. Anyone who doxxes someone else, or supports doxxing other people, regardless of any justification, is not welcome here. It’s only more pathetic that he has chosen this road despite every effort made to help him and his project succeed, simply because he didn’t get his way.
We are also at this time forbidding any future kickstarter or crowdfunding threads. These violate both the spirit and the letter of the doujin guidelines put forth by ZUN, and in our experience they’re more trouble than helpful. We are not against promoting fanworks, including promoting paid fanworks. But the idea of the crowdfund has always made us feel uneasy, begging people to pay for an unfinished product with no guarantees of an actual product at the end. We feel that if you really wish to monetize your project, you have every right to, but we want something to show for our money, not the vague promise of something maybe in the future. We do not want to facilitate hit and run scams.
We like to extend our apologies to ZUN and to anyone else who got dragged into this mess. FromSoySauce does not represent even a fraction of the amazingness that the Western Touhou Community is. We are sorry if their actions left a bad impression on what western fans are like. We reassure you, they are outliers, and are not welcome in our community any longer.