You may have read my article the other day about a dispute behind the scenes of the Hello, Neighbor! campaign. If not, you should definitely check that out before reading this article. It’s kind of a weird situation.
Too lazy? Here’s the short version: former Dynamic Pixels employee Mike Bazhenov is accusing the developer’s CEO, Mikhail Minakov, of failing to pay some kind of debt, and alleges that until this debt is paid, Minakov is technically not the full owner of both Dynamic Pixels and Hello, Neighbor!. Minakov provided me with an official response, denying the claims. Since this is all one man’s word against another’s, I’m refusing to take a side in the dispute. With this in mind, I can now reveal what happened next.
Shortly after my article was published, I was contacted by Bazhenov. Naturally, he denied everything that Minakov said. The following is a condensed version of his e-mail, as there were parts he requested I keep off-record:
First of all – sorry for my english, I’m not used professional translators.
2nd – I have no plans to stop compaign – in russian dev. community much more info about situation now but it’s to difficult to you read and understand all of it unfortunately. But I like this project too.
I read Minakov’s answer. I don’t won’t to comment all, because he starts lying to you in 2nd paragraph. Dynamic Pixels have _many_ legal “ltd”, include few sole proprietors and not russian ltd. too.
Minakov adopted a position of denial, it’s convenient. Nevertheless, I can confirm all my words. Most on Russian. Whole team is in shock, and even Minakov’s family.
Bazhenov appears sympathetic to Dynamic Pixels, if not Minakov. He seems aware of the damage he might be inflicting to Hello, Neighbor!‘s Kickstarter campaign, and if he’s to be believed, that hasn’t been his primary intention. Indeed, in a follow-up e-mail he stated:
‘I dislike that situation. I’m very sorry about it. But Minakov crossed all borders.’
Nonetheless, I find myself in a similar position to the one I was in before – it’s one man’s word against another’s. I’m sure Minakov would just deny Bazhenov’s claims again, and so I didn’t feel the need to reach out to him. Since I can’t prove things one way or another, I feel it would be unethical to continue my coverage of this dispute while the Hello, Neighbor! Kickstarter campaign is still active – not unless Bazhenov takes any kind of official legal action.
After all, this dispute affects more than just Minakov and Bazhenov – it affects the entire development team at Dynamic Pixels, as well as the chances of Hello, Neighbor!‘s backers ever seeing the game released. Therefore, this will be my last article on the dispute until such time as it progresses beyond a ‘he said, he said’ situation. I’m bowing out.
Behind the scenes drama aside, I still maintain that Hello, Neighbor! has some great potential, and I encourage you to check out its Kickstarter page, which just posted an update. Feel free to check out our previous coverage of the game while you’re at it.