Game developers are a diverse breed. Every person participating in the industry has a vision of some sort that he or she wants to fully realize as a playable product. Plenty of wide-eyed dreamers wish to grow as content creators and hope people would appreciate them as much as the other way around. Unfortunately, as indie development has become increasingly commonplace, bad apples are more widely recognized. From Digital Homicide to the trolls posting joke submissions to Steam Greenlight, there are a lot of cases to frown upon. The latest of these is Indie Game Battle, a four-player fighting game featuring indie characters by Blob Games Studio. BGS has members, but the guy leading it all goes by “Kirbypwnage”, or “FelixBlobDev”.
On paper, this seemed great! A game stylized after Super Smash Bros. whilst taking advantage of the ever-expanding roster of indie games? Sign us all up! What could possibly go wrong? Well…everything. This game has been in early access since 2015; throughout the two years it has been on Steam, the only new additions it has are slight tweaks and character/stage additions. No Adventure mode. No online play. No important AI fixes. No new gameplay features. Nothing. In fact, some characters/stages were removed throughout this time. Finally, just recently, Felix closed up shop on the game for good, leaving it just as unfinished as I described and without any refunds given back to fooled customers.
So what happened until then? Well, I should know. I was one of the people that Felix brought onboard. There are other victims that will be joining me on providing their sides of the story, though, so it’s not just a one-man show of little substance.
This doesn’t get brought up a lot in my contributions to this humble website, but I actually do develop indie games, myself. In fact, Felix was so interested in my character, Missileman, that he offered to put him in Indie Game Battle as early as 2015. Around that time, I started development on my own game, Missileman Origins. At first, I was loving it. My little character got to be in 3D and fight against and/or alongside fellow indie characters! How amazing is that?!
Throughout my time developing it and overseeing things going on regarding Indie Game Battle, there were quite a few, for a lack of better words, odd things I observed. While Missileman was playable, some of his moves were missing. Certain other developers that wanted their characters in the game never got to see them in action despite being contributors as far back as I had. There were also pitiful disputes over minor aspects of the game that eventually led to removals of some of the first victims of Felix’s unstable ego.
Did I say unstable ego? I mean unstable ego. The only reason why the review scores show up the way they do on Steam is because Felix got people to rig them in his favor.
While I did call Felix out on these irrational behaviors, I continued to stay in the Blob Games Studio Skype (eventually to be Discord) server to oversee and provide additional feedback. It was at least fun meeting new indie developers that weren’t totally sucking up to Felix and even sharing ideas for games and beyond. Those moments are always things I treasure, and I’m glad these people entered my life. They are examples of relatively wide-eyed individuals that I brought up earlier. They also have their own stake on this.
Take “BasMakesGames” for example. He has known Felix as far back as 2014 before abandoning Indie Game Battle the following year. The two began as observers of each other’s crafts, only for Felix’s inability to take criticism shattering any possible friendship there could have been. In his negative Steam review of Indie Game Battle, Bas states the following:
“He later also helped doing some spritework for my game (The Outbreak Story, but at the time it was named differently and had a wildly different concept) but often blackmailed me if I didn’t do what he wanted or say what he wanted to hear by threatening to stop working, or postpone his work, put less effort in it and prioritize his own work, all because of criticism at his work and his behavior at the time.”
Bas also shared this bit of insight revealing that Felix gave no credit to him for his work.
This would be a recurring theme, as Felix slowly revealed his true colors when he couldn’t provide sympathy for various woes. This included a deal he struck with Opium Pulses; Indie Game Battle would be featured on their website as a game in their store and would be advertised by the OP staff in exchange for their mascot character, Opius, being playable in it by April 2017.
It didn’t work out. He never put Opius in the game.
I felt sorry for Opium Pulses being taken advantage of like that, so for the games I made that they published, I created a fun startup screen featuring a depiction of Opius.
In fact, Felix heavily slacked on creating the game. I already mentioned promised modes are still absent, but Felix was so busy with a plethora of other projects he started after creating Indie Game Battle that he viewed it as a side-game that didn’t matter as much – you know, despite containing plenty of popular IPs and potential, as well as being on the freaking Steam store!
Later, I would be on thin ice with Felix by…releasing Missileman Origins. Yeah. On February 2017, the moment he played it, he nitpicked the crap out of it in front of the entire Blob Games Discord server and made sure I had no ability to talk back by having his yes-men fight me over it. After that, he told me in private it “wasn’t that bad” but still felt the need to remove Missileman from being playable for…no reason. He had provided reasons, but they were easily B.S. he improvised on the spot (Not participating in the group enough?? What does that make the creators of Nefarious or Goat Simulator then, for example? They never were in this Skype/Discord server). It took a totally different BGS member to tell me the real reason, but I was still told that Missileman would be brought back in if enough votes were in favor of him. Only problem? They never bothered holding a voting session. As I ranted about this anti-logic, it was then I was booted from the server. Two years of knowing him and establishing connections and friendships, and I get unceremoniously kicked just like that.
Even at that, I wasn’t the last victim thrown under the bus by Felix. “BountyXSnipe“, who is one of the devs that had been participating since 2015 and didn’t even have his character made playable since, was kicked off simply for being able to communicate with previous victims. A friend of his was booted off shortly after that for sticking up for “BountyXSnipe”. Innocent people don’t do this crap. Hilariously, he was a major communicator for inviting developers’ characters into the game.
Also, Felix attempted to lie about Bounty’s removal, as he tends to do when kicking people off.
The cat was finally let out of the bag this September when Felix officially announced that Indie Game Battle is canceled. No more work will be done on it. Nothing that was promised would be fulfilled. All because of the implosion he built up against himself for two years. He threatened and blackmailed contributors by putting their contributions at risk, made false claims in official statements about issues regarding behind the scenes, had shills post positive reviews on Steam, and even attempted to weakly control the damage by lowering the price of Indie Game Battle from $9.99 to $4.99 – you know, instead of giving everyone refunds and making this unfinished travesty free to play or removed from Steam.
As for us victims? We became stronger together, continued onward with our own projects, and learned a valuable lesson: Be careful with who you trust. However, as long as Felix is still trying to scam customers out of their money with this never-to-be-finished game, this case remains unresolved. For the very least, I just hope that anyone reading this would make sure to avoid anything by Blob Games Studio. Developers, please make sure the person you’re working with isn’t a backstabber. There are infamous situations that were caused by such a scenario (Ant Simulator comes to mind), and Indie Game Battle was no different when it came to the damage done.