Pathea Games has formally responded to claims that it has not paid its voice talent for work done on My Time at Portia.
Pressure has been building since a post (thanks, GI.biz) on the indie game's Steam pages outlined concerns that the developer had not properly compensated its voice cast despite a successful Kickstarter campaign and Early Access sales.
"As a voice-actor who has worked with numerous indie-developers, I understand how hard it can be and that they are on a budget and I understand it's a learning curve. All I'm asking is they take some of that respect and apply it to their voice-actors too," wrote "Meezy" in October 2018, a voice actor who has not been directly affected by the issue, but wanted to bring it to the attention of players.
"The reason I am speaking on behalf of them is BECAUSE I am not involved with the project and the voice-actors WANT to be part of this project and we can lose our parts and potential pay-checks just by mentioning our concerns, it has happened several times before. I am not familiar with this developer but I am explaining how most indie voice-actors feel when it comes to speaking up on issues in general, regardless of who they work for."
In a response posted yesterday, the developer disputed that it had been ignoring queries from its voice talent, but acknowledged that "disconnection and difficulty in communication" lead to a "lack of clarity and explanation", particularly as the increase in demand for voice work saw a rise from "11 voice actors to 60+".
"We are still an inexperienced and ambitious studio, and did not have a solid structure in place to maintain adequate links to our actors and maintanance [sic] thereof, and this caused several issues.
"During the time we've been developing MTAP and been working with voice actors, we have sent out countless payments, and have listened and adjusted our methods and systems several times when we discovered that something didn't work," wrote "Luminaire". "Did we make errors? Yes, we did, and we are not proud of them. But did we ignore them and leave people out in the cold? Absolutely not. We have attempted to address every case that was brought to our attention, and have always been ready to fix any errors on our part."
The statement goes on to say the studio spent the three months since Meezy's post establishing "direct contact with [its] actors".
"We communicated with what actors were willing to come forward and share their feelings, and in turn, we concluded that periodic payment would be a better course of action than what we had plotted prior. Communication increased, payments were made, but it still wasn't enough."
"Right now, our top priority is making sure everyone is met with what they were expecting, rather than what we had in mind," the statement concludes. "We have grown attached to these voice actors, and are disheartened that we seem to be doing everything wrong. We wanted to include voice actors because we know how important they are for bringing something to life, and we wished to be as fair as possible to them, and show them how important they were.
"We are just simply an inexperienced studio that did not understand how to manage this best. In the future, we will be signing on a professional vo company to handle these things for us. It just didn't work for anyone."