Stardew Valley Developer Speaks About His Relationship With Publisher Chucklefish After Their Compensation Issues

Stardew Valley Developer Speaks About His Relationship With Publisher Chucklefish After Their Compensation Issues
Credit: stardewvalley

Stardew Valley‘s publisher, Chucklefish, ended up with some negative press recently after it was revealed they had used unpaid contributors to help develop the game Starbound, which the studio released back in 2016. The backlash began after the allegations emerged. Today, Stardew Valley‘s developer, Eric Barone, released an official statement on the subject.

Barone, also known as ConcernedApe, has said he was the only person to work on Stardew Valley and that Chucklefish had virtually no role in the game’s development. The only exception being when a Chucklefish contributor assisted with the coding for one multiplayer update for the game. Barone also said he believes in compensating people for their work. As of this writing, there has been no statement from Chucklefish on ConcernedApe’s comments.

The concerns for Chucklefish first began last week. A writer for Starbound, Damon Reece, claimed in a tweet that the company failed to pay its workers for the labor put into the game. (Starbound is an action-adventure sci-fi game that takes place in a procedurally-generated 2D universe.)

“I worked hundreds of hours and wasn’t paid a single cent for it while the company made unbelievable amounts of money off of my labour and that of around a dozen other workers,” Reece wrote. Several other Starbound developers also came forward after Reece’s comments.

Chucklefish did release an official statement following Reece’s accusations. In a highly legalistic statement, the studio claimed that, although they were saddened by the allegations, all developers were credited or compensated according to their original agreements. They also said they have grown considerably since that time and continue to try to deliver fair compensation to their employees.

Furthermore, Chucklefish says that no employee was required to contribute or create content if they didn’t want and that there were no deadlines or requirements for working hours. Many of Starbound‘s developers were working on the game in the hopes of gaining future employment with the company.

Stardew Valley, which first came out in 2016, was initially published by Chucklefish while Eric Barone (ConcernedApe) handled development. The relaxing farm simulator has since gained a great deal of success in the gaming industry and still receives regular substantive updates from its developer.

Since late 2018, ConcernedApe has been self-publishing Stardew Valley on all platforms except for the Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android, which are all still published by Chucklefish. He has made no official comment on whether or not this arrangement will stay in place for the future.