There is a lesson to be learned from every failure, is what Zack Bell, lead developer of Frog Sord, is quickly realizing. Bell’s game, a Super Meatboy-esque platformer starring a sword-wielding frog has fallen on hard times. Frog Sord, as it exists right now as a playable Alpha, is probably all the world will ever know of the frog and his adventures. Due to a conflict amongst the MECH6 team, Frog Sord development has been scrapped.
What started as a great idea two friends had for a game, quickly evolved into an early prototype which picked up attention and support from players all around the world. Bell quickly found himself picking up additional team members in order to turn Frog Sord into everything he had dreamed it would be. During these early steps of the game’s life, a few mistakes were made that would turn out to be fatal ones.
In short, MECH6 took on investors that they were not prepared to do business with. The necessity of constant feedback to the investors strained the team’s ability to develop, as no one on the team was really prepared for the business side of things. On top of the investors looming over the project, MECH6 made some legal missteps that ended up hemorrhaging the team’s morale, eventually to a point beyond repair.
“If you want to be an independent developer, be an independent developer,” Bell cautions other developers on his personal development blog. “It is called independent for a reason and it should be fairly straight forward and simple.”
Instead of choosing to form a limited liability company or a basic partnership, MECH6 decided to go and file themselves as a corporation thinking that this would streamline things on the investor’s side of things. While this decision complicated the business-end of things even further, it was the lack of signed contracts put in place for the MECH6 team which is what ended up creating the legal stalemate that the team abandoned the game in.
“When you are working with a company, a product, and investors there is money on the line. There are also things like pride and a feeling of ownership that can further deviate a person’s intentions. I’m not going to talk about the internal relation problems that we had or point fingers at anyone for causing the split in our team. I am just going to say that people didn’t get along and that led to business decisions being made.”
Without proper contracts in place, there was no clear indication of who owned what parts of the game. This quickly turned into a standoff between the various team members, no one wishing to make the first move and potentially usher in lawsuits. And so it was decided that the best option, at that point in time, was to just freeze Frog Sord in the carbonite of the internet, release the game as-is, and go their separate ways.
Since that decision, Bell has shown interest in resurrecting Frog Sord if his former teammates give him their approval. He would likely pursue funding through Kickstarter if that was the case.
Frog Sord is available for download through Bell’s blog.