Interzone CEO Marty Brickey responds

Last week we published a letter from Tim Colwill outlining the approaching collapse and possible liquidation of Perth developer Interzone Games. Interzone global CEO Marty Brickey has made contact with Kotaku Australia and offers what he feels are important corrections to the story.

We should note this was received mid last week, so Brickey responded quickly to the claims. Due to some email delays this message was not received until Sunday.

The story has progressed since we first shared Colwill's insider perspectives. Mike Turner was on site during the later half of last week, locks have been changed, and the Interzone Games offices are now off limits to staff. According to stories running in The West Australian and WA Business News, staff have been picketing the offices.

We have sent a number of follow up requests to Brickey based on the below information, as well as the story in progress.

——-

After being directed to your article I felt it was necessary to offer some corrections.

First, I never said and have evidence that your source Tim knew before this article was published that it is and has always been our intention to settle out tax debt and Super in Perth.

Secondly, a big part of our tax problem began when the payroll company we were using there went bankrupt after it had already deducted over $450k in taxes and never paid them to the ATO.

Third, Big Collision is our European operations arm and is ran from the US it is not a studio and does not have 1 employee.

Fourth, Mike and Greg also have deferred their own pay in the interest of the company and have more outstanding funds owed to them than anyone one else.

Next, IZ has sunk millions of foreign dollars into the Perth economy, we were initially told that there would be much more than the $500k made available to us in R&D and other grants but they never came to fruition.

Next, IZ has not received millions in funding. And the list goes on.

Let me be clear that to this day we are very close to closing a major round of funding and have always had the intention of making Perth whole through proper channels if in fact we make a full exit from Australia, and in fact we have suspended operations there until a resolution can be met.

The last 18 months have seen extremely difficult times for a lot of companies, there are plenty of fortune 500 companies that could be singled out. We have always worked in the mutual best interest of the entire organization, which is why our employees have stock and still have the opportunity to benefit – which is very rare in this industry. I believe InterZone will succeed in launching its game and it will do so with every individual that has ever been a part of the organization being properly taken care of.

Best Regards Marty Brickey CEO InterZone

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Comments

    We have been "close to closing a major round of funding" for the past 18 months, Marty, when is it going to happen already? Perhaps instead of continuous promises regarding the funds that are coming "next week" or "the week after that" or "tomorrow, I promise" you should stop wasting your breath lying and use it to close that deal already.

    Also, I don't seem to remember having any shares. Are they coming next week along with the over $8000 in wages and entitlements you owe me?

    I'd also like to point out if you're reading this, Marty, that I followed your instructions on getting personal effects back from the office and have not yet gotten any response whatsoever regarding my items. I guess I should've been used to the total lack of communication from your side by now, but I would appreciate it if you actually replied when people follow your own procedures to claim items that they should be allowed to walk into the office and get themselves.

    Dear Marty,

    I'm glad to see that you have read the Kotaku article from last week and that it concerned you enough to reply. This is the first time you've had a chance to hear our side of the story directly, and I hope it made you pause and think about how we all feel, rather than dismissing our response as "scuttlebutt and sabotage" as you did a few days ago. I hope you can see that we have legitimate grievances that deserve a response, and that this letter will be followed up by something more substantial than your usual empty promises.

    I say empty, because (as you well know) we have heard all this many times before over the past 18 months. At first your messages to us did make us feel a little more hopeful and secure. However, the human brain is very sensitive to patterns, and we quickly saw that nothing you promised ever came true, at least not within the time frame you promised, and never in the amounts that you described. Our studio heads became used to giving us the "Marty version" of what was happening, and then following that up with their own version based on reading between the lines and talking to others who had a firmer grasp on reality.

    Do you remember the day that you organised a teleconference with the whole studio so you could break some exciting news to us? I could hear in your voice that you really thought you were giving us some great news, something about how our troubles would be over in the next four to six weeks. But we had heard all that before, so when you finished your speech we just sat and looked at each other for a while, wondering what you expected us to say. Finally, after a long awkward pause, someone at the back said "Yeah!" and clapped, so we gave a half-hearted round of applause, said thank yous and goodbyes, and walked out. Of course nothing you said came true.

    I'm not saying we didn't see anything good happen. The publishing contract in Europe was a great morale booster, and we were eventually caught up in net pay. But then we got behind again, and as time went by our super debts grew, and the chances of actually shipping a game to our publisher diminished. More people left, good, important people who we couldn't easily function without. This was soul destroying.

    A little over a week ago we were told that money was definitely coming through. We had a transaction code, which had always been a reason start planning and ramping up production again. We were told we had a very short time left to deliver a closed beta build. We were asked if we thought we could do this. Those of us who were in the office looked at each other, and everyone seemed to have the same hopeless look on their faces. Can we really do this with only the people we have left? But our response was "Well, we've come this far, why give up now?" We were ready to do what we had to do. Only days later we were told that the money hadn't arrived, and it wasn't ever going to. Not long after that, Mike Turner showed up to change the locks and copy our source code and take it away so someone else could finish the game. Now we are all banned from Technology Park, even though many of use still have property locked in the offices, one of us has a girlfriend who works there, and others had been intending to interview for another job at another company located there.

    I hope you can understand why your words aren't enough, and nor are the B class shares (which only some employees own, not all) in Interzone Holdings. Nor are promises that we will all be taken care of, when we have seen how our co-workers in Guangzhou, China and Sao Paulo, Brazil have been treated. Actions, however, would be welcome, and would speak much louder than just words.

    Not to doubt you Marty, but if Big Collision isn't a studio, then why is it hiring the following:

    "Senior Systems Programmer"
    "Web Developer"
    "Associate Producer"
    "IT Technologist" ?

    Why does an Operations arm need a "Senior Systems Programmer" - wouldn't it need more things like QA and Server Maintenance people?

    The Advert on Digital Hub asks people with any kind of games experience to apply?

    "Third, Big Collision is our European operations arm and is ran from the US it is not a studio and does not have 1 employee."

    Thats a lie. Greg Chadwell admits his an employee.
    As per his Employer info section on FB:

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000481957185&ref=search&sid=629665425.1481839265..1

    What marketing genius thought that 'Big Collision" is a good name for games company?
    A 2 year old perhaps? No ..more likely someone who's mommy always told them how clever they are, and took it to heart.
    Why, you might as well have called it 'yellow truck' or 'loud noise'.
    whoever is responsible Probably thinks they are some kind of awesome left/right brain extraordinaire.(Fail)

    Stick to business. Oh wait ..you suck at that as well.

    I'm glad Marty read and took time to respond, but sad to see that all he felt the need to do was list corrections.

    To the first point, actions speak louder than words. You can say it has always been the intention to settle out tax debt and super in Perth but actions last week say different. Spending money to remove items and work from the studio here like flights, hotels, rental cars, locksmiths lawyers and BigWorld support. This is spending money that could have been used to pay debts. You can claim this is done to finish the game and get us what we're owed, but looks more like gambling with creditor's money.

    Point 2, so there's a reason IZ is 450k behind and that's nice. What's the excuse for being behind the other $1 Mil+? How about all the money that's owed to staff?

    3rd point is nice, are we to believe the company setup and website was done for free? Since no papers was ever shown to Perth it feels like a dodgy company that can get investments and spend it without caring about our claims.

    4th We're owed money and we all need it for our own reasons if they have the ability to defer money owed that's great, but most of us don't have that option.

    Point 5 - IZ has spent millions of dollars running a game studio for several years, is that bad? Next time try stopping before all the money runs out instead of after.

    It's nice that you point out how operations were suspended here in Perth. It would have been nice if you checked with Fair Work Australia to see if suspending staff without pay is even legal here, cause when we asked they said it wasn't.

    The rest of the response, it's been said before too many times. Staff remember hearing the same promises from you personally in December in 2008. Nothing came through then, or any of the other times it was promised throughout 2009. Trust goes both ways, and many people here still had trust up until the very end. How can you expect any trust from employees here after IZ's actions over the last week.

    What is this? Some kind of bitch forum for people to complain about their ex-employee?

    If thats the case then Foxtel sucks dick. Fuck you Foxtel...

    I have no idea and this is just conjecture but it wouldn't surprise me if it was true reading this story but it sounds like InterZone recieved no money for a Europe deal because Big Collision was the one that recieved all the money and all future money because they are writing IZ off.

    Why would you need to setup a seperate arm of a company and have no employees in it?

    I call major dodgy activity.

    Seems Marty's not a very popular chappy at the moment.

    If I were you guys I wouldn't be sitting around posting poison comments.. I'd be having a serious round table talkies about how we were going to put Marty's balls well and truly through the wringer.

      Zap, you might be in for a bit of a surprise on whose balls are going to be put through the ringer. You all want your day in court and i can guarantee your going to get it.

        lol. Is that a promise? Mr "Insider". You seem a little more perturbed about this than most...

        Interzone Employees have released video of their actions to try and stop former US management from stealing IP from their studio. Sadly, they were unsuccessful, but this video is pretty awesome, and should serve as a lesson that Aussie game devs shouldn't just roll over and take it when dodgy American businessmen try to fuck them over.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYyr_lX98Bw

          Full video here also:

          http://www.vimeo.com/9499382

        "Insider",
        You should be aware that you are self-incriminating. If you are an "insider", that would mean you work for the company. Hostility toward unsettled accounts is only going to bite you in the ass when you go to court. You're in the wrong, so you need to shut up or you'll make the general public aware of the actual situation.

    "...your going to get it"? I'm no forensic writing analyst but I'd take a bet who Insider is.

      A coward.

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