Retro-focused developer blames bots, political correctness, and “digital fart ownership” for the company’s financial woes.
Watermelon Games, best known for developing Pier Solar and the Great Architects and most recently Paprium, issued a statement today announcing that the company’s funds had been seized. This news comes just two months after Paprium‘s rocky December 16, 2020 launch, which saw many customers issue refund requests due to substantial shipping delays for both the game and its accompanying Grand Stick III arcade stick. (Full disclosure: my own copy of the game only just arrived after a 7-week shipping hiatus.)
Watermelon hasn’t elaborated on exactly who seized their funds. However, the company has enjoyed a rather rocky relationship with payment processor Paypal over the years. Late last month, visitors to the company’s storefront, WM’s Magical Game Factory, were greeted with a message stating that “payments are currently suspended, delayed response from our online customer service.” Luis Martins, Paprium’s lead artist, attributed this to “people voluntarily creating problems with the current new PayPal account WM has,” by placing and canceling orders.
Yes, I got in contact with WM, and there seems to be people voluntarily creating problems with the current new paypal account WM has. Here is proof that some people are actually screwing everyone else.
— Luis Martins (@XLuis__MartinsX) January 30, 2021
To recover their seized funds, a move which Watermelon’s founder Gwenael “Fonzie” Godde says resulted in Paprium being the “biggest game ever developed, manufactured and distributed for free,” the company has announced plans to sell off their most valuable assets and intellectual properties, including the aforementioned Pier Solar and Paprium, along with a handful of undisclosed AAA Genesis and Super Nintendo titles and hardware including the Grand Stick. GRANDCAB, and more.
You can find the full, unedited statement from Watermelon below:
“Since the announcement and release of PAPRIUM we have been under relentless attacks from a few individuals who worked day and night to have us fail. This has a name: hate, envy, stupidity.
Unfortunately, combined with the cowardize (or opportunity?) of the biggest internet actors, their actions managed to get our funds (once again) seized making PAPRIUM the biggest game ever developed, manufactured and distributed “for free”.
We have continuously, over the last 12 years, manufactured and delivered, always exceeding expectations. We defined and shaped our own market with quality and – although retro – innovative products. Many un-matched even a decade later. Each of our games released are new milestones in the retro gaming industry.
However, with the rise of management by bots, political correctness, quantum computing fabrication, design over function and digital fart ownership combined with the recent taste for mediocrity from various worldwide monopolistic internet actors such as Paypal, Amazon and Google, it seems harder, if not impossible for companies of our size to get paid for our work.
First, we ask each of our customers to keep cool, be bold and hold your options tight until further instructions.
Then, (unlike the last 4 years) we decided to voice our issues publicly and fund our fight by selling our most valuable assets and IP’s, this includes:
– Pier Solar & the great architects
– Three undisclosed AAA games for MegaDrive/Genesis and Super Nintendo
– Injection and toolings for manufacturing MD/GEN, Dreamcast, SNES, SuperFamicom and more.
– Acclaimed GRANDSTICK, GRANDCAB and A-BOARD
– Proprietary Hardware IP’s including undisclosed High-Grade, No-Latency, Multi-Sync, HDMI upscaler.
As a reminder to our customers: Selling our IP’s will not affect your on-going orders may they still require a delivery, we will deliver to you no matter the circumstances, as long as you do not cancel your orders.
We appeal to every journalist to do their job: investigate.
We appeal to everyone to use #LOCUSTERY and make this news spread around.
We appeal to anyone in the video game industry to share this (incredible) business
Even if most of us have other concerns in those pandemic times: Keep faith! Locusts steal, mediocres trolls, others do! Thank you for your understanding and sorry again for the trouble.
#LOCUSTERY #PAYPAL #PAPRIUM”
At the time of this writing, it’s hard to tell what this move means for Watermelon Games’ future. Last December, the company opened pre-orders for a secretive, pre-order exclusive project that they hoped to release in 2021 or 2022. Additionally, this press release makes no mention of the Mega Wire, a planned modem meant to give Paprium online functionality. Only time will tell if these projects are still in the works. But you can rest assured we’ll let you know as soon as the company makes an official statement regarding either of these products.
So, what do you think of Watermelon Games’ current situation? Would you like to see the Genesis-exclusive beat-’em-up Paprium brought to modern platforms? We love to hear what you think. Be sure to sound off in the comments and let us know.