Creditors lay claim to nearly $700,000 in Gazillion assets in bankruptcy case

We named the sad death of Marvel Heroes the greatest MMO disappointment of 2017, and it appears it’s not even over yet. Redditors noticed that on January 4th, three creditors – Secret 6, Playchemy, and Caitlin Capes – filed claim against the assets of Gazillion, or rather, whatever is left to fight over following the company’s apparent collapse last year.

Secret 6 appears to be a multinational game dev studio known best for its art production (Ronald Schaffner is its president), while Playchemy is a mobile development studio. Caitlin Capes’ linkedin shows her as having been an associate producer on Marvel Heroes as well as on the multiplatform VR game Gazillion was reportedly working on. In total, MMO Fallout reports, the three are claiming nearly $700,000 in unpaid debt, the bulk of which is allegedly owed to Playchemy.

I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll defer to the experts on what exactly an “involuntary bankruptcy” filing means:

“An involuntary case against a person is commenced by the filing with the bankruptcy court of a petition under chapter 7 or 11 of this title (1) by three or more entities, each of which is either a holder of a claim against such person that is not contingent as to liability or the subject of a bona fide dispute as to liability or amount, or an indenture trustee representing such a holder, if such noncontingent, undisputed claims aggregate at least $10,000 more than the value of any lien on property of the debtor securing such claims held by the holders of such claims.”

You’ll recall that a representative for Marvel and Disney announced the end-of-2017 closure of the game along with the termination of its partnership with Gazillion back in November, following a disturbing multi-week company silence broken only by documented accusations that the CEO of Gazillion had engaged in “inappropriate conduct” toward female employees. But in fact, the game silently shut down just days later, with the only warning given by anonymous employees who revealed that the company had fired nearly everyone without proper benefits, suggesting that creditors had effectively pulled the plug on the company. A former employee later confirmed the bankruptcy assumption.

Update: Massively OP tipster Meataxe has pointed out something that those who didn’t follow the activities of Gazillion’s execs closely wouldn’t know: Gazillion CEO Dave Dohrmann founded Playchemy prior to his tenure at Gazillion, alongside co-founder Ed Annunziatta and board member Tom Kalinske, who also both worked for Gazillion at one time (Annunziatta as head of “Gazillion Mobile,” Kalinske as Gazillion board chairman). The current relationship between the three men is unclear.
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38 Comments on "Creditors lay claim to nearly $700,000 in Gazillion assets in bankruptcy case"

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Will Adkins

One group is making an attempt to acquire the rights to the game to ensure it doesn’t disappear forever. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t have the same challenges using Marvel characters as Gazillion. A change.org petition to Disney is underway to help encourage them to give a new company a shot. Will be interesting to see where it goes.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/marvel-heroes-rebirth-rpg/x/3720418#/

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Kevin McCaughey

After the latest update, this all sounds very fishy to me.

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Cristiano Diaz

The entire way this was handled by Disney, Marvel and Gazillion has been horrible. Marvel Heroes had its flaws, but it was a solid game and had a very loyal fanbase that spent a lot of money on it (myself included). I am surprised the game itself has not been shopped around to another developer. I don’t know who even owns it at this point, but it seems a total waste to let the game and all of its art assets go to waste.

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Michael

The reason the game died had nothing to do with how good it was / successful it was. It was ultimately because the CEO was a sexual predator and Disney found out.

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Kickstarter Donor

That may be part of the reason, but I don’t think it’s the whole reason. It was no secret that the population on the PC was dropping, that the BUE made it even worse, and that the move to consoles did not pay off the way Gaz was hoping it would.

The CEO’s past probably played a role (though I’m not sure we’ll ever know for sure how much), but I’m betting the game performing poorly did too.

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Michael

I mean, we will never know if the move to consoles paid off cause it didn’t have a chance to even get off the ground. Game seemed fine to me though, I think it is pretty easy to think a game is in decline without any real proof.

They even had loads of content lined up still. They would not have had that much content lined up if they were not doing well enough to support it financially.

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BDJ

You are high. Did you even play the game? The game was faaaaaar from fine on PC. It was most definitely in decline. Helen Keller could tell you that.

Its easy to say “they had content lined up”. Why in the world would they let the PC version go without months and months of content if they had it ready?

The game was going down the tube well before the CEO fiasco. There have been articles where employees were quoted as saying that it was due to close down months earlier, but they cut deals to try to pull out of the red… again, long before the CEO issue. The CEO issue finally gave Disney the justification to pull the plug.

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SirUrza

Its easy to say “they had content lined up”. Why in the world would they let the PC version go without months and months of content if they had it ready?

Because there was nothing lined up for PC. Some of the closing revelations the devs provided on the unofficial-official discord was that the PC license was expiring while they were developing console. They had all but given up on PC and then last minute it got renewed.

PC neglect happened because they literally considered it dead. They weren’t working on it and likely many of the decision and design choices made for “Marvel Heroes Omega” were made with the console in mind.

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Kevin McCaughey

Yea, there are definitely questions to be answered about this. I doubt we will get answers though, unfortunately.

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Bruno Brito

Wait a fucking second: The old company owes the CEO of the old company and part of the new company, money?

What in the name of hell?!

Is this some new money laundry scheme, or something? What the hell is this.

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Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

Many company CEOs and execs own parts of companies that own parts of the company they work for, or own stock in their company which is pretty much the same thing.

It’s not illegal and it never will be. It only seems odd to you because you’re not involved in businesses or corporations.

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Bruno Brito

So, let me see if i get it: This company who owns quite a lot in people being fired without their due payments owns 700k bucks to the former CEO who pretty much drove the company into the ground.

So, you’re saying to me i have to understand this as being something allowed?

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Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

“So, you’re saying to me i have to understand this as being something allowed?”

No, you don’t have to understand it. I was just letting you know that it is allowed, legal, and not at all unusual.

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Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

CEO’s get away with heaps of shit, ours does insider trading and no one lifts an eye lid.

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Kevin McCaughey

Oooh – what company do you work for? :)

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Kevin Smith

I have a little bit of a hard time grasping how a company (Playchemy) created by the CEO of Gazillion could file for anything. If the CEO still has anything to do with the company as in major stock holder it should be thrown out as it would look like he was trying to recoup money from his own failure. This is one for the books. Help destroy a company but make sure the company owes you money at the end so you can take what little was left.

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kelvar

Kind of reminds me of the plot to the Producers!

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drgreenhoe

Another reminder that investing is a risky business. Just ask Landmark investors.

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Bryan Correll

I don’t know this for a fact, but I strongly suspect that the three named parties are not investors, but are rather seeking payment for contracted work.

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Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

That was my impression as well — they’re looking for payment promised and owed.

plannick
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plannick

seems strange (as a non business person) an outsourced company owned by same boss has higher priority to the money than direct employees..

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Bryan Correll

They don’t. With the exception of secured creditors (where the owed amount is tied to specific assets as with a mortgage) wages owed for work in the 180 days prior a bankruptcy filing have top priority to the extent of something like $14k per employee. Anything above that amount receives the same priority as other unsecured credit.

If the company’s assets are insufficient to fully pay higher priority claims (and one suspects this may be the case with Gazillion) the priority payments will be prorated and lower priority claims are SOL.

The filings by these particular people/groups don’t ensure them any higher status in receiving payments, but the action does force Gazillion into bankruptcy proceedings which they apparently have been dragging their feet on.

Edit: Made less wall-of-texty.

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Leo

pretty sure the CEO of Gazillion, the one that drove the company into the ground, is part of Playchemy

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Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

POUND OF FLESH.jpg
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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Sharks are in the water…won’t be pretty :(

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Sally Bowls

These sort of issues were why I never bought into the vehement belief that Disney should have spent money to keep Gaz open. If Disney had given Gaz money, it seems to me it could easily have been sucked up by creditors, rather than gone towards giving MH a more dignified wake.

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Bryan Correll

Agreed. There is no way Disney could have justified throwing cash into that rat hole.