Starbound developer Chucklefish responds to unpaid labour allegations

Starbound developer Chucklefish responds to unpaid labour allegations

Indie developer and publisher Chucklefish has responded to allegations that it repeatedly used unpaid labour during the development of Starbround.

Route 59 Games writer Damon Reece posted on Twitter last week saying that unpaid employees worked on the project for "hundreds of hours" and that there was a "revolving door" of people working without compensation on the game. Reece's claims have been backed up by fellow former Starbound developers Rho Watson and Christine Crossley.  

As of December 2016, Starbound has sold over 2.5m copies.

In a statement to ScreenRant, Chucklefish said that it was both "aware and saddened" by the accusations levelled against it, saying that today it has a much more healthy environment for contributors to its games. 

"During this time both the core crew and community contributors were collaborating via a chat room and dedicated their time for free," the firm said.

"Community contributors were under no obligation to create content, work to deadlines or put in any particular number of hours. Everyone was credited or remunerated as per their agreement.

"It's been almost a decade since Starbound's development first began, and from then Chucklefish has grown considerably into an indie studio that has a strong emphasis on good working practices, providing a welcoming environment for all employees and freelancers.

"Our doors remain open to any related parties who wish to discuss their concerns with us directly.”

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.