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Interzone Games

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/06/10 - 11:53 AM Permalink

I think there may be a lot of interest in whether Bigworld has had an active role in the removal of the game assets from Australia, as has been alleged.
If this is indeed the case would their owners care to explain how they reconcile this with their repeated claims of being supporters of the local industry?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/06/10 - 2:42 PM Permalink

If (and it is just and if) BW had a contract to do XYZ for Interzone (or whomever the contract may legally transfer to), they still have an obligation to do their job as long as IZ have fulfilled their part of the contract with BW. It doesn't matter if it now "reconciles" with their claims of local industry support, a contract is a contract (or should be). Just like the one between employer and employee should be followed too ;(

Unfortunately, irrespective of what BW may (or may not) think of Interzone and how badly they might (or might not) feel for the ex IZ employees, they don't really have a choice, lest they face legal action themselves for breach of contract.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/07/10 - 8:06 AM Permalink

Typically middleware contracts do not allow for transfer without the agreement of the vendor. I have yet to see a contract which compels a vendor to assist in the removal of all intellectual property produced by a developer.
Seriously this whole sorry affair is shameful.
The impact on the employees, the Perth industry and the perception of games developers at a federal level, is profound.
The ex IZ guys have been great in their efforts. We should all support them 100%.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/06/10 - 3:33 PM Permalink

While it's certainly not good that all of the Aussie guys lost their jobs over this earlier in the year, at least all of their hard work isn't going to waste, and the game may see the light of day, even if in all liklihood they won't be credited for it.

In news which is bound to agitate many ex-Interzone Games Perth staff, it looks like the game which was developed mostly at the Perth studio is hitting a new milestone in development.

Independent researcher / developer, Nick Lowe, has posted on his blog about Interzone Futebol reaching a closed beta status. As you may have heard, in early February this year, the bigwigs at Interzone saw fit to lock staff out of the Australian Government Grant-funded Perth studio and run off with the content which staff had diligently worked on while still being owed an extraordinary amount in wages and superannuation.

The plan was to complete the BigWorld Tech-based MMO soccer game at a new Dublin based studio called Big Collision Games, and it looks like they're making some progress. Interzone Futebol has been rebranded as Online Soccer Champions, and as spotted by Nick, they're using the same trailer for their launch that Interzone Games Perth released back in August 2009.

Unfortunately, it seems Interzone Games have managed to escape unscathed after the whole Interzone Perth incident, still owing $1.5m in outstanding debt (some $500,000 to staff and $1 million to the Australian Tax Office).

For the report, head on over to Nick's blog...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 1:11 PM Permalink

This is amazing. What a ballsy effort by Mike Turner. I wish the best for the ;aid off employees at Interzone. And much like them, i was laid off from a local studio too and know exactly how it feels for terms of employment and pay to be stuffed around in and endless loop.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 2:29 PM Permalink

Fucking hell. It's amazing the heavyhandedness goes into petty theft, but if you're a corporate criminal dealing in 7 figure sums of money, the government will roll out the red carpets, lube up, bend over, and won't even ask for a reacharound while you fuck them.

I hope some justice prevails here but so far it seems the ATO really don't give a shit. I know in the Fuzzyeyes cases the ombudsman was completely powerless even *before* the CEO fled the country.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 2:54 PM Permalink

This situation is unbelievable. I feel for the IZ staff who can't even get into the office to get their personal belongings. It's just crazy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 3:28 PM Permalink

Forgive me for not quite following this, but can someone tell me what laws have actually been broken here and by who?
(ie. what could Mike Turner et al actually be charged with?)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 3:39 PM Permalink

sorry..... just to add.... if the company paid for the equipment and paid for people to write code, then surely they own the equipment and own the code?

I appreciate that people haven't been paid, but isn't that is a seperate issue to who owns the right to the code?

I am also not on the side of the company by the way, I just want to get my head around what laws have actually been broken here.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 3:57 PM Permalink

ahh , they didnt pay for it,
thats the point. Removing IP when the company is failing and having been issued a warning from the ato, BEFORE it go into administration is dogdy as hell. especialy owing soo much tax and wages and super.........(see the link)
its like building a boat for someone and they jump in and sail it to another country saying thanks.
while you stand there with hands in pockets without being paid for it! Oh, and the guy who hired you gets you illegaly banned from your boat shed while he drives off with your boat.

its fail.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 3:40 PM Permalink

What a nightmare. I'd suggest that the IZ employees should get legal advice on their options.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 3:44 PM Permalink

Jeez. How can a company be allowed to go into so much debt,owing so much super annuation and wages!!!!!!!! the ATO should have done something about this since they should have known this company was in trouble first..
this just proves that the more money you have ( and dont pay) the more you can get away with, dealing with our useless govt. departments.
What do the police do? nothin? you said in the video that legaly you were not terminated, so you have a right to be on the premises right? didnt the cops do something about that?

Best of luck to Interzone guys....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/02/10 - 3:07 PM Permalink

Yeah, I hear Transmission owe the ATO almost a million bucks too, not to mention all the employees who are owed entitlements and super. According to public record, Trickstar was registered 2 months before Transmission folded, ready in waiting for the smooth transfer of projects over to the shiny new company.

Submitted by Blitz on Fri, 26/02/10 - 10:03 AM Permalink

But at least transmission actually terminated the employment of it's employees so they could access GEERS to claim their entitlements, which gets most employees everything they're owed except super (just takes a while). It seems in interzones case, the employees haven't been officially terminated which means they can't even access GEERS or other support services that are available for unemployed people (dole etc.) which is a real arsehole thing to do. One can only assume that interzone have done this because shutting the company down/terminating all it's employees will cause extra legal/financial problems for them... They would either have to pay the employees their entitlements or declare insolvency, which would mean putting all their assets (including the futebol code/art etc.) into the hands of the insolvency practitioners, which is obviously what they're trying to avoid by removing their assets from the country before shutting shop.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/03/10 - 4:49 PM Permalink

crashed, burned and ripped off their transmission games employees. Why do these band of managers deserve to start with a clean slate at trickstar? Work under their business model with caution.... in fact dont work their or offer your services at all because same thing will happen...

Pheonix Company - 'A company that rises from the ashes'

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 4:10 PM Permalink

I don't agree with the actions of the Interzone management, but the phrase "the previous 18 months of which were completed without payment" could be a little misleading.

To the best of my knowledge, staff were "partially paid" because they still received (albeit often late and irregularly) their "take home" salaries. However, they were definitely not "fully paid" because the company did not make superannuation payments (which comprise 9% of total staff remuneration) or severance payments (leave entitlements and the usual 4 weeks notice). Moreover, the company very recently (within the last 3 weeks) failed to make any payments at all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 4:30 PM Permalink

make that 6 weeks owing*
plus lot of staff were not being paid at their full rate of pay for over a year.
plus they were not paid gross but net, racking up a nice bit of income tax outstanding on the side.
plus they have not been terminated, so no letter of separation so people can get benefits in between jobs.
plus , technically they are still on the books!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 4:34 PM Permalink

But the fact that people weren't paid doesn't automatically mean everything those people did they suddenly own, surely?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 5:08 PM Permalink

I believe what happens is the company owns the IP and could sue anyone that attempted to steal or get in the way of the "directors" doing what they want with it.

The staff can sue their "former" employer for unpaid wages, benefits etc.

One possible exclusion to this is if their were contractors there and part of the contract states that ownership of work performed does not transfer until payment is made.

Even then though, the police could do nothing other than what they did, which was allow the rightful tenant (or owner I don't know) unfettered access to their own building. Unfortunately, the police can't just take the average Joe's word for things and even if they had evidence that wages were not paid, the police would have done nothing to stop Marty.

No work visa for Marty? Not a police issue.

Unfortunately the wheels of bureaucracy turn very, very slowly and sometimes people take advantage of that.

Out of interest, does anyone know if the transmission guys have been paid yet?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 5:59 PM Permalink

This wasn't Marty, the CEO of Interzone. This was Mike Turner. He was formerly a director, but when he entered the country to take the IP he had no proof of even being an employee of the company. A day later, after his first attempt to grab the IP failed, he was suddenly VP of Business Operations. There is a fairly reasonable suspicion that he wasn't in the country on a business visa when he grabbed the IP. But all it took for him to get the police and the management of the building on side was waving around a bit of paper.

The whole point of the video was just to document what he was doing. It is not necessarily the case that he was doing all this illegally, but as someone else said, it is dodgy as hell that he would take the IP when the company is on the verge of being wound up by the ATO and owes $1.5 million in taxes, wages and super.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 7:21 PM Permalink

Sorry Mike, not Marty.

To be honest, sadly, I think the only benefit of this vid is for future people that might deal with these hacks. It gives them fair warning. The only other possibility is that it shames them into action (not likely)...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 7:25 PM Permalink

I think this video proves that shame is not an emotion they even remotely understand.

As for Marty - in the same breath as saying he has made paying off debts his top priority (a story IZ Employees heard for over a year), in the same breath he threatens all manner of legal action against anyone trying to pursue those debts.

Shame is not a part of their vocabulary.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/02/10 - 9:53 AM Permalink

Wonder if the ATO has issued Director Penalty notices with regards unpaid tax. Would they take a really dim view of an attempt to spirit the only remaining assets of the company out of the country. How will this affect teh attempts to recover monies paid out under GEERS as well?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/10 - 2:24 PM Permalink

Haha, oh shit, this is gold. I arrived far too late to the party, but I'm deeply saddened to read all of what has transpired and the impacts on my fellow employees, but am over the moon to see the trio of Marty, Greg and Mike have their names dragged through the mud - and duly so!

Those three have the collective business nous of two Tony Robbin's seminars and a "Dummies Guide to Managing" book between 'em. They were, and still are not fit to run a business or give direction to others. Interzone was a failed (and elongated) attempt to start an overnight studio and then sell the half-baked IP to someone else. This much was transparent and while I may have cottoned on sooner, I can guarantee everyone else in the studio picked it up fairly quickly.

I can't possibly quantify everyone's reasons for staying, but I know everyone got something out of it. You're all ridiculously talented and I was so often left in awe of your mad skillz. It was an absolute pleasure working with every single one of you and I was honoured to have you as my colleagues.

Lots of love,

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/02/10 - 10:44 AM Permalink

I can't say that I'm surprised. I can't say that this will make much difference. Maybe these guys will have it tough in the future in trying to do the same thing again. Maybe. But game development is full of these guys running studios. When one mess comes to and end, they take the money (and/or IP) and run. Then they start all over again in creating a new mess.

But still, nice to see some hard evidence being brought forth. Makes it harder for people to justify or falsify what has happened -- I only wish more Australian studios and their management had such scrutiny when they fell over; as they were just as bad or even worse ;).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/02/10 - 7:18 PM Permalink

Employees are not terminated - so that they do not receive benefits - could this be another good shag between business and ATO/Gov departments?

Hypothetically wiring, would it be a benfit, in real life, not on the paper that Australian laws are witten on, if the former and/or not so former employees took some 'backup copies' of all the Intelectual Property - and setup their own new company?

If the origiginal company is broke, then it is unlikely to have the resources to pursue this in any legal arena. Even if they do, they will have to go via the legal avenues = slow, costly and they have a clear risk that they might loose! Especially if employees who created the product did not receive fair consideration (pay) for their work. (breach of contract).

In that case any so called contract may be ruled void - and so the property is not leagally owned by the (failed?) com[pany. More liklely than not the wroteres/creators will have a good claim to ownership.

In any case, I'd like to see a so called excutive do that [midnight raid] to a mining or trucking company. No doubt if employees caught him they would find a few more good uses for a nice big fat video camera (wonder if it will still record in a tight dark place).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/02/10 - 6:30 PM Permalink

I know nothing of Australian law but it seems a quite complicated situation. There is a multinational, apparently not based in Australia. They paid some amount of money to people in Australia. It seems that they do not have enough money to finish the project with top quality people in Australia, and a sudden million dollar judgement would wreck the company (it seems, I know nothing about all this).

Then, while everyone is saying how shady and all it is, it seems that by this man's actions at least they have the possibility of finishing the project and making enough money to pay those people. Whereas that would not be the case if half of it was auctioned off and then got stopped with lawsuits.

Having experienced the not getting paid thing enough times I can say that you should just quit when someone tells you they can't pay. It just isn't worth it. But if you follow it through to the bare end, gritting your teeth, you know something heavy will go down. The guy should maybe have discussed the issue earlier but then again maybe that would have made it impossible to finish the project. Not sure if any laws were broken but in fact, if he was or is VP of operations then it was his company's IP. I'm not so sure any laws were broken at all, in which case a lot of slander was done. It would seem to be an issue for arbitration (discussions with lawyers) with the other Interzone companies, the Australian investors and the new outfit. My guess is, if you worked for them in Australia, you should gather a bunch of likeminded coworkers and demand the full payment for your work from the people who are remaining in Australia waiting with lawyers to go after slander or so they say. You will get your money back quickest that way. Or, the whole company's workers could band together and hire some lawyers, and go after the other parts of Interzone. Though that would make more sense to do after it launches and makes some money...

In the continuing saga of the Interzone debacle, Interzone employees have just released footage of a former Interzone manager attempting to unlawfully retrieve i.p from the Perth game studio containing the Interzone Futebol content and assets that the employees had worked on, the previous 18 months of which were completed without payment.

Last week, Mike Turner flew in from the U.S with the aim of obtaining the Interzone Futebol content and bringing it back home. He attempted to sneak into the offices at night expecting little to no confrontation, however, it seems he was caught red handed by staff.

Between February 10th and February 12th, Employees of Perth-based Interzone Games attempted to prevent a former manager from looting the office of Intellectual Property ahead of an Australian Taxation Office foreclosure of the business.

To this date, no current staff at Interzone have received notification of their termination. It is illegal under Australian Workplace Law to "suspend" employees without pay.

For a longer version of the footage embedded above, please click here...

Mike Turner Confronted by Interzone Employees

Mike Turner Confronted by Interzone Employees from Ring Mod on Vimeo.

On February 10th, 2010, Mike Turner arrived on the Premises of Interzone Pty., Perth. Minutes after he asked the producer in the office to take part in removal of intellectual property from the office (the Producer resigned on the spot), he came in to try and convince Interzone Employees to assist him. They were ready for him, with a camera, and a list of questions pertaining to outstanding payroll, superannuation/pension pay and tax debt, and how he and Marty Brickey / Greg Chadwell intended to resolve these issues.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 7:57 PM Permalink

A couple of inaccuracies I would like to correct for the record. Officially Interzone Pty Ltd has not closed, and staff that have not yet resigned are technically still employed. Staff were not fired or made redundant by Mike Turner as that would trigger paperwork and termination entitlements that the company cannot or will not produce. Staff are banned from the premises so cannot turn up to do their duties as current employees.

The notion that staff are "suspended" is a farce. You cannot be lawfully suspended unless you are fully paid up to date, and I also think you can only be suspended on full pay. Staff are 6 weeks behind on pay and were told that it would be suspension without pay. When this was requested in writing (in order to take to the appropriate agencies) with the reasons for the suspension clearly stated, it was refused by Mike Turner.

Mike worked with a server engineer contracted from BigWorld all day Friday to copy all the source code and assets from the Perth servers. BigWorld were notified by current & former employees in advance that they were likely to be aiding in unlawful activity but they chose to continue on regardless. I hope they were paid in advance, because if not, I doubt they will receive any payment. Note Interzone has or did have a large debt to BigWorld outstanding for about 18 months.

I can confirm the authenticity of the report quoted from our friends in China. The date is incorrect though - the China studio was closed unexpectedly in Nov *2008*.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 8:09 PM Permalink

I would like to add to this that Interzone staff secured photographic and video evidence of what was stated above.

It should also be pointed out that on Thursday, the WA Department of Commerce were in support of the actions of staff trying to prevent theft of these assets - as they had a $500k vested interest in them. Somehow by Friday they'd changed their tune, and the WA Department of Commerce banned Interzone Employees from setting foot on Technology Park (a vast area) indefinitely. Yes, you read this correctly - a WA Taxpayer funded department, declared it illegal for Taxpayers / Lawful employees to set foot on a facility they were lawfully still employed at - that was paid for with their Tax dollars. Apparently this was done to stop the staff from preventing a foreign company from stealing and removing from the country Intellectual Property that the Department itself had a commercial interest in. Every single Australian, and particularly West Australian should be absolutely disgusted by the implications of the actions of the department in this case.

If anyone from WA Dept. of Commerce is reading this - I'd like to personally assure you that it is the intent of most IZ staff to make the Department accountable for their actions - and every individual who took part in this farce will be asked to answer for themselves, from the low level grunt, right up to Minister Troy Buswell himself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 8:39 PM Permalink

Good luck, it sounds like a whole bunch of people from a whole bunch of organisations have a whole bunch of justice heading their way.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 10:30 PM Permalink

You guys got fucked even harder than the Fuzzyguys. I hope some justice comes from this. That ABC report might be a helpful push.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/02/10 - 4:22 AM Permalink

From what friends tell me about this case - it could actually bring down the WA State Government.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 15/02/10 - 9:15 PM Permalink

I highly doubt this. A few Government agencies might get egg on their faces, and a few of their employees might get the sack or be investigated, but to say it could bring down the entire Government is a bit of a stretch.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 15/02/10 - 11:19 PM Permalink

I choose to believe the first guy. This WILL bring the government down!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/02/10 - 8:10 AM Permalink

If its close to an election it will be bad press, so I think this is justified and true.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by souri on Tue, 16/02/10 - 1:02 PM Permalink

Interzone CEO has responded to the claims made last week, from Kotaku AU..

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

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/02/10 - 1:07 PM Permalink

Well, I can't comment on this particular situation, but I do know that we had probs when a payroll company went under as well. We paid our tax to them, they didn't pay it to the ATO. We were responsible...

Having said that, if that put them in trouble and they were trading while insolvent (not saying they were), they should not have continued to wrack up more debt.

I hope all staff and creditors get their funds. With interest?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/02/10 - 11:34 PM Permalink

... we are very close to closing a major round of funding ...

This is what Marty was saying 14 months ago, when payments to staff started being delayed:

From: Marty Brickey
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 10:47 PM
To: IZ-All
Subject: updates

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update heading into Christmas. Things
with our VC are going well and progressing nicely. We have now outlined the
general terms and finalized the amount for the deal that will total $15
million USD. The in-depth diligence will begin January 5th, and we expect to
receive our first round of funds from the VC by February 7th.

The bridge loan to get us through that point has been tough. Private funds
and hard lending is very difficult to get right now in the US. I finally did
manage to close a small amount yesterday and will be tracking this and
expediting it to Perth. It should cover two pay periods and get us close to
getting caught up. I have my final meeting on Monday for a bridge that would
get us the rest of the way through January. The terms have been agreed to on
this and we are just going over the guarantees and details of the notes, so I
feel this deal is 95% done and we should have the funds by the end of next
week .

I hope this finds everybody well and enjoying a great Holiday.

Best Regards,

Marty Brickey

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/10 - 1:06 PM Permalink

holy crap !!!!! Hey fuzzyeyes dudes, does that letter 2 posts up look familiar ?! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

We got one of those every couple of weeks!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/10 - 9:33 PM Permalink

Here's a similar email all fuzzyeyes employees received a year ago when the first salary payments started to miss and we were all worried sick of whats going to happen.

Note: Southpeak was our publisher at the time, Hollywood deal was a carrot on a stick our CEO used to entice us (no one believed it but it showed how fucking dumb our CEO thought we were and how little respect he had for us), and Felix is the supposed investor that was going to "come to our rescue". Suffice to say we never saw him in person, so he could be felix the cat for all we knew.

The letter:

No result, as they "walk out" of the meeting with anger. However, we
should be able to come to a conclusion in next 72 hrs.

Movie budget is set. Should be able to make an announcement to public
sometime late Aug. And royalties payment scheme has also identified,
so we should be able to receive a major chunk of dollars once we
announce the movie deal.

Done the initial transaction for bank costs. Everything is on
schedule, and we are waiting for Felix to provide us the new business
detail from his end. The new investment company is "Felix Global
Holding". We should see the money in our bank really soon.

Ill back in Brisbane Sunday. Will give you guys detail update next monday.


Wei-Yao Lu,


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/10 - 9:42 PM Permalink

Haha... sad truth is that email is true. Sonny was really a man child, that's why I loved him.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/02/10 - 10:20 PM Permalink

If we kept all the letters that were posted up with promises of our wages coming in, we'd have an encyclopedia dudes. An awesome broken engrish encyclopedia.

The sad thing really is, these people WILL get away with doing what they do. No matter how hard you want to burn them, they WILL get away with it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/02/10 - 10:42 AM Permalink

In the Australian games industry. Cowboys, losers and people who think that they can work business. FAIL.

Worked for Fuzzyeyes and they had all the opportunity in the world is take on projects that were more realistic and targeted to more appealing platforms, and still create fun, interesting games. But Wei-Yao Lu was always talking about making it big, and wanting hordes of developers working in his company. Meanwhile, the rest of the development world was starting to make a shift to more realistic development formulas.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/02/10 - 5:59 AM Permalink

Guys be very careful. Emails sent by Companies are Compnay property and they can sue you; the Dude from the US is obviously tracking everything so dont post comments that can be used against you. Souri would have to hand over IP addressess if it came to that; nothing is anonymous.

The West Australian and WA Business News reports that U.S based Interzone Games have locked down their lead development studio in Perth on Thursday. Ten of the remaining Interzone staff were picketing at the front of their former workplace in protest of unpaid wages and superannuation as far back as 18 months, after being locked out of the premises and left unable to retrieve personal belongings. Segments of a notice at the entry of the studio placed by Interzone Vice President of business operations, Mike Turner, reads:

We accept that we owe you wages and are currently determining the amount owed and are working diligently to raise funds in the USA that will be distributed according to the priority as set out by law.

Please note the only person allowed on or within the premises of Interzone is Vice President of Business Operations Mike Turner and anyone he so nominates or brings with himself onto the premises



It's understood that Mike Turner flew to Perth this week with the intention of obtaining all the content and server hardware that the studio worked on and will be returning to the U.S today. Former staff have found this unacceptable, arguing that the work produced for the last 18 months has not been compensated or paid for yet. Police were called in to the studio on Wednesday night as locks were changed for the server room and offices.

News about the closure has spread to Perth print and TV media with a strong emphasis made on the local Government's $500,000 grant for the studio, and the $1 million dollars owing to the ATO. The following report (below) appeared on the ABC TV about the situation...

As mentioned in the ABC TV report, Interzone Games had studios in China and Brazil, and both studios have been closed down already. The manager from the IZ Guangzhou, China studio has posted in the comments area of the WA Business News news item to report that the recent complaints of unpaid wages were not isolated to the Perth studio. From WA Business News...

I was the manager of IZ Guangzhou, China, we had about 60 staff in the studio.
The studio was forced to dismiss suddently in Nov 2009, without any notification in advance.

IZ owed the GZ studio staff more than US$450,000 and never paid a penny till now.
A colleague's father was severely sick and died later cause not enough money to be treated.

As for myself, besides months of salary owed by IZ, I had also loaned more than US$8,000 from
my own pocket to IZ, in order that the studio runs normally, cause I was told that the wire from
IZ was coming, I would be certainly paid ......all is a lie!

In my more than 15 years of career time, I've never come across such situation, such boss - Marty.

All the studio staffs should unite together to protect our benefits.

The traditional Chinese New Year is coming in two days, the honest GZ staffs expected to have a great new year after getting back their owed payment. But their dream is broken again, no penny is sent to them so far after more than a year's waiting.

Former Interzone games staff have been cautioning staff of the newly formed studio based in Ireland, Big Collision Games, which will be continuing the development of Interzone Futebol that they may find themselves in a similar predicament further down the line.

The West Australian has received a response from Robert J. Spencer who helped set up Interzone Games in Perth. Robert, who has not been with the studio for two years, was quoted as saying "It was my baby and this is very saddening".

You can find the articles on Interzone Perth's closure at:……

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/02/10 - 9:10 PM Permalink

If the ATO is owed that much money can't they prevent the parent company taking its assets out of the country?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/02/10 - 11:56 PM Permalink

You would think so, but they have known about the situation for well over a year and were asked to step in by a number of people in the last 2 days.

We have been chasing superannuation payments for over a year (during my 2 year employment, not a single cent of superannuation has been paid to me) and my latest generic letter from the ATO stands at "Employer debt established".

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 10/02/10 - 9:41 PM Permalink

That's downright despicable. I'm hoping those responsible can be indicted, but the 'trading without a resident director' charge seems to indicate said people may not be accessed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/02/10 - 1:12 AM Permalink

Best of luck to everyone! I suffered a similar story from a games company.

I also stayed at a games company in similar situation and I still have 3 months owed and will never receive a penny. I believed in the game, the company and the hope of everything working out like the CEO said it would. We thought we were different. Respect to staying, but it's the wrong thing to do full stop. It's just a game, it's not your life.

When a company runs out of money and starts spending yours, it's morally bankrupt. Simple. They are _gambling_ with your money.

I will never empower a company to gamble with my money again. A bad gambler doesn't know when to quit. A bad gambler thinks that they need to keep gambling to get out of more debt, when in reality they just keep digging a deeper hole. Just stop.

Have a cry, wipe your tears, have a laugh about the good times. But remember never let an employer gamble with your income.

If they can't pay, leave.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/02/10 - 10:28 AM Permalink

If you don't get paid what you should in a timely manner, then something has gone wrong, day 1 you should assume the worst.

This is clearly one of the simplest breaches of employment contract known. Make it clear that you won't be turning up for work nor doing work from home.
Make it also clear that this is on their time and you expect to get paid both what you're owed up-to-date and up to the point you are either made redundant (and additionally paid your redundancy entitlements) or the issue is resolved. Make it clear you wont be accepting any penalties against your awards holiday/sick/time in lieu. Though it may cost money talk to a Lawyer/seek legal advice straight away.

Some may think this kind of response is a little simplistic and that it may be coming from disaffected Troll, nothing could be further from the truth. I've been in the local industry for close to 10 years now and I'm happily employed within it and happy to continue. Though this industry is small and getting a new position has a lot to do with personal reputation, you will only be doing yourself a disservice continuing on without payment.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 12:58 AM Permalink

It's all very well to say this, but at the time, when it's YOU in the position, it's a lot less black and white. For a start, there aren't many other jobs in games in Australia, certainly none in Perth, without setting something up yourself.

Secondly, some of the guys, such as myself, were on 457 visas and therefore TIED to the job. If we left the job, we'd have to leave the country.

I could go on and on giving reasons why it can make sense to stay at a company that is not paying you in a timely manner, but to be honest I'm rather sick of telling the story. Suffice it to say that the situation was presented as short term and would be resolved in a matter of weeks. We're just need to get to Beta in 2 weeks, we're close to having investors sign but they want a playtest, we're trying to sign a publisher, etc. In my opinion, had the management been honest and competent, there were a number of occasions at which point we could have turned the company around. Signing a publisher was the major milestone for me, and when the contract we were assured would net the studio over $700k in funding instantly was shown to only offer a % of the profits once the game was shipped, that was the last straw.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 9:00 AM Permalink

I am speaking from personal experience, I should have been more clear on the point.

My comments were not meant to offend you in any way, and I sincerely wish you guys the best of luck with whatever course you choose to take.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 1:35 PM Permalink

It's pretty depressing to see Aussie developers closing down left, right and center--especially to someone who's still trying to break into the industry.

Good luck to all those affected.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 4:43 PM Permalink

Yea good luck with that. I do feel for the younger guys just coming out of the games courses, etc, but they have no hope of picking up work in this country and expecting it to be a long lasting career. Unless you have a duel citizenship visa (your parents are foreign) your choices are immediately cut to a very low percentage of success. Go overseas, get that experience and knowledge you wont get in Australia and then bring it back. Its not impossible, but you have to be prepared to pay the price to get there.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 5:13 PM Permalink

I agree. The educational system is currently geared to churn far too many students out into the cold, but its not impossible for juniors. Just incredibly difficult.

My advice to juniors today will be to just do whatever it takes to build your skills, showreel and folio and keep trying for as long as it takes. Get a part time job at McDonalds to support you.

Those who aren't prepared to suffer for thier craft won't make it. This will be the largest percentage of students. Its not an isnult to them, it's jsut that they aren;t as passionate about entering the industry as the need to be, for whatever reason.

But there are junior positions opening every year. And that means its possible for someone to make it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 6:07 PM Permalink

It's unfortunate. I heard about this debacle at GCAP last year, though it had been going on much longer than that. However, it highlights the fact that a) running a business is hard, and b) running a games business is even harder, especially within the traditional developer-publisher business model.

The recent cull of local companies was inevitable, but also necessary to encourage industry growth. A small proportion of those affected will have the courage to form their own studios. Some will flourish, some will fail, but there will always be a place for you in a studio if you're good enough. Spend you're time practicing your craft, get to know people in the industry and you'll get there.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/10 - 8:16 PM Permalink

"This is clearly one of the simplest breaches of employment contract known. Make it clear that you won't be turning up for work nor doing work from home."

Does that mean people at Big Ant should only show up once a fortnight..?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 9:41 AM Permalink

Firstly, everyone at Big Ant is paid up to date, secondly, unfortunately, they have kept some staff on for far too long that are just not up to it - cruel to be kind - get rid of the rubbish and the whingers and the industry might get somewhere.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 10:32 AM Permalink

I have heard that Marty at Interzone did exactly the same thing with his previous studio, called Flyover Entertainment. He did not pay staff at the end. He did sell the game to Vivendi Universal Games (VUG) for many millions and then the staff were transferred to VUG. Robert J Spencer is not to be forgottern either. He was fired as the Perth based CEO of Interzone for incompetence and largely living the high life using Interzone money. He is as much to blame as anyone as he burned through a lot of money which could have been used to finish the game.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 10:54 AM Permalink

It's true. There was something about Interzone, the people who succeeded the most were always the snakes in the grass. Rj feigning innocence over in the WA Business News stung almost as much as the unpaid wages.

Robert Spencer defrauds everything he is involved in. Unfortunately for him, the piranha got eaten by the shark.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 10:45 AM Permalink

Trickstar, the successor to Transmission games is already pulling these tricks, only a month or 2 after having started up. I've heard they are aleady missing pay because codemasters havent paid them on time but the lemmings still turn up every day for work.

Transmission also skipped paying super for months btw but Trickstar isn't liable for that. Nice move.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 10:56 AM Permalink

Mix things up guys, because even if the security of a job is left wanting, there's no value in going through the same mistakes with the same people.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 10:58 AM Permalink

This smells like what we went through at fuzzyeyes doesnt it guys ? come on I know theres fuzzyeyes lurkers on here.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/02/10 - 11:08 AM Permalink

Almost identical story to Fuzzyeyes: missed payments, no super for over a year, then finally the collapse in September and the CEO flees to Taiwan with the IP where he hopes to keep working on it.

He owes employees in Australia (and outsource studios) over 200k and over 2 mil to Southpeak (the previous publisher). Meanwhile there is literally ZERO protection from the gov with the ombudsman at a loss for words whenever we ask for advice.

Good thing is most everyone has moved on and is surviving and hopefully not many careers have been destroyed, also CEO now rides a bike cause he's too incompetent to even own a car (karma is a bitch yo!).

We've had to pull down our news item on Interzone Games last Saturday as our tip off was just too early to report. The information provided then was premature for when it was posted, and Interzone staff members were right to respond that it didn't reflect the current situation at the Perth studio. The tip off was true, but things were set to happen only a short time later.

The news we had at hand was that Interzone Games, the Perth game development studio, will be closing down sometime around the 15th of February, and a Chicago executive from the parent company was due to arrive this week to bring the assets and servers from the Perth studio back to the U.S. The locally developed BigWorld tech based MMO social soccer game, Interzone Futebol, and all its assets and code is set to be handed over to a new studio in Ireland called Big Collision Games where they're expected to continue development with new funding received based on the latest builds from the local studio.

Tim Colwill, former World Designer for Interzone Games in Perth, has provided Kotaku AU with an extraordinary run down of how the Perth based game studio reached its current dire state, where highly dedicated staff members were promised a lot, continued to work unpaid, but were consequently exploited and owed a substantial amount in wages and superannuation. The amount estimated owing is $500,000 to staff, and $1 million to the ATO.

The damning report makes some serious allegations towards the Chicago-based parent of breaking a variety of Australian laws, from not paying superannuation to trading without a resident director.

To finish it off, Tim describes the ultimate cost of what this whole mess means for the Perth games industry....

As an unfortunate side effect of this, it is almost certain that the games industry in Perth will be irreparably damaged. The Western Australian government sunk $500,000 into Interzone to get it started, and with the studio now being liquidated, it is a huge disincentive for them to provide any further support to any other companies that might wish to base their operations here.

Read the entire story over at Kotaku AU.

*** Update, staff have been locked out of the studio. More details here.

Submitted by souri on Thu, 09/04/09 - 1:22 PM Permalink

Anyone wanna try this out together sometime? Sign up, get approved, download the beta, and we can try it out on a particular day (maybe Monday night).

Interzone Entertainment has opened the doors to Interzone Futebol's Closed Beta and is processing applications for prospective testers. The Closed Beta is being run in Australia by the company's Australian development studio, Interzone Games. Sign-ups are currently underway at with testers already playing in regular daily matches.

Interzone Futebol is the company's debut title, and is the first online soccer game that supports fully playable 11-a-side teams, including player controlled goalkeepers. The final release of the game will feature full audio commentary and a soundtrack recorded by world-renowned DJ Paul Oakenfold.

Sign-ups are open at The developers are currently running scheduled events at 4pm and 7pm AWST. More details about the game can be found in the community section of the website at


Press Release
2-time Grammy nominee, scored Swordfish, had cues in The Matrix Reloaded, Collateral, Shrek II, and The Bourne Conspiracy video game, remixed for Madonna, U2, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake; Oakenfold now moves into massively multiplayer games

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 28, 2008 – Paul Oakenfold, internationally known DJ with a stellar list of remix and film credits, and Interzone Entertainment, parent company of game development studio Interzone Games, today announced a partnership in which Oakenfold will score the studio’s upcoming MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) Interzone Futebol.

“In addition to Paul Oakenfold’s extraordinary and recognized music talent, one of his proven strengths is forging creative partnerships with the most successful stars and projects in the entertainment industry,” said Interzone Entertainment president Marty Brickey. “We’re excited that Paul has selected Interzone Entertainment as his first partner in the billion-dollar MMO industry.”

Paul Oakenfold’s film credits include Swordfish, The Matrix Reloaded, Die Another Day, The Bourne Identity, and Shrek II. Remix credits include, among many others, works for Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, U2, and Jennifer Lopez. Earlier in his career, before founding his own label, Perfecto Records, in 1989, he was an A&R rep at UK-based Champion label where he signed Will Smith (still part of Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince) and Salt N Pepa. He has also done the music for high profile TV commercials including Coca-Cola, Toyota, Motorola, and Saab. His creations earned him two Grammy nominations for “Best Electronic/Dance Album” in 2007 with “A Lively Mind” and in 2004 with “Creamfields.” He has been a fixture on the electronic charts throughout his career, and continues to be regarded as one of the most prominent figures in club culture. Additional information is posted at

A sampling of the new Interzone Futebol score can be heard on the game’s just-released first trailer which can be enjoyed at and

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/08/08 - 1:42 PM Permalink

Yeah, the lag is going to be a big issue, I've worked on other sports games in the past, and responsiveness is usually crucial to making the game work gameplay wise.

What target is this game mainly targeting, based on the name it'd had to be European.

Good luck to Interzone as well on this title.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/08/08 - 8:50 PM Permalink

I think they're targeting all the target targets, along with some of the other non-targeted target targets. This should produce a return that's close to their targeted target and give them the ability to start targeting all the other targeted target targets.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/08/08 - 9:50 PM Permalink

lots of cuts away to hide what seems like pretty repetitive gameplay at this point

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/08/08 - 11:02 PM Permalink

There's a billboard in it that says "Paul Oakenfold" during the soccer game - maybe he did the soundtrack?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/08/08 - 10:04 PM Permalink

Some of the animation is a bit "choppy", framerate issues in one scene there that i could see.

Trailers are never very indicative of the final product.

Interzone Games have debuted the first trailer for Interzone Futebol, giving the world a glimpse of their MMOG soccer game. The press release below has more information on the trailer, so I won't repeat anything other than to say I totally dig the bright, colourful, and non-realistic visual style that they chose to go with. The fly-through of the various places in Rio de Janeiro show some top quality art work by the Interzoners. Oh, and I should add that Interzone Futebol is running on the locally developed BigWorld tech.

Press Release
Interzone Futebol, a virtual world soccer MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) from Interzone Entertainment scheduled for a 4Q08 launch, makes its action debut today with the release of its first trailer at and

The trailer takes gamers and soccer fans on a 90-second odyssey through the colorful 3D virtual world of Rio de Janeiro, shows crowds of Brazilians enjoying the beaches, shops, and urban life in the city’s Ipanema neighborhood, and culminates with an exciting, fast-paced soccer competition in a giant stadium.

"Our first trailer gives viewers a fun glimpse into the world of soccer and the rich life inside our virtual world," said Interzone Entertainment president Marty Brickey. "There is something fun for soccer players of all levels, and for non-soccer players who can enjoy a wide variety of activities we offer in Interzone Futebol."

About Interzone Futebol
Interzone Futebol is a virtual world game centered on futebol (soccer in the U.S.), the most popular sport in the world. The first city in this virtual world is Rio de Janeiro complete with neighborhoods, shops, social interaction with friends, and the club scene with the music which plays such an important role in the lives of youth culture in Brazil and around the world. Gamers control all positions – even the goal keeper which is unique in the world of futebol games – and enjoy fierce competitions on the pitch.

More details about upcoming international versions of Interzone Futebol will be released soon. For more information, visit and The game will be featured in Interzone Entertainment’s booth 104 at the Austin Game Developer Conference Expo in Austin, Texas, September 16-17, 2008.


(Press release)

(Chicago, ILLINOIS): Interzone Entertainment, parent company of Interzone Games and a BigWorld licensee, has announced its long-secret massively multiplayer online sports title, Interzone Futebol. The PC MMOG will first release in Portuguese for the Brazilian market, home to millions of avid futebol (soccer in the U.S.) fans and players, closely followed by international versions for worldwide release.

Interzone Futebol features team-based multiplayer matches, with every character on the pitch (playing field) controlled by a different player, including goalkeepers who, until now, have always been AI-controlled. During the match, players will improve their skills and unlock new skills and moves. Players will also improve their personal rankings and their team’s rankings, earn money through salary or sponsorship, and customize their character at creation, during game play, and by buying virtual items from Interzone’s online store.

Unlike other futebol games, Interzone Futebol will have a social space for players to explore and socialize in, and can find other people to play with. The game will also have an invitation system that allows players to invite their friends to try the game and, once friends are in-game, players will also be easily able to find them and invite them to join matches.

Interzone Entertainment president Marty Brickey explains why Interzone Futebol will debut first in Latin America. “Of 17 World Cup championships, 11 have been won by South American nations, with Brazil winning a record five World Cup titles. Soccer is a passion in Brazil, with perhaps 15 million players, a very high percentage of whom are in the 18-34 demographic, making it an ideal initial market for our game. We decided first to create Interzone Futebol in Portuguese so it will have the broadest appeal to this very large Portuguese speaking market in Brazil.”

The bulk of Interzone Games’ development is done by their staff of over 50 developers in their studio in Perth, Western Australia, and supported by their Live Team in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company has recruited major game development talent from top studios including Microsoft, Interplay, Parallax, Lionhead, Cyberlore, and others.

“Having so many talented people relocate their families to our Perth, Western Australia studio shows their dedication to this project, and their level of commitment to creating a futebol franchise with global appeal,” said Interzone Entertainment executive vice president Greg Chadwell.

Exact release dates have not been announced, but Interzone Futebol is planned for launch in 4Q08.

For more information, visit and

About Interzone Games
Interzone Entertainment is a publisher of massively multiplayer online games for a global audience. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and with studios in Australia, Brazil, and Asia, Interzone Games currently employees a staff of over 100 worldwide. Interzone is committed to the concept of fun and intends that this constant, almost maniacal focus on gameplay will bring a genuinely different kind of gaming to customers around the world.

Job Position

Tired of the daily grind and want to be excited about coming in to work each day? Interzone Games is looking for talented people with the ability to work as part of a dynamic team in a productive and enjoyable work environment. If you are such a person, get in on the ground floor with a triple-A development studio with big plans, world-class talent, and world-class funding.

If you join us at our Perth development office you'll be at a studio:

* working with the guy who created the green falling numbers effect for the Matrix, the ex-Chief Scientist of Ai Research, and many other crazy-talented people;
* which is designed from the ground up using the latest Agile development methodologies to avoid crunch horror stories;
* which is fully funded;
* which offers free cookies (honest to goodness we have free cookies), a fridge full of free drinks and espresso coffee on tap.

** Job Description**
Interzone Games is looking for a flash developer with strong technical abilities and proven experience with actionscript.


* Design, develop, and test Flash based user interfaces, utilizing object oriented ActionScript.
* Follow style guides to ensure cohesive feel across all user interface screens.
* Ensure that best-practices are followed and that code is optimized.
* Participate in the software development process from design to release.


* 2+ years of professional experience in developing user interfaces utilizing Flash, PHP, CSS and XML
* 3+ years of development experience with Macromedia Flash, including object oriented ActionScript 1 and ActionScript 2; experience with multi-use environments preferred.
* Experience with source control (e.g. SVN) software.
* Experience with use of relational databases (MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server).
* Strong understanding of software development life cycle.
* Strong analytical and problem solving skills.
* Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
* Detail-oriented, well organized, quick learner with very strong technical aptitude and the ability to work concurrently on multiple projects.

**About Interzone**
Our teams are focused on producing and delivering powerful game experiences, rich, compelling storylines and captivating visuals with lush soundscapes but, at the end of the day, we don't rest until we deliver truly engaging gameplay. Interzone as a whole is committed to the concept of fun and we intend that this constant, almost maniacal focus on gameplay will bring a genuinely different kind of gaming to our customers around the globe.

* We believe in gameplay, not in grind.
* We believe in pushing technological boundaries, not technology as an end in itself.
* We believe in design innovation and exciting new ideas, not in confusing rules and arbitrary change.
* We believe in rich and engaging worlds, not in pointless detail.
* We believe in delivering better games, not licensing content and shipping "me-too" clones.

Interzone is producing the next generation of online games; they will be bigger, stronger and better - and YOU can be a part of it!

Subscribe to Interzone Games