Spanish Game Publisher Sindiecate Abruptly Closes, Runs For Peru With Money

In a scene described by employees as a “telenovela”, Spanish game publisher Sindiecate has abruptly shut its doors, while its founders have fled to Peru with all of its money. This leaves a huge trail of debt and a large number of angry developers back in Spain, according to a Twitter thread.

The thread, begun by freelance game designer Rosa Carbo-Mascarell on Twitter, starts out by explaining the background. Sindiecate was once seen by many in the Spanish dev scene as the Devolver Digital of Spain.

However, Sindiecate made a mistake developing the console port of a game called Nongünz, and was asked to pay reparations to its developer, known as edu_verz on Twitter. The money never came, even as Verz was working on a new game called Damnview, which was supposedly being published by Sindiecate, but its founders never signed papers.

With no reparations coming, Verz attempted to pull his game out and take it to another publisher. Sindiecate’s chief executives, Fernando Ortega and Claudia Ancajima, reached out to two of Verz’s employees (a programmer and artist), inquiring if they needed Verz to finish Damnview, and insinuating that he had drug and alcohol problems.

Apparently, Ortega and Ancajima wanted to kick Verz out of Sindiecate, but keep the Damnview IP for themselves. Unsurprisingly, the two told Verz, and a meeting was called on Sunday. Ancajima apologized, and told everyone to come back on Monday.

And here’s where it gets really crazy. Monday morning, an email was sent around telling the studio everyone had the day off. With nothing to do, the employees went to a cafe to talk about their jobs, where very shady practices began coming to light.

Some of Sindiecate’s workers had been going for years without a contract, while others had a contract but hadn’t had it declared. Others were illegally-hired freelancers. When Tuesday rolled around, another email was sent out telling the employees that they suddenly had a month-long holiday. The employees, not fooled, instead decided to confront their bosses.

Here’s where it got ugly, as the meeting with the directors turned into name-calling, spitting, glass-breaking, and both directors denying every accusation leveled against them. Multiple workers put in their resignations, while others declared they’d never work in video games again.

Sindiecate offered to let Verz leave with Damnview, on the condition that a portion of its sales would go to the Spanish publishing company to help it pay outstanding debts. They would hold a meeting to discuss it further, but the meeting never happened. The directors stopped responding to calls and emails.

After the month-long holiday, Another company email came around, saying that everyone had put in resignation letters (untrue as only two people had) because no one had come into work for the past month. Everyone was asked to come to the company and sign their letters.

This means that 12 employees were sent out onto the streets without their pay for the last month under false pretenses because of the shadiness of the Spanish game publisher. Sindiecate still owes 30,000 euros to all of their employees for back pay, and also owes money to Sunshine Animation Studios, who made a trailer for Damnview they hadn’t yet been paid for.

Since then, there are two different lawsuits in progress against Sindiecate in order for the employees to get the money they were owed. Unfortunately, Carbo-Mascarell says that this is a common story in Spain, with companies hiring workers illegally and run things without contracts while committing fraud.

We don’t know how this Sindiecate story will work out, but hopefully its 12 employees can end up getting the money they’re owed and its two directors can be brought to justice.