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Report: Rise of Kong dev allege strained partnership with GameMill

Developers of a widely-derided King Kong game are shining a spotlight on publisher GameMill Entertainment, claiming the company is infamous for giving contract studios a very short development period.

Talking to The Verge’s Ash Parrish, anonymous staff members at IguanaBee claim the company’s newest title,Skull Island:Rise of Kong,had only a year of development. Similar conditions were placed on the company’s 2022 release,Little League World Series 2022.

“The development process of [Skull Island]was started in June of last year and it was aimed to end on June 2nd this year,” explained an IguanaBee staffer. An ex-employee added that it was “quite common” for GameMill to not give the studioall the necessary information for a project.

“It wasquite frustrating when working because we had to improvise with the limited information we had on hand,”the former developer continued. A current employee further admitted the studio had to crunch in February, during which they were going through the motions because they felt “all hope was lost.”

LikeLord of the Rings:Gollumfrom earlier in the year,Skull Islandreceived attention for its numerous technical problems and outdated gameplay. Staff from the Chile-based IguanaBee told The Verge that it’s a talented studio, but a lack of full funding from GameMill impacted what it was able to do with the time it had.

That ex-IguanaBee member recalled when the publisher “let go of a colleague who had been there longer than me.Deep down, I knew it was because the publisher didn’t provide them with enough funding to maintain a certain number of people for an extended period.”

It isn’t uncommon for a game to suffer froma lack of resources or funding, especially in today’s climate. Likewise, it’s not surprising that some at IguanaBee refused to speak to the outlet out of worry thatGameMill will stop contracting the studio.

IguanaBee would like to make its own original projects, said oneSkull Islanddeveloper, but it “doesn’t have the means to develop almost anything on its own because well, money.” And because it’s best known for licensed games likeSkullandGI Joe:Operation Blackout,the developer is trapped in a “love/hate relationship.”

Even so, some have taken pride in creatingSkull Islandwith the limited time they had. Producer Aaron Frenkel wrote a (translated) post on X saying as such, declaring the staff “had a great time developing it, [and we’re]proud of our monkey.”

More insight intoSkull Island: Rise of Kong’sdevelopment can be read here.

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