Why I left the Fight Knight project.
I’m the “writer” of the Dangen Warning, a whistleblower document detailing the sexual harassment allegations and abusive business practices associated with the employees and CEO of Dangen Entertainment. I was a member of the teams of Fight Knight and Devil Engine. As the only woman on these teams, I endured sexual harassment as well as wage discrimination and power harassment, primarily threats targeted towards keeping the developers of Fight Knight and Devil Engine “under control”. I’ve already said as much as I could on this topic, so I won’t delve too deeply into these matters here.
I’ve already written about the actions of the programmer of Devil Engine after the Dangen Warning was published, as well as my regrets with regards to my defense and enablement of his behavior in a ResetEra thread.
I never wrote about what happened with the Fight Knight project. Considering recent events, especially the harassment of a female employee of Activision Blizzard that resulted in her suicide, I feel it’s important for me to come forward about why I left the Fight Knight project as well as what happened to me after I published the Dangen Warning.
Please note, there will be discussion of physical and sexual abuse, trauma, suicidal ideation, targeted harassment, and sexism/racism. I will try not to go into more detail than is necessary, but please take care from this point forward.
Table of Contents
- How I started working on Fight Knight.
- Difficulties integrating into the rest of the team.
- Reported reasons for delays on Fight Knight.
- Our living situation.
- Physical response to conflict.
- Issues with honesty.
- The dissolution of Protoculture Games.
- Boen’s friends contact the Protoculture team.
- I suggest we hire separate therapists.
- Boen publicly denounces Karl and commits to therapy.
- Boen fabricates a therapy session.
- I discover Boen lied about Tivo’s revenue share.
- Tivo and other friends offer to help me leave Canada.
- Our sexual relationship.
- My friends withdraw their support.
- I leave Canada with my cats.
- My complicity with slurs and bigotry, and an apology.
- My contributions to the story of Fight Knight.
- The purpose of this document.
1. How I started working on Fight Knight.
I began working with the Devil Engine project in early 2017. I met the lead developer of Fight Knight (“Boen”) shortly after and we became romantically involved by April 2018. While I had on and off provided some assistance with the Fight Knight project prior to our romantic relationship, I thought it was best when we started dating that we not entangle our careers as well, so I avoided involvement on the project for a time.
Throughout our friendship and then relationship, Boen confided in me some difficulties he had working with his co-creator and childhood friend (“Tivo”). According to Boen, Tivo had largely stopped pulling his weight after the Kickstarter successfully funded, causing Boen to pick up the slack and delaying development of Fight Knight.
Things came to a head in the latter half of 2018. Boen began to visibly struggle with meeting the deadline to turn in the final script of Fight Knight to Dangen for translation. Since I was already regularly doing writing work on other projects, he began asking me if I could look over the Fight Knight script as well. I was uncomfortable involving myself creatively to this extent, essentially doing unpaid and uncredited labor, and especially working on a project with someone I was romantically involved with.
While I refused to read the script file itself or write any dialogue directly, we often talked informally about the story beats and themes that Boen wanted to have in Fight Knight. I tried to assure him that I believed the writing already present in the Kickstarter demo was excellent and that he could write well if he trusted his own instinct. He eventually turned the script in to Dangen around the end of August 2018, and Dangen got to work translating it.
Over the next few months, questions from the translators began pouring in. I finally agreed to look over the script myself. The script Boen had turned in for translation had not been proofread, spell checked, and was largely lacking a real plot. A majority of the charm and warmth present in the dialogue of the Kickstarter demo was completely absent in the rest of the game. The worst aspect was the main antagonist had no clear motive for their actions and primarily showed up to yell shallow insults at the protagonist a few times before the game ended.
Boen claimed that Tivo had dropped the ball once again on proofreading the script. And while I was still sympathetic, ultimately, Boen was the lead developer and had the final responsibility for the quality of any work that entered Fight Knight. Turning in an unusable script for translation into five languages represented a very expensive mistake worth several thousands of dollars. At the very least, I remember saying, Boen could’ve pressed the “spell check” button himself.
However, I didn’t want to add stress to an already stressful situation by belaboring the point any further. I felt guilty for refusing Boen the many times he’d asked me to look over the script over the last half year. I initially agreed to do proofreading and editing, but by the start of 2019, I had been tasked with adding new characters, rewriting the main antagonist, and had essentially rewritten almost the entire plot.
2. Difficulties integrating into the rest of the team.
Boen hesitated to introduce me to the rest of the team in my new role as the script writer, copy writer, and publisher liaison. At first he even explicitly requested we “wait” on doing so, as he was worried about Tivo’s reaction to me being brought in to correct and replace his work.
There was existing sourness from Boen’s previous romantic partner having been on bad terms with everyone else. Boen’s ex was apparently difficult to work with, combative and jealous, and possessive of her work to the extent she often claimed ownership over work that had mostly been Boen’s. Boen was wary of bringing his new romantic partner into the team and reopening those scars.
My goal in writing the script for Fight Knight was specifically to solve rather than cause more problems, so I agreed to wait for Boen to feel more comfortable with discussing my involvement with the rest of the team.
As time passed though I began to feel as if I was being treated like an embarrassment. While I was also wary of the assumptions many would make about us dating while working on Fight Knight together, I began to feel as if I was not seen as a “real” part of the team despite being explicitly brought in to replace the shortcomings of existing team members.
Boen eventually invited me into the Fight Knight developer Discord server and urged me to talk to Tivo about the script. I was excited to finally be able to talk openly with the rest of the team about the work I’d been doing.
Tivo seemed blindsided and furious as I began talking about the edits to the story I’d already approved with Boen. At first I was confused by the amount of animosity I felt I was receiving and tried to explain my reasoning behind some of the edits. But as the conversation grew more combative and negative, I stepped back from the dev server entirely.
I realized that Boen hadn’t discussed anything about me replacing Tivo’s work and had framed things as if I had decided on my own to come into the dev server and begin editing the story of Fight Knight however I saw fit. I told Boen in no uncertain terms that it was not my job to convince his team my work was valuable; it was his. It was not my responsibility to explain to Tivo why Boen was having me replace his work. I wasn’t the lead developer and none of those decisions were mine. I wasn’t capable of speaking for Boen in this capacity even if I wanted to.
Boen “had a talk” with Tivo and they apparently worked things out between themselves. My friendship with Tivo outside of work on Fight Knight was also still positive, so I considered the matter resolved. But I was not at all interested in “design by committee” work on Fight Knight. If Boen was not willing to stand behind my work or his own decisions, I was not willing to continue with the project.
Boen promised to not put me in such a position again. But I decided to avoid speaking much in the dev server as none of my work required anybody’s input but Boen’s, and it was mostly used for back and forth between Boen and the other team members. I felt that story talk would only clutter the chat or invite a “too many cooks” situation with the writing process.
I began to notice a pattern with how Boen spoke of any ideas we had between ourselves. If I had an idea Boen felt the rest of the team would be happy with, he often left my name out and simply presented the idea as is. If Boen wanted to do something he felt his team would be critical of, he would discuss it with me, then introduce it to the rest of the team as, “[The author] and I were talking, and…” or “I was talking to [the author] and…”
When I spoke to Boen about this, he said he hadn’t noticed he did this at all and he had no intention of taking credit for my ideas or pushing the blame for unpopular suggestions onto me. I tried to explain that while he may not have intended to do that, most people would interpret his wording in that way, so he should still try to avoid speaking like that.
I don’t recall his speaking patterns significantly changing after this discussion, but I didn’t want to bring the issue up again and again. Ultimately, if the work got done, the work got done. I tried to ignore my discomfort with the social dynamics of the dev team. Once the game was finished and released, none of this would matter at all.
3. Reported reasons for delays on Fight Knight.
Early in 2018, Boen decided to start working on another game project with his friend, whom I’ll name “Karl”. He justified beginning another game project while Fight Knight was still unfinished by claiming he would restrict work on the project to the weekends; however, Boen began working on Karl’s game regularly throughout the week, supposedly due to a need to keep Karl motivated and on task.
Boen also kept up with a number of communities and friends groups. He would occasionally take breaks to play games with friends or discuss politics and games industry gossip in various Discord servers. Most of these activities were no secret to his private social circles, but especially his involvement on Karl’s game project was something he avoided making public to avoid backlash from his Kickstarter backers.
However, as Fight Knight’s release date needed to be pushed back further and further, Boen often felt compelled to bring up his relationship with me as the main reason for the delays. On a few occasions, Boen attempted to mention me in passing on his Kickstarter updates, such as “I’ve been spending a lot of time this month helping my girlfriend, so I couldn’t get as much done on Fight Knight as I wanted.” I was incredibly uncomfortable with being referenced in this context, especially with the connotation that I was the sole reason behind a lack of progress on Fight Knight, so I often vetoed these portions of public Kickstarter updates before they were published.
But I had no say in how he excused delays to his friends and other team members in private. Karl, members of Boen’s friends group, and even some of the Fight Knight team began to openly resent me for supposedly causing the many delays to Boen’s work schedule. These resentments came to a head towards the end of 2019 when Karl and a member of the Fight Knight team staged an “intervention” with Boen and confronted him about his lack of progress on both game projects.
Boen decided to take a couple months off of Fight Knight to finish the base engine for Karl’s game. Boen had many frustrations with working with Karl, so he viewed this as a way to finish his obligations on Karl’s project and be able to focus on Fight Knight without further distractions. Boen ultimately continued work on Karl’s project well into 2020.
4. Our living situation.
It was no secret to Boen, Boen’s friends, and my friends that my living situation was particularly chaotic and unstable. Prior to Boen and I dating and throughout our relationship, I was at times dependent on the charity of friends to avoid homelessness. I have two cats that I attempted to find safe housing for, either with shelters or with friends, and I could not find anyone who had the resources or will to keep them safe. I was unwilling to turn my cats onto the streets or knowingly place them into unstable or poor conditions where they would be at risk of being euthanized, and while my cats were not the primary reason for my unstable living conditions, they were a large factor in my inability to find stable housing.
I lived in the southwestern portion of the United States at the time. Boen began to suggest that I live with him and his parents in east Canada. I was uncomfortable with such an arrangement, as I felt conditioning my cats’ safety on our romantic relationship was too risky. We had only been dating for a few months by then, and we already had a few disagreements that put my trust in the stability of our relationship in question. Boen insisted that our relationship status would not jeopardize my welcome in his parents’ home, and that our relationship would only strengthen if he was in a better position to provide care and support in person. He apparently had discussed my situation with his parents and they were incredibly worried for my safety and wanted me to bring my cats and look for employment in Canada. I’d already visited Boen’s house and apparently proven myself to be a good houseguest in their eyes, and Boen often told me how much they preferred me to his previous romantic partner, whom he characterized as a slob who refused to do chores.
My situation was dire and with Boen’s insistence that I should stop living in a harmful situation for fear of trusting him and his family, I eventually agreed to drive myself, my cats, and all of my belongings across the continent to live with Boen and his parents during the late summer of 2018. It was a surprisingly physically demanding trip that took three days with little sleep. Three days of driving nearly non-stop had left my arms so sore that I had trouble moving them for a week after.
When I arrived, Boen’s family was shocked and angry that I had brought my cats and all of my belongings with me. They had been told I would be visiting for a few months, not that I was told that I should move to Canada and seek employment and residency there with my cats.
Boen debated with his family privately while I tried to rest with my cats in his room. I could hear the conversation getting heated. Ultimately, Boen told me that I would be allowed to stay.
Boen claimed that it was “necessary” to lie to both me and his parents in order to convince me to move to Canada for my own safety. He claimed that he knew his parents wouldn’t be able to refuse if I turned up with my cats uninvited.
I was upset, embarrassed, and exhausted, but I had nowhere else to go for at least the time being. In leaving to go to Canada, I had ended my living arrangements in the United States and expended many resources that could’ve gone towards finding other safe housing options.
5. Physical response to conflict.
I sometimes have panic attacks that subside quickly if I’m allowed some time and privacy to relax. Boen was aware of my panic attacks before we began dating and his understanding became even more important when we began living together. I explained that during any panic attacks I might have, it was best if he left the room so that I could calm down without feeling threatened.
Instead, he would often corner me against a wall and grab my wrists or shoulders. I’m over half a foot and a hundred pounds smaller than Boen is. In moments of panic, I found being grabbed like this to be incredibly frightening, and my panic attacks would escalate into me thrashing and screaming in an attempt to escape his grasp. Sometimes he put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming for fear of the neighbors hearing. This made the panic attack all the more intense.
Even during simple disagreements, Boen often reacted by physically restraining me. When arguments occur, I find it difficult to articulate myself and prefer to step away from the situation to allow everyone time to cool down and recompose themselves. Boen characterized this behavior as “shutting him out” or “giving him the silent treatment”.
If I did not agree with his view, he sometimes refused to drop the subject and insisted on “discussing” the matter until he felt satisfied. He would try to grab my arm or physically block me from leaving the room.
In one such incident, Boen did not know there was a difference between dry and wet measuring cups. I had asked Boen to drop the subject because I was busy cooking and felt the matter wasn’t particularly important. Boen searched for “evidence” on the internet that there was no difference and insisted that I take a look at his research.
I began to walk away from the kitchen as Boen interrupting me while I was cooking was incredibly dangerous. Boen demanded to know where I was going and grabbed my arm to stop me from leaving. I yanked my arm from his grasp and ran to my car to gain some privacy. Boen chased me to my car and tried to rip the door open and begged me not to leave.
I drove some miles away to a parking lot before attempting to discuss what had happened. The following is the chat log that occurred.
I was frustrated with how inaccurate Boen’s recollection of the events were. Grabbing my arm and attempting to physically restrain me from leaving was characterized as “getting annoyed”. Insisting I look at his “evidence” then and there was characterized as “asking if he was wrong”. He completely omitted the many times I’d asked him to drop the topic while I was cooking and claimed that I had suddenly stopped talking to him out of nowhere. He apologized profusely, but framed what had occurred as me being “bothered” by and “misunderstanding” him.
Towards the end of our relationship, Boen began conflating any attempts to put physical distance between us during panic attacks or arguments as suicide attempts that required him to physically restrain me for my safety. By this point in time my physical health was quite frail but I found this mischaracterization of my mental health to be infantilizing. I did have my struggles with suicidal ideation, but it infuriated me to have them referenced solely to justify denying me egress during pointless disagreements about politics or cookware.
6. Issues with honesty.
Boen had issues with honesty that he framed as a self esteem issue throughout our relationship. If he and I came into conflict, he often changed or completely omitted the facts when discussing them with his friends and family.
Early on in our relationship, Boen took it upon himself to copy and paste a chat log between him and his friend in which he had changed the reason I had been unhappy with him, leaving his friend confused why I would start a conflict over such a seemingly trivial matter. I asserted that I hadn’t asked to see his private conversation with his friend, and that he’d changed the facts in such a way that made me sound unreasonable. He justified this behavior by claiming he was too embarrassed to explain the whole truth of our argument to his friend.
At the time I was focused on resolving our conflicts between ourselves rather than asking Boen to manage his friends’ impression of me. I reasoned to myself that I also complained about my relationship with Boen to my friends at times, and that it was normal for couples to sometimes argue and vent about each other to their friends.
I was mutual friends with many of Boen’s friends and he requested that I not explain the truth of our arguments to them so as not to embarrass him or reveal information he was insecure about. Though this clearly left the people around us confused about my character and motivations, much like my discomforts with the Fight Knight dev team, I reasoned that what they thought of me based on a second hand impression via Boen was not within my power to change and frankly none of my concern.
7. The dissolution of Protoculture Games.
Throughout 2019, I was struggling to manage the Dangen and especially the Devil Engine situation. Boen terminated his agreement with Dangen and requested that I take up the work necessary to publish Fight Knight in their stead. This was a great deal more responsibility than I had ever planned to take on, but as I’d already been doing a majority of Dangen’s publishing work by this point, managing things without Dangen’s interference seemed like a win-win situation for me and the teams involved. I closed out my obligations on the various other projects I was working on in order to give my full attention to Fight Knight and Devil Engine.
Unfortunately my physical health began to fail, and by the end of 2019, I had been in and out of the hospital several times. These delays infuriated the lead developer of Devil Engine (“Sinoc”) and he began threatening to republish Devil Engine (and its expansion “Ignition”) on his own without regard to the ongoing legal situation with Dangen and against the wishes of the rest of the Protoculture team. The artist and musician of Devil Engine, Flat and Qwesta, were witness to the many failures of Dangen, but were also increasingly uncomfortable with Sinoc’s lack of professionalism. Having devoted the better part of two years towards the success of the Protoculture team, I begged them to help me manage Sinoc’s emotional outbursts and to try to be patient with what I viewed then as the natural result of stress caused by interactions with Dangen.
The Protoculture team gave Sinoc an ultimatum: he would refrain from discussing Dangen or the Devil Engine situation in public and wait patiently for as long as it took for my health to improve, or we would all terminate our professional relationships with him. Sinoc agreed on a surface level, but secretly continued to contact members of the press, other developers, and other publishers in a short-sighted attempt to “hurry things along”.
Sinoc continued his outbursts and by mid-2020 began violating multiple non-disclosure agreements with the Protoculture team and other publishers he was doing freelance work for. This was the last straw for Flat and Qwesta, as they had only continued working with Sinoc on the condition that he allow me to handle the legal situation. This was also ultimately the last straw for me as well, as it became clear that Sinoc was not capable of the emotional maturity required to continue working professionally in the games industry.
Sinoc begged all of us to reconsider, but we’d already extended as much patience as we possibly could. Sinoc stepped away from the internet for a time and I contacted Sinoc’s friends and family to warn them of the situation and ask that they look after his mental health. Perhaps with enough time the personal relationship between the Protoculture team and Sinoc could mend, but our professional relationship and the future of all Protoculture projects ended here.
For me, years of work on Devil Engine and other Protoculture projects had ultimately resulted in nothing.
8. Boen’s friends contact the Protoculture team.
About a week after the Protoculture team had dissolved, Karl and another friend of Boen’s contacted Flat and Qwesta. The following are excerpts from Karl’s discussion with Qwesta. Karl’s messages are censored with yellow, Qwesta’s are censored with white. I tried to leave out as much of the chat as possible due to the inclusion of sensitive personal and legal information about Sinoc as well as brevity.
Karl began by claiming a recent conversation with Boen had given him the impression that I was abusive. He went on to claim that I had a habit of pitting people against each other and that I was to blame for Boen having a falling out with one of his team members. He believed that I had encouraged Sinoc to attack Dangen in public and was overall manipulative, conniving, and untrustworthy.
Qwesta tried to respond neutrally while clarifying that he had been the one to first notice that Sinoc had violated his non-disclosure agreement with the rest of the team and initiated the disbandment of Protoculture Games. Karl insisted that Sinoc was ultimately not to blame “due to his condition” and that he felt that I was deliberately taking advantage of Sinoc’s “condition” and encouraging him to lash out in public.
Karl then attempted to convince Qwesta that leaving Dangen had ultimately been a mistake and that their grievances with Dangen were mostly lies fabricated by me. Qwesta tried to clarify that he had been witness to most of the events with Dangen himself and did not wish to negotiate with them, but Karl continued to claim that I was emotionally unstable and had set out to deliberately sabotage Sinoc due to personal hatred for him. He also claimed I was the “single reason” why Fight Knight’s release had been delayed.
After consulting with his brother Flat about the matter, Qwesta decided to make it clear that he did not appreciate Karl’s attempt to slander me while knowing very little about the situation, especially with regards to my character and the amount of work I had put in towards helping the Protoculture team throughout the past few years.
9. I suggest we hire separate therapists.
Personal attacks, insults, and accusations towards me from Boen’s friends group had exploded after I published the Dangen Warning in late 2019 and continued throughout 2020. At first I tried to respect that I couldn’t reasonably control who Boen was friends with or anybody’s opinion of me.
However, Karl and a number of Boen’s closest friends began actively attempting to slander me to the Protoculture team and an unknown number of my professional and personal contacts. Boen worked on Karl’s game and was confiding my personal information to people who were now actively sabotaging my business; and since Boen had requested I be his publisher, my business was now literally Boen’s business as well. I could no longer professionally or personally accept that so many of Boen’s closest friends and confidantes had such an unfavorable opinion of me.
Boen’s habit of scapegoating me had come home to roost. I had by now also caught Boen in countless lies, ranging from trivial ones about claiming to have completed house chores when he hadn’t, to giving me wrong information which lead me to making errors in critical business and legal decisions. It was also not lost on me that, whenever I needed to confront Boen about a missed deadline or broken promise, he often scapegoated his friends as well, particularly Tivo, Karl, or other members of the Fight Knight team.
He had excused this impulse to lie as being required in one way or another. Sometimes it was excused as necessary to avoid contributing to my stress. Sometimes it was excused as necessary to avoid his personal feelings of embarrassment.
He even began to claim that my reactions of disappointment or anger when I caught him in a lie or broken promise had forced him to lie even more to buy time to fix the situation. He framed these as romantic gestures or pleasant surprises when I discovered that he’d initially lied about something, but had used the time bought by my lack of awareness to “solve” the issue before I could realize the lie had ever occurred.
He sometimes told me proudly about how he had managed to “cleverly” trick me and then “solved” the situation for me before I was even aware something had gone wrong. When I reacted to these admissions of dishonesty unfavorably, he felt hurt by my lack of gratitude and unwillingness to praise him for his good intentions. He characterized my general demeanor by this point as “pessimistic”, “paranoid”, and “unforgiving”.
I asked Boen if he believed me to be abusive towards him, as Karl had claimed to Qwesta. He said he “didn’t know”. He quickly added that he didn’t trust his own judgment, so he couldn’t say whether I was or wasn’t abusive, but he didn’t think I was abusive, but he wasn’t sure if I was abusive either.
I did not think I had been an abusive partner towards Boen. But my impression of our relationship didn’t matter at all; if Boen did not feel our relationship was a positive part of his life, then it ultimately didn’t matter how I felt.
I purchased an Airbnb for a week and insisted that we both hire separate therapists. Boen begged me not to break up with him, but it was clear we had an unhealthy relationship if he couldn’t even state in private that he thought I was a good partner to him. I wanted us both to have space and time to reconsider our relationship in consultation with professional therapists.
10. Boen publicly denounces Karl and commits to therapy.
I’ve been dealing with some personal drama with some of my friends group scapegoating and attacking a member of my team in order to blame them for the delays FK has gone through. This is partially my fault for being too afraid to open up about what’s been going on, but it was completely out of line for some people I really trusted to take it upon themselves to make up reasons why a team member was at fault and attack them. […] I’ve been going through some depression/anxiety due to all of the above.
The above is an excerpt from an update Boen posted to the Fight Knight Twitter openly condemning his friends for attacking me. He also cited his own mental health as a reason for delays on Fight Knight.
Privately he promised that he would keep up with therapy and cut all contact with my attackers regardless of whether I chose to continue dating him or not.
Breaking up for us by this point was no small matter. I had resigned from my former career in order to become Fight Knight and Devil Engine’s publisher. A majority of my savings had been drained as I had been personally funding the contractors for both projects while unemployed. As a citizen of the United States, I was running out of time available to me to live in Canada as a visitor. This was during the height of the pandemic lockdowns and the height of protests against police violence, so travel was legally restricted and dangerous. If I left Canada, I would not be able to return for an unknown amount of time. I was also so physically unwell that I found it difficult to climb stairs or walk for long periods of time.
I was uncomfortable with the amount of blame he was pushing onto his friends. I was uncomfortable with him bringing up my health problems as part of his explanation for delays on Fight Knight.
But I moved back into Boen’s parents’ home and continued my relationship with Boen on the condition that he keep up with therapy and was fully and truly honest with me.
Less than four days after Boen posted his update to Twitter, he admitted to me that he had entirely fabricated a conversation with his therapist.
11. Boen fabricates a therapy session.
While I had been matched with a therapist I felt comfortable with right away, Boen went through therapist after therapist. He claimed that the first two therapists had suddenly cancelled on him or were completely inattentive. I’ve had many therapists in the past and knew very well how finding the right therapist could often feel like playing the lottery. I encouraged him to keep trying, and eventually Boen found a regular therapist. He claimed that he found his sessions to be helpful, and I tried to talk openly about how my therapy sessions were going as well. It has always been important to me that therapy not be viewed with any shame or stigma, no more than one should view seeing a dentist regularly.
Boen began claiming that his parents were putting undue pressure on him to complete Fight Knight. He wanted to rent an Airbnb and claimed that he would feel better if we could just have living space entirely to ourselves. Boen’s parents live in an incredibly wealthy neighborhood, Airbnbs were especially expensive during the pandemic, and Boen needed an Airbnb in walking distance as he didn’t want to risk moving his work station from his parents’ house. One month of rent in an Airbnb would easily cost over $2,500 USD.
Without a work visa in Canada, I was not allowed to officially work. I began looking for freelance work online in order to help pay for our rent. I suggested that Boen take up a part time job as well. He refused, claiming that Fight Knight was his job, and that he wouldn’t be able to concentrate if he had to deal with the stress of part time work.
By this point, he hadn’t made meaningful or consistent progress on Fight Knight in almost 9 months. Even if Fight Knight could be released right then and there, it would be almost three months before we had access to any profits from Steam sales.
Boen’s relief and happiness that I had chosen to continue our relationship faded quickly. He bitterly missed his friends, sometimes lashed out at me in anger over his regrets with having to cut contact with them, and spent almost all of his time avoiding his remaining friends and playing puzzle games by himself or looking at Twitter. I tried to be understanding and patient as I myself had struggled with panic attacks and poor concentration. But I didn’t know how things would ever improve at this rate.
I begged my parents for the money to pay for an Airbnb. I hoped the month that I had bought by swallowing my pride would be enough time for Boen to come to a better place mentally.
After purchasing the Airbnb, I realized I hadn’t been asked to leave the room during the time scheduled for Boen’s usual therapy session a few days prior. I asked him what had become of his therapy session that week; he claimed that he didn’t feel like doing therapy, so he’d rescheduled. He also added that I was sleeping at the time, so he couldn’t do his therapy session. Finally he claimed to have had a therapy session anyways over text messages, and detailed the conversation he had with his therapist.
The next morning, the day our rental at the Airbnb started, I admitted to Boen that I felt hurt by him “rescheduling” therapy last minute. I pointed out that it seemed like he blamed missing therapy on me for being asleep at the time, when I would’ve gladly woken up and moved from the room to give him privacy. I felt like he hadn’t been taking therapy or his commitment to not scapegoating seriously.
Boen began crying and admitted that he’d fabricated the interaction he had with his therapist to begin with. He never rescheduled, he never had a “replacement text session”, he had entirely made up that conversation with his therapist. He immediately began explaining that he’d overslept, panicked when I noticed that he hadn’t done therapy, and didn’t want me to be angry.
I excused myself from the room. Boen began screaming belligerently at the top of his lungs, alarming his family. His family at first wanted us both to go to the Airbnb together to “work things out”, but I said that I thought it’d be best if we had some time apart.
It was over. Not because Boen had overslept for a therapy appointment, not because he hadn’t taken therapy seriously, and not even because he’d tried to scapegoat me.
It was over because the entire time Boen had described an entirely fictitious conversation with his therapist, he had used the exact same tone of voice he’d told every other story he’d ever told me. I had completely believed him. I realized that I had been dating someone for three years, had hardly been physically apart from him for almost a year straight, and I literally could not tell when he was lying to my face.
12. I discover Boen lied about Tivo’s revenue share.
I reached out to Tivo to try to compare notes about various facts Boen told me about Fight Knight’s development that I now suspected were lies. The easiest and simplest fact for me to check was whether Boen had convinced Tivo to give up 10% of his revenue share in order to ensure I was paid an equal amount. Boen initially refused to give up any more of his own revenue share, and so I had refused to work for less pay than the person whose work I was replacing. Boen claimed that he’d “worked things out” with Tivo and that Tivo was apologetic about dropping the ball. According to Tivo, this conversation never occurred.
Tivo and I speculated over why Boen felt the need to lie to me about revenue shares. But by this point I was exhausted with “trying to see Boen’s side of things”, I had already spent years trying to be understanding and sympathetic. I was ready to cut my losses, and I suggested that Tivo do the same. There was no sense in trying to talk to or negotiate with someone who could so consistently not be trusted to tell the truth.
13. Tivo and other friends offer to help me leave Canada.
Aside from Boen and his family, Tivo was the only other person I knew who was physically present in the local area. While we did have an altercation when I first joined the Fight Knight dev server, we overall had a positive and friendly personal relationship. At times Tivo would vent to me about the lack of maturity he saw in Karl and others in Boen’s friends group. I was initially afraid to talk about Boen negatively with Tivo, but I felt it was important that Tivo, as the co-creator of Fight Knight, at least know the truth if Boen had indeed lied to him about critical aspects of Fight Knight’s development.
Tivo offered to help me collect my cats and belongings safely from Boen’s place as well as drive me to the border of Canada so I could return to the United States. Another friend who lived in the eastern United States had taken it upon herself to make plans to drive to the border to ferry me back to her home. She offered to give me and my cats a safe place to rest and time to consider what I would do with the smoldering remains of my life and career.
In less than a couple weeks, by the beginning of August 2020, I would finally be leaving Canada, Boen, Fight Knight, and Devil Engine behind me. I had spent three years of non-stop and mostly unpaid work on my “games industry career” and now would have absolutely nothing to show for it.
After having “played my hand” and risked my reputation to whistleblow Dangen’s many abuses, I didn’t think anyone would believe me about what I’d experienced with Boen and Sinoc. I thought I’d be viewed as a boy who’d cried wolf one too many times. I told myself that I’d have to make my peace with how much I’d allowed Boen and Sinoc to take advantage of me and simply move on.
I looked forward to what my friend promised me would be a very comfortable stay at her place. She asked me what my favorite flavor and brand of ice cream was and told me she’d have a big tub of it waiting for me in her freezer.
Then I began having strangely vivid nightmares of Boen having sexually assaulted me in my sleep over the course of our relationship.
14. Our sexual relationship.
Boen had a fetish for non-consensual sex with women who were unconscious, such as when drugged with sleeping pills, hypnotized, or via fantastical technologies such as mind control helmets or audio files imbued with the ability to reprogram women’s minds. I didn’t view this as problematic as it seemed fairly unrealistic that any of these methods of rendering a woman incapable of remembering a sexual assault could actually work, and Boen assured me as well that these fantasies were exactly that, mere fantasies.
I wasn’t offended by this fetish, but I also wasn’t incredibly interested in it either. It’d be impossible for me to enjoy sex if I couldn’t remember it had occurred or I was literally unconscious while it happened. Still, a healthy sexual relationship was important to me, so I tried my best to accommodate Boen’s sexual preferences.
There were times where I was uncomfortable with Boen’s behavior. I’ll try to explain one such encounter in a bit of detail to illustrate my point.
I had scheduled to spend the winter of 2018 with Boen and his family in Canada; my flight was just before Halloween that year. Boen lived in a very affluent neighborhood surrounded by elementary schools and he was excited to show me how elaborately decorated things got to be during the holiday.
However, I fell ill with a cough and high fever in the days leading up to my flight. Boen was well aware of how ill I was to the extent that we both debated whether I should go to the clinic shortly after my arrival.
In the days leading up to my arrival and on Halloween itself, I had to type in order to communicate because my throat was too raw from coughing to find speaking easy.
By the time trick or treaters began visiting the house, my fever had reached 100°F. Boen implored me to at least have a look out the window at the decorations, but I was too dizzy to even sit up in bed.
Boen spent a bit of time with his family downstairs for their Halloween festivities, but soon came back upstairs to our room to spend time with me instead. He’d really been looking forward to showing me around his neighborhood on Halloween, but now I was too sick to do much but lie in bed. I was worried about making him sick as well, but he insisted on at least cuddling while I rested.
Boen began trying to initiate sex by rubbing at my clitoris with his fingers.
I was really confused. He’d just a bit ago begged me to at least try sitting up enough to look out the window. Surely he must know that I was too sick to have sex? I could barely speak as well. I tried to make it clear that I wasn’t interested and managed to whisper, “I’m sick.”
Boen explained that he’d missed me a lot and that he’d really been looking forward to having sex with me again.
I didn’t even know what to say except to repeat that I was sick. He apologized and pulled his hand away.
Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I felt Boen touching my clitoris again. I snapped at him. He apologized and said that he’d “forgot”.
I wondered, forgot what? That I was too sick to sit up in bed? That I had just said no to having sex a few minutes ago?
But I didn’t have the energy to press the issue. I physically found it too difficult to speak much. I went back to sleep, and tried to ignore how confusing and uncomfortable I’d found Boen’s lack of common sense to be.
There were other encounters where Boen tried to initiate sex when I was tired, half asleep, sick, or otherwise uninterested. Sometimes he initiated very rough penetrative sex quite suddenly.
When I tried to confront him about how uncomfortable I was with these sexual encounters, he often claimed that I had said something or done something that “made it clear” that I wanted to have sex just prior to his initiation of it. These claims did not match my recollection of events, but he became defensive regardless of how “gently” I tried to discuss the topic so we made little progress, and apologies given after the fact rang hollow. I asked him to at least remember to avoid similar actions in the future, but of course, he “forgot” and would repeat these uncomfortable behaviors.
After we broke up, I began having “nightmares” about Boen sexually assaulting me while I was half asleep, or deliberately ignoring my pleas to stop sexual acts I found uncomfortable or painful. I began remembering times I had awoken from these “nightmares” and Boen would insist that I’d simply had a bad dream and to forget all about it.
15. My friends withdraw their support.
At the time, I didn’t know what to call what I was experiencing, so I referred to them as “nightmares”. A year later, after consulting with several psychiatrists and therapists, I’ve been told that these are most likely to be “flashbacks” to real traumatic events, so I will use that term from now on.
I was terrified by what I was experiencing and detailed what I was going through in a private Discord server. I had given access to Tivo and a few other friends that I had felt comfortable confiding my relationship troubles to up to that point. They all expressed anger towards Boen and insisted I make my escape from Canada as quickly as possible.
However, when the time came for Tivo and other friends to confirm plans they had made to help me leave Canada, they suddenly began ignoring my messages. Tivo began retweeting Karl’s gamedev posts and claimed that his mother had forbade him from helping me.
With no other option, I had to contact Boen myself about retrieving my cats and belongings.
Boen sent me chat logs of a group chat that contained him, Tivo, the friend who had offered her home to me, and another friend I’d known since childhood. Apparently they had contacted Boen and copy pasted text and even audio recordings of my flashbacks to him. While claiming to help me, they had actually been “milking” me for information to share to Boen and were urging Boen to throw my cats in a shelter and my belongings in the garbage.
16. I leave Canada with my cats.
Boen offered me a few thousand dollars for the work I’d done on Fight Knight up to that point and asked that I repair his reputation. My trust in anyone had been deeply damaged by seeing Tivo and my closest friends doing their utmost to harm me behind my back. I withdrew from almost everyone, regardless of whether I had any reason to distrust them or not, as I now had no faith in my own judgment of anyone’s character.
Ironically, the only person I felt I could fully confide in anymore was Boen himself. He may have lied to me throughout our relationship, but he had control over the safety of my cats and my luggage. Pretending that my flashbacks were all figments of my imagination felt much, much easier than facing the reality that my closest friends had aided and abetted an abusive rapist.
I hired an Uber driver to take me and my two cats to the border, then slowly made my way across the country via a series of rental cars and Airbnbs. It bears repeating that this took place throughout the quarantine lockdowns, protests, and even a hurricane. I was still suffering from poor physical health as well as flashbacks and panic attacks. Safe travel was slow, difficult, and expensive.
Boen withheld my luggage from me claiming it would be too dangerous and difficult for me to handle ferrying my two cats and all of my worldly possessions across the continent at the same time. He promised to send them to me later; I received my luggage in February 2021, over 6 months later.
17. My complicity with slurs and bigotry, and an apology.
Boen, Sinoc, Karl, and nearly everyone I worked with was part of the same private Discord server. We were a tightly knit group of about 10 developers and teams. A majority of the developers were straight white men, but the majority of ALL game developers are straight white men, so the group reflecting these demographics didn’t concern me at all.
Being not straight, not white, and not male, I’d gotten very used to laughing off slurs. I felt pride in not caring about “just words”. Slur usage was casual in our group and mostly a holdover from various 4chan memes. I viewed this language as harmless, and I thought everyone else was on the same page as far as “actually” respecting people “when it mattered”.
It was only after I published the Dangen Warning and after the events I’ve detailed in this document that I realized that Boen, Tivo, Sinoc, Karl, and a majority of the people I worked with were only interested in using the guise of advocacy when it benefited them.
I still stand by everything I wrote in the Dangen Warning. But I’ve since regret that it’s allowed Boen and Sinoc to wear the mantle of “industry abuse victim”, with all the benefits and sympathies that afforded them.
I allowed them to use my status as a minority and a woman to avail themselves of the support of advocates while paying nothing of this support back towards other abuse victims in return.
I feel ashamed that it took me experiencing negative consequences myself to even notice the hypocrisy and selfishness I had enabled. I’m sorry.
18. My contributions to the story of Fight Knight.
My main contribution to the story of Fight Knight comes from giving the main antagonist a real background and character arc. While it was always intended for there to be an implied existing rivalry between the player character and “Strike Knight”, the script as it was turned into Dangen in August 2018 wholly lacked any substance to his plot. His character was one dimensional and his only function was to “be a villain”, as in, show up at regular intervals and scream a few lines of dialogue about how much he hated the player character before engaging in a boss battle.
THE TOWER ascends without warning. It consumes the land it rises from, growing ever higher with each appearance. Those trapped within the Tower’s shadow are cursed to live in an eternal night… until, before long, it vanishes as quick as it came. The wise can predict its next appearance, and fools seek the treasures within. But the Tower is full of the twisted forms of the people and places it has consumed in its many ascents, preventing the brave and the ignorant alike from climbing its cursed halls. Surely some great reward awaits the one who reaches the top! But with such powerful and evil sorcery afoot, who could possibly reach its summit?
I wrote the copy as it currently is as of August 5th, 2021 on the Steam page. I changed or strengthened vast swaths of the lore of Fight Knight, such as how the Tower’s “magic” works, and the true “character” of the Tower itself was modified by me to be more nuanced. Elements of the Tower were taken from how the TV World works in Persona 4.
I changed Strike Knight’s name to “Rivale de la Rose” and created the concept for the culture of the kingdom he hails from as well as his motivation for hating the player character. Since Rivale is only met at a few key moments in the game, I suggested we add a character close to Rivale who showed up more frequently and could serve to flesh out Rivale’s character in a natural and character driven way, without engaging in awkward “lore dumps” or “flashbacks”.
An arm for an arm!
The Prince called the Tower to take what was taken.
But vengeance comes at great cost…
Finally, I added the framing technique of fairy tale verses that would explain the story of Fight Knight as the player progressed. These fairy tale verses were carefully written to allow the player to have different impressions of the story they were supposed to tell as they learned more, a technique baldly inspired by Revolutionary Girl Utena and Odin Sphere.
I’ve spent a portion of my life physically disabled and have some family with disabilities, so accessibility options and representation of disability are fairly important to me. I spent a fair few hours playtesting and gave advice on how to best accommodate those with color blindness or motion sickness. I also added themes of struggling with physical disability to one of the main characters.
I wrote the story of Fight Knight to be about making a mistake in a moment of shame, setting off a curse, causing massive collateral damage, and painstakingly, brick by brick, undoing the wrong that had been done.
I put a lot of myself into Fight Knight, and I don’t know how much is still there, but I hope that those messages still shine through.
19. The purpose of this document.
When I read about the woman at Activision Blizzard who was harassed until she commit suicide, I had a lot of questions.
Who did she try to confide to? Did they copy paste her chat logs directly to her abusers? Did they enjoy a feeling of solidarity while banding together to make her feel uncomfortable and unwelcome?
How many people witnessed what happened to her? How many people thought to themselves, “well, she should really just learn to laugh it off”?
I directly witnessed a young woman being groomed by an employee of Dangen Entertainment in 2018. We were at a company dinner and a fair number of famous developers were present. She had just lost her job at another game company and was loudly complaining about the matter at the table. The Dangen employee was easily a decade older than her. He soothed her, then put his hand on her thigh, under the hem of her short thin dress. They poured beer on each other’s faces and then began making out in front of everyone. The table watched them quietly.
I finished the beer I was drinking and made an excuse to stumble over to a different table. I thought this woman was an idiot and that it was little wonder she’d lost her job. The last thing I’d wanted to see was a gross old guy making out with some dumb slut right next to me. While explaining what happened that night to some friends later, I casually brought up how nasty witnessing this makeout session was. Also, I was pretty sure that bitch stole my phone charger, which I’d left at the table. I got a few laughs.
Then I forgot about her. The Devil Engine situation was falling apart and Boen had forgotten to fill out some critical paperwork. I was physically ill, my day job had piled on unexpected work.
When I saw the CEO of Dangen Entertainment outed as a groomer on Twitter a few months later, my stomach flipped. He’d basically said and done similarly uncomfortable things to me. I had brushed these moments off as “awkward”, and when he offered me one sixth the salary of his employees to do the same work as them, I turned him down. I was proud of myself. I wasn’t like the other girls who’d fallen for such cheap tricks.
I was proud of myself. I felt sick. I wasn’t like the other girls. I felt sick. I felt ashamed. Why did they let themselves be treat that way? I was proud of myself, and I felt sick.
Why didn’t I say anything? Why did no one say anything? Why did I just walk away? Why did I make fun of her? Why did I think she was a stupid slut — why didn’t I think that Dangen employee was a pathetic sex predator?
I remember mentioning to Boen, “Isn’t this stuff coming out about Ben Judd nuts? I’m so glad we’re not working with these assholes anymore. Can you imagine if we were still working with them right now?”
Boen replied, “Yeah, but if they were actually a good publisher, we would’ve just ignored all this crap, right?”
Over the past year, as I continued to suffer through flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks, I thought a lot about what I did to deserve what happened to me. I thought a lot about what my friends had to gain from pretending to support me while copying everything I said to Boen and eagerly suggesting ways to make my life worse. I thought a lot about the people I’d helped in the games industry and how most of them quietly watched as I screamed for someone to please god just help me get my cats somewhere safe, and I thought a lot about how many of them quietly liked the tweet I made about patching things up with Boen before deleting my Twitter entirely.
I thought a lot about the fans who supported Sinoc while he gloated about stealing the assets and revenue share from the rest of the Devil Engine team. I thought a lot about Boen and his friends when they retweeted Karl’s gamedev posts at the same time as they tweeted support for the victims of the Activision Blizzard work culture.
I thought a lot about how I thought that girl was a dumb slut. I thought a lot about how I walked away.
I don’t know what I was supposed to do. I don’t know her name. I don’t have her permission to talk about what I saw. Her story isn’t mine to tell.
When I read about the woman at Activision Blizzard who was harassed until she commit suicide, I had a lot of questions. But she can’t answer any of them. She can’t speak for herself. She can’t tell us what she did wrong, and she can’t tell us what she did right.
We will never hear her side of that story now. With that in mind, I’ve written mine.
My story isn’t about one abuser and one victim. My story is about an industry where we decorate our company logos with rainbows and talk a lot about solidarity, and then we finish our beers and stumble over to a different table.