Omori Dev Omocat Accused of Worker Exploitation

A former Omori Dev Melon has come out to accuse Omocat, the leading dev of Omori, of unfairly withholding royalties and emotionally manipulating her employees into unhealthy working conditions.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Omori is an RPG-maker, psychological horror game following a troubled exploring their dreams and nightmares, reconnecting with long-lost friends, and confronting a repressed past.

Though it boasts a fantastic, hand-drawn art style that has seen critical acclaim, winning the Darly Dramatic award at the Dreamies and earning overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam, the production of Omori has long been known to be a complicated and drawn-out process.

Between the game seeing release years after the dev’s promised as well as running into the severe backlash with Kickstarter backers accusing it of being a scam, in a follow-up tweet a year after the game’s production, Omocat details the emotional and mental toll the game took in “barely [finishing] the game with only month of funding left.”

Even so, former Omori dev Melon has come out in a Twitter thread to accuse Omocat of underpaying and mistreating her staff by withholding royalties and emotionally manipulating her workers.

As Melon details in their thread, Omocat “would guilt me into keep working as hard as I did before despite the blatant toll on my body and say she expected better of me and would constantly downplay my illness.”

Furthermore, Melon details in the thread that just before the game’s launch, Omocat said, “She’s taking back the royalties she promised earlier in the year,” with Melon paraphrasing Omocat saying,” ‘I thought you deserved it, but everyone else voted no.”

Though these severe accusations paint a rather mean portrait of Omocat, Melon shared some screenshots of their chat with the Omori dev, discussing removing Melon’s royalties and downplaying Melon’s role in the game’s development.

Screenshot of Melon and Omocat’s discord chat regarding Melon’s royalties.

To be fair, these screenshots paint a calmer situation, with Omocat bringing up Melon not having worked as long as the rest of the team and Melon assenting, though the six blocked messages potentially point out there was more to this situation revolving around making this decision a team vote.

Additionally, Omocat has since released a public response on Twitter to Melon (she said Melon blocked her on DMs) that apologizes to Melon for ignoring their health and overworking them.

She details her decision to remove royalties as a product of Melon causing friction with other team members by “overwriting other people’s code, adding unapproved content…and leaving Omori’s development months before the end of production.”

Even so, Omocat then goes on to admit that “the way [she] handled the situation about revoking [Melon’s] royalties was unprofessional” in putting it up to a team vote and that she “would like to resolve this issue in a professional way as she should have done in the first place.”

Frankly, though it’s fair to accuse Omocat of mistreating her staff, as overworking her employee and then proceeding to put Melon’s royalties to a vote seems cruel and dispassionate, it’s refreshing at least to know that Omocat is trying to make amends with Melon and that they can work out this issue in a civil fashion.

Although Omocat was seemingly more strapped for money at the time, their successful ventures as a merchandise brand partnering with vtuber group Hololive has netted them burgeoning financial success, making it easier to compensate Melon and hopefully resolve this issue that satisfies Melon and hopefully mend any hurt feelings between the two developers.

Will Omocat’s Controversy Delay the Omori Manga?

Probably not. Considering the Omori Manga is being developed by Kodansha’s Seinen magazine, Monthly Afternoon, the novel adaptation of the hit video game will likely be unaffected by the abovementioned controversy.

Frankly, as a personal fan of Omori, while it’s upsetting to hear about this mistreatment that went into making my favorite game, it’s still hard not to look forward to an Omori Manga and the potential anime if things go well.

Further Reading

Even if the allegations above are rather upsetting, there is plenty of positive indie news to look forward to in the articles below!

Every Indie Announced at the Wholesome Snack Showcase

Day of the Devs At The Game Awards – All The Announcements

Hollow Knight Fan Pledges Daily Art Challenge Until Silksong Release

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