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TimeGate's shooter Minimum was a Square Enix project before being hit by restructuring

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Minimum, the minimalist, free-to-play game coming to PC via Steam, was originally going to be published by Square Enix, according to an affidavit filed in developer TimeGate Studios' bankruptcy case. The struggling Japanese publisher pulled out of the project in December as part of its company-wide restructuring.

According to testimony from John T. Young, Jr., the chief restructuring officer in TimeGate's Chapter 11 case, Square Enix invested "approximately $3 million into the development of Minimum and agreed to fund additional amounts after the release of the game."

Square Enix's termination of its publishing agreement with TimeGate was one of several factors that contributed to the Sugar Land, Texas-based developer seeking bankruptcy protection, according to the affidavit. In addition to investing $1 million of its own money to continue developing Minimum, Young testified that TimeGate's revenue from work for hire projects "declined substantially" late last year, seemingly after it completed its work on Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Additionally, after an appeals court reinstated a multi-million dollar arbitration award to SouthPeak Interactive, leaving TimeGate facing $7.35 million in damages, the developer "was unable to consummate any transaction to finance the completion of Minimum." The ruling also "negatively impacted" negotiations with other publishers and distributors, which were ongoing in April.

Without funding and a decrease in contract work, TimeGate faced a "severe liquidity crisis." The affidavit says TimeGate's work for hire business on two unnamed projects generated about $15 million from 2010 through 2012. In the affidavit, TimeGate lists one work for hire job with WB Games Montreal for which it is still owed approximately $725,000. The work may be related to WB Games Montreal's Batman: Arkham Origins, as TimeGate's contribution to the project is scheduled to conclude August 2013, two months before the game's release on Oct. 25.

TimeGate Studios, which has also developed the Section 8 and Kohan series, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas Southern Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday, listing liabilities ranging from $10 million to $50 million.

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