An adult video game whose development was raking in an astonishing US$42.3k a month on Patreon has been cancelled, after its art director bailed with the game’s assets in hand.

The Breeding Season was billed as “Harvest Moon meets Hentai” and “the unholy combination of a farming sim and a sex game”. It allowed players to breed people with half-person half-animals and other mythical creations for reasons I cannot fathom, but many others could: it was backed by 10,796 people on Patreon, putting it at the top of that site’s video games category according to Patreon tracking site Pledge Society.

However, late last week the plug was pulled on the game’s Patreon, after art director Vladimir Sandler (AKA S-Purple) left the project, taking his art assets and half the studio’s savings with him. He then started his own Patreon for a new game called Cloud Meadow.

Sandler was able to do this as his contract stated that he would retain the rights to his artwork.

“I didn’t know when I made that contract that this project would ever be anywhere near as successful as it became,” wrote one of the game’s developers, HartistaPipebomb, in a blog post lambasting Sandler.

“S had gone entirely behind our backs to spend an entire month's worth of work (for which he collected over $9,000 of patron money, by the way) working on a new project that he planned to abandon Breeding Season entirely for.

“Not even once had he brought up to me the notion of him leaving the project or faced me directly with his desire for different leadership. Instead he took the most cowardly possible option… and straight-up swindled us.”

HartistaPipebomb also wrote that Sandler had been “a massive source of inflating the scope of the game in completely unreasonable ways”, and “a spiteful, unpleasant person who can't control his own anger in a professional setting or accept not getting anything the way he wants”.

“Not only this, but he has been resolute in rejecting my offer to buy the assets from him, meaning he's not even just trying to extort the project even further than he already has, but he actively wants to fuck over the entire thing… It's not just unethical, it's completely fucking absurd," HartistaPipebomb added.

“I think it is extremely important that all the patrons who donated generously in hopes of seeing this project reach completion tell S-Purple directly exactly how they feel about his decisions.”

HartistaPipebomb then encouraged his or her readers to steal Sandler’s art and distribute it around the net.

“Wouldn't it be funny, though, if just somehow some particularly dedicated fan were to guess the password to my Dropbox account (I'm the worst with coming up with secure passwords, I always put something obvious like the name of my favorite fighting game series or something) and were to get ahold of the folder containing every file involved in the game's creation?,” he wrote.

“Then wouldn't it be funny if they went around posting this to various places, like say 8chan and the LoK forums, etc?

“That would be illegal, since those assets belong to S-Purple, and therefore I would never condone someone actually doing that. But wouldn't it be funny?”

Unsurprisingly, Sandler sees things differently.

In his own blog post, he claimed that HBomb was a terrible project manager and “fully responsible for the team disintegrating”.

“The reason I left Breeding Season team is that all the extra hours and additional work streams could not fix what was fundamentally wrong with the project,” Sandler wrote.

“The slow programming, lack of supervision from HBomb, as well as his constant absence, pretty much doomed this project. I knew something had to give to make good on the spirit of promises made.

"Cloud Meadow was not made to simply steal the profits of Breeding Season for myself, but to actually save what I could of the Breeding Season Project, and deliver on the spirit of the promises made by the project," he added.

"The way the actual Breeding Season game development was going, it would never have actually been finished, even if myself and the other artists worked 24/7.

“I could have sold those assets to HBomb, but if I had left the art assets in, all my experience with HBomb up to this point leads me to believe that he would have simply sat on the art assets, continued to collect money from the Patreon, and not made any actual updates to the game. People would have been throwing money down a hole, and I refused to allow my work to enable that.”

At the time of writing, Cloud Meadow was pulling in US$2,835 from 705 backers on Patreon.