Sabotage Studio, developer of indie RPG Sea of Stars, has removed the appearance of YouTuber Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil as a cameo in the game. The move follows the ongoing investigations into The Open Hand Foundation, a fundraising body created by Khalil’s family.
Sabotage and Khalil had a close working relationship, with Khalil consistently giving the studio a spot in IndieLand, an annual charity stream to support The Open Hand Foundation, and supporting Sea of Stars on Kickstarter. Sabotage created specific content for use in IndieLand, and eventually added Khalil as an NPC called Jirard the Constructionist in the release version of Sea of Stars.
But now there are allegations Khalil committed charity fraud through The Open Hand Foundation, via YouTubers Mutahar “SomeOrdinaryGamers” Anas and Karl Jobst. Following further investigations, and responses from Khalil, Anas, and Jobst, Sabotage has now replaced Jirard the Constructionist in a new Sea of Stars patch.
“We arrived at this decision after carefully monitoring events over the past few weeks,” Sabotage co-founder and game director Thierry Boulanger wrote on the studio’s Discord server on 15th December. “While it is not our place to pass judgement,” Boulanger continued, “we do make it a priority to maintain a positive and optimistic space that reflects the spirit of our intentions, be they creative or otherwise.”
Sabotage has replaced Khalil’s NPC cameo with a character called Bob, presumed to be a reference to Bob the Builder.
Khalil denied allegations of forgery, embezzlement and charity fraud in a video response uploaded on 9th December, in which he also revealed he is “no longer a part of The Open Hand Foundation for the foreseeable future” and has stepped down from his position as a board member. If IndieLand continues, it will have “no charity component”, Khalil added.