(Sorry for the wall of text but I want to be as upfront and clear as possible on this... since I'm being called out by name here)
A bit of backstory as I've kept quiet about a lot of things for years:
Khan and a few other NA Homebrew Developers have apparently been on some weird tirade against me when I originally commissioned the game back in 2015 to be created and released along side my Complete NES collector's book. This was to the point where I found out they may have tried to sabotage the game at NintendoAge Campout before the Kickstarter had ended because of a collecting joke I had going on with K3VBOT which they took out of context. It was something where I texted him about doing JWBBC on RetroUSB boards as he was collecting for that at the time, which was manipulated that I was trying to pressure him to buy the game... I was confused on that, as I was joking with him, but by the time NA Campout occured we were already using InfiniteNESLives boards due to it using Mapper30 so the game was never going to be on RetroUSB boards. (The really dumb joke was he wasn't counting Limited Edition releases like Lady Frogger as part of a full RetroUSB collection, or something like that, but crazy to take that out of context as it's so niche.) (Side note: I gifted K3VBOT a JWBBC prototype for NA Secret Santa in 2016 I think, which was a RetroUSB board with the NES homebrew Rick'Roll'd on it). I didn't put together all these pieces of people having toxic drama until after I created the Secret Santa gift. I even had talked to most of this Homebrew Developer group in person when they were cool with me to my face, but not behind my back... (I've seen similar toxicity from the same group of people currently surrounding NESmaker community, which is unfortunate to see...) But that's all just to put the nature of certain comments I've seen here and on Twitter in context.
As for the Jeffrey Wittenhagen's Black Box Challenge agreement:
As I mentioned above, the game was agreed to be created and associated with my Kickstarter campaign, which I would pay for through backer funding in order to have the game created for my campaign. I paid for the development of the game upfront in 2015, based on a verbal agreement with Rob from Sly Dog, providing more money to the developer than was initially asked for. (This is why the RE and LE versions of the game were more expensive on the Kickstarter so I could directly pay Rob out of the backer contributions) Rob had some unexpected bills at the time and as the game was pretty popular in the Kickstarter campaign, I had no problems with paying extra out of the game funds, which I ended up using a percentage of overall game sales to calculate the amount. The game was being worked on for a couple of years with updates being provided by Rob via YouTube, which I updated backers with. It was completed in 2017 and Sly Dog sent the finished ROM over to me. I ordered the boards and shells from INL, the labels from Uncle Tusk and boxes/manuals from thisroomisanillusion, which I assembled all boards/shells/labels etc by hand and shipped out myself to all the backers. I created the boxes and manual before the game was done so it's using demo sprites too. There were a few extra copies of the game that I had left over which I sold to help pay for the insane international shipping costs, which I undercharged for during the Kickstarter campaign.
Non-Agreement for the other release:
After it was completed and released in 2017, I found out that Rob took my name off the title screen in game and was re-releasing it later that year, which was news to me. It wasn't part of our verbal agreement, as it was always intended from the conception of the idea to be named after me as it was created to go along with my collector's book. I commissioned the box artwork from a GPC artist which was also used the custom logo he created on the in-game title screen (including in the re-release version without my name), my wife and daughter are NPCs in the game, among Kickstarter backers that helped make the game possible by paying for the development through NPC tiers. So there was more than just my name in the title screen to this game. But even though I was confused why he did all this, I honestly was fine with more people being able to experience the game as it is an amazing RPG. So I didn't cause a stink with him doing a version without my name on it, even if he still used my custom title artwork without permission, among other things. It also sucked to see the Homebrew developer community that I have always supported ignore my version, even with podcasts and such. But that's also when I put together the pieces from the toxic folk mentioned above. I looked past all that as I work a full time job and I honestly hate all that drama and try to steer clear.
Agreement to re-release the game (that apparently was forgotten):
A year or so later at multiple conventions I found out that Regular Edition versions of JWBBC were being resold for hundreds of dollars. I eventually e-mailed INL after the third or forth time and asked if at least the basic version could be restocked (as it was unavailable in March of 2019 so I couldn't point people to his site). Rob chimed in (as he was apparently auto-CC'd by INL) about not wanting anything to do with the game anymore and if he did a re-release his profits would go to charity. (I found out today when trying to reference those e-mails that were directly from Rob that they had been retracted, which is odd considering those posting about me now) After that exchange, INL and Rob had a side conversation which he agreed to me being able to re-release and publish my version of JWBBC. I'm assuming that Rob of Sly Dog forgot that he gave me permission to re-release the JWBBC version of the game as it was back in March of 2019. However just to keep everything on the up-and-up I have attached the e-mails from my conversation with INL showing that Rob gave permission for me to do a reprint of JWBBC. Notice also now INL recommended that I do not contact Rob to avoid further aggravation... which I agreed to.
Information on why I took this to Kickstarter now in 2020:
I spent the last year working on the idea a novel of the game, akin to the classic Worlds of Power books and collaborating with artist Charles Moisant to do awesome artwork based off a story around the game world that will tell how the events unfold. This to me made doing a re-release on Kickstarter worthwhile since it's not just simply reprinting the game, as I could have just done preorders for that on my website for those people who wanted the game. I am also planning on doing an Action-RPG sequel too, calling it "Jeffrey Wittenhagen's Action Adventure" or something like that, to continue the story I'm telling in the novel... I've been talking to a few developers and already have a pixel artist and programmer interested, but if there isn't interest in a sequel I won't pursue it. With all this toxicity around something that I was given permission to do, I doubt it'll meet that stretch goal anyhow...
Also, on the Kickstarter before I launched it I posted in the bottom of my campaign that "10% of the game-related profits are allocated to Sly Dog Studios should they want it, although they have indicated they want nothing to do with this version." So if Sly Dog wants to donate their proceeds to charity, as was talked about in 2019, they absolutely can. I also mentioned directly on the campaign about the non-JW version being available as well as the ROM being available for free, as I was trying to be 100% upfront with everything in the campaign prior to launching. The game re-release is for those who wanted my version, which I have gotten over 50+ requests in my store from people over the last couple years, which isn't on the main page so people had to search for it. I don't plan to continue production of JWBBC, as the main idea is to get the book series off the ground and this campaign should allow those who missed out JWBBC in 2015 and follow my works the opportunity to finally get their own CIB copy.
I don't know why some people just want to create drama and be toxic in this niche community, but heck I'll tell the story on the Collector's Quest Podcast if you guys want... It's wild that things seem to be this spun out of control when in reality I have supported the NES Homebrew community since almost day one and basically do not want to see games get resold for hundreds of dollars, especially if my name is attached to it. Re-releasing a game that I was given the okay to do, with my name on it, using my commissioned artwork from 2015 for that project, is such a weird thing to have to justify, especially with the verbal agreement and way my name was unknowingly taken off in the way it was. This is exactly why all business I do nowadays that requires creation of a new IP is done with a very clear and notarized contract. Live and learn but that's the facts from my side of this whole crazy ordeal... I'm sure people will chime in, but with this whole virus I won't have access to this site while at work. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.