Game space

Game developers say publisher leveraged identity for diversity money

A pixel art boy confronts a large monster.

Screenshot: mojiken

On August 24, Indonesian developers from independent game studios Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio announced that their new point-and-click adventure game A space for the unrelated is delayed indefinitely following the termination of their contract with publisher PQube Games. The developers were pressured into terminating their contract with the London-based company Girl Gun publisher, who reportedly handled console publishing in “western regions,” after feeling “manipulated and exploited” when using an unnamed diversity fund.

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020, PQube Games used our position and heritage as Indonesian developers to secure a diversity fund from a well-known console platform,” the authors write. developers in a public relations email that was also published. in full on Twitter. “However, instead of giving these funds to the developers as the grant was intended, PQube Games intentionally withheld information about the grant and used it as leverage for its own commercial gain.”

“Rather than pay us the grant money,” the developers continued, “PQube Games hid the facts about the grant award and added it as a minimum recoverable collateral, then used it to negotiate. increasing their revenue share.

Kotaku contacted Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio for comment. In their joint PR statement, the developers say that PQube Games “refuse” to grant them control of console publishing again, and therefore A space for the unrelatedThe delay stems from the team’s desire to “make new arrangements and ensure it is released as intended and in a way that is consistent with our values ​​and those of our community.”

According to PQube, whose PR team responded to my email request for comment, the publisher honored “all obligations of our publishing agreement and supported Toge Productions through every stage of product development while throughout their delays and difficulties.

“This support has included the provision of significant additional funding, in addition to grants, to support development, porting and marketing. Toge Productions has sought for some time to unilaterally apply unreasonable revised terms to our agreement, and it is disappointing that, due to failure to do so and despite PQube’s significant efforts to accommodate this, they have sought to deal with the matter in this way. . We will respond through the appropriate channels.

PQube did not clarify the status of the diversity funds or specify Toge Productions’ “unreasonable revised terms” in time for publication.

The developers ask this so-called frustrated A space for the unrelated players no boycott or review bomb PQube because “it will affect the developers who made the game and have nothing to do with our situation with A space for the unrelated.” The warning doesn’t seem to have been precipitated by anything (the main PQube titles seem to have their Steam and Google reviews intact, at least).

Despite its delay, A space for the unrelated has a downloadable demo now on Steam. The game, which “tells a story about overcoming anxiety, depression, and the relationship between a boy and a girl with supernatural powers,” according to its Steam description, is also showing in booths. in person and online as a member of Gamescom 2022 exhibition of independent games.