Coffee Talk publisher Toge Productions and Indonesian developer Mojiken have delayed pixelart slice-of-life A Space for the Unbound until further notice due to a dispute with Western partner PQube. A message, co-signed by the two companies, claims that PQube has left it “feeling manipulated and exploited”. The British firm has since replied, stating that Toge Productions has “sought for some time to unilaterally enforce unreasonable revised terms to our agreement”.
In the original message, shared by Toge Productions and Mojiken on Twitter, the companies claimed that PQube had acquired a “diversity fund from a well-known console platform” due to its Indonesian heritage. The letter continued: “The diversity fund was a grant fund intended to help underrepresented game developers, especially during the pandemic. However, instead of giving those funds to the developers as the grant was intended, PQube intentionally withheld information about the grant and used it as a leverage for their own commercial gain.”
It added: “Rather than paying the grant money to us, PQube hid the facts about the grant’s award and added it as a recoupable minimum guarantee, and then used it to negotiate the increase of their revenue share. We have only uncovered the true amount of these funds and their intended purposes in March 2022. We have to make a stand against exploitative publishers and speak up about this to stop things like this from happening again in the future. Thus, we are also announcing that we have terminated our contract with PQube.”
The letter concluded by claiming that PQube has “refused” to return publishing rights, effectively temporarily halting the project’s progress. “It is with a heavy heart that we must hold back the release of A Space for the Unbound so that we can make new arrangements and ensure that it is published as intended and in a way that is consistent with our and our community’s values.”
But since the letter was published, PQube has issued a statement to Gaming on Linux in response: “We have honoured all obligations of our publishing agreement and have supported Toge Productions at every stage of product development throughout their delays and difficulties. This support has included offering significant further funding, over and above grant funding, to support development, porting, and marketing.”
A spokesperson added: “Toge Productions have sought for some time to unilaterally enforce unreasonable revised terms to our agreement and it is disappointing that, as a result of not achieving that 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.”
A Space for the Unbound had been scheduled to release on both the PS5 and PS4, promising a “slice-of-life adventure game with beautiful pixelart set in the late 90s rural Indonesia that tells a story about overcoming anxiety, depression, and the relationship between a boy and a girl with supernatural powers”. Hopefully this dispute can ultimately be resolved amicably, but it’s not looking good so far.