Upcoming slice-of-life game A Space for the Unbound has been delayed indefinitely as its developers Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio have terminated their agreement with publisher PQube following a funding dispute.
The Indonesian-based developers released a statement on August 24 claiming they had been exploited and manipulated by PQube, who allegedly withheld a third-party diversity grant awarded to the studios and used it as leverage to increase its revenue share.
PQube has denied these allegations, however, telling IGN that it has fully honoured its publishing agreement and that Toge Productions has tried to enforce unreasonable revised terms.
The statement from Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio reads: “Earlier this year we discovered that PQube Games, a UK-based publisher that we signed for the console publishing of A Space For The Unbound for western regions, had done certain things which have left us feeling manipulated and exploited, and so we have had to terminate our agreement with them.
“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020, PQube Games used our position and heritage as developers from Indonesia to obtain a diversity fund from a well know console platform. 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 Games intentionally withheld information about the grant and used it as a leverage for their own commercial gain. Rather than paying the grant money to us, PQube Games 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.”
The studios said they were “absolutely heartbroken” over the matter and “clearly cannot trust PQube Games nor continue to work together”. The publisher “has fallen considerably short not only of reasonable decency, but also of their obligations to us due to these predatory practices. 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,” they said.
PQube’s response issued to IGN denied the studios’ claims, however. “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,” it said.
“This support has included offering significant further funding, over and above grant funding, to support development, porting, and marketing. 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.”
The remaining fallout between PQube and the developers will likely happen behind closed doors but, given their desire to speak out on the issue, there will likely be further developments down the line. Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio will also be seeking a new publisher for the western console editions of A Space For The Unbound, though didn’t indicate that they have any plans on that front currently.
A Space For the Unbound was first announced in 2020 and is promised to be a relaxed, story-driven game set in late ’90s Indonesia. It follows the relationship between a boy and a girl with supernatural powers and features themes surrounding anxiety and depression.
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Author: Ryan Dinsdale