‘A Space For The Unbound’ delayed after “exploitation” by Western publisher

The studio accused publisher PQube Games of exploitation, manipulation and “predatory practices”

A Space For The Unbound has been delayed indefinitely after Toge Productions and developer Mojiken accused UK-based publisher PQube Games of exploitation, manipulation and “predatory practices.”

Responding to the accusations, PQube said they have “supported Toge Productions at every stage of product development throughout their delays and difficulties.”

A Space For The Unbound is a “slice-of-life adventure game, set in rural Indonesia that tells a story about overcoming anxiety, depression, and the relationship between a boy and a girl with supernatural powers.” It was due for release at some point in 2022 for PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.

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However, the game has now been delayed “until further notice.”

A joint statement from Toge Productions and developer Mojiken explained how they signed a console publishing deal for Western regions with UK-based PQube Games. They go on to say that the publisher “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 known console platform.” The diversity fund was a grant intended to help underrepresented game developers, 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. We have only uncovered the true amount of these funds and their intended purposes in March 2022.”

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The statement continued: “We are absolutely heartbroken that a party we worked with would do this and a project we have worked on for seven years has been taken advantage of in such a way.”

“Since the uncovering of this issue, we clearly cannot trust PQube Games nor continue to work together for the release of A Space For The Unbound as PQube Games 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. Thus, we are also announcing that we have terminated our contract with PQube Games.”

The statement goes on to accuse PQube Games of refusing to return publishing control on console platforms. Because of that “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.”

PQube have since shared a statement (via VGC) saying they will respond to the accusations through “the appropriate channels”.

However, PQube did also say that is has “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.”

“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. ”

A Space For The Unbound will still be playable at Gamescom, which kicked off last night with a two-hour showcase.

As part of that presentation, Dead Island 2 has finally been given a release date, alongside a new zombie-filled cinematic trailer with in-game footage.

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