AeternoBlade II devs allege European publishing rights held hostage

On Twitter, developer Corecell has published a statement against publisher PQube regarding the publishing rights of its game, AeternoBlade II

“We’ve struggled to recover since we signed a publishing deal with PQube,” begins Corecell’s statement. “Hopefully, this will help other indie game developers to avoid what has happened to us and inform our fans about our situation.” 

Corecell’s AeternoBlade II was published on consoles by PQube in Europe on October 2019. Corecell alleges that PQube had only paid the developers a small amount of the “minimum guarantee” that was previously agreed upon. And that the remaining milestones for the game were never paid, period. 

In late August, Indonesian developers Mojikin and Toge Productions had accused PQube Games of “exploitative” publishing practices, including withholding a diversity fund meant for the game’s development. Like Corecell, Mojikin ultimately ended its publishing agreement with PQube, and its first game, A Space for the Unbound, has been indefinitely delayed. 

PQube called Mojikin and Toge’s accusations false, saying at the time that Toge was trying to “unilaterally enforce unreasonable revised terms to our agreement. It is disappointing that…Toge have sought to deal with the matter in this way.”

Despite efforts to try and come to an agreement, Corecell ultimately terminated its relationship with PQube in September 2020. Publishing rights were meant to return to Corecell, but PQube has allegedly held onto the rights since then, and continues to earn revenue for sold copies of the game. 

Because Corecell is based in Thailand, and PQube is based in the UK, the developers knew they couldn’t pay the legal fees to take PQube to court. The developers contacted the European departments of Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony to reacquire publishing control. 

Currently, both Nintendo and Sony have removed AeternoBlade II from their European stores, and Corecell has yet to receive any revenue from those previous sales. Meanwhile, Corecell said it had to do “various additional works” in order to get out of its financial hole. 

“PQube offered to hand over publishing control to us only if we agreed to keep this matter secret, but we no longer wanted to be involved in any more deals with PQube,” continues Corecell. It concluded its statement by saying it wishes “no harmful action” towards on PQube. Corecell also tweeted at Mojikin, telling the Indonesian developer that it was not alone.

Game Developer has reached out to PQube Games and will update accordingly.

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