Remember Save Me Mr Tako: Tasukete Tako-San? This Game Boy-style adventure was given a glowing 8/10 review by us in 2018 and seemed destined to receive a lovely physical edition at one point. But sitting here right now, in The Year of Our Lord 2020, it's currently impossible to purchase this delightful game.
That's because Christophe Galati, the developer, has parted company with publisher Nicalis, which means the title has been delisted from all digital storefronts. "After being published by Nicalis for two years it was time to go separate ways," Galati told us exclusively. "I can’t discuss this matter more but I’m excited to be able to exploit my game again and do things with my IP."
While Galati has been nothing but professional about the whole matter and, in October, issued a statement in which he spoke in positive terms of his relationship with Nicalis, reading between the lines it's fairly easy to detect a degree of tension between the two. When revelations regarding the business practices of Nicalis surfaced last year, Save me Mr Tako was cited as an example of the publisher's lack of commitment to its partners.
According to Kotaku:
Earlier this month, the developer of a Game Boy-styled platformer called Save Me, Mr. Tako told a similar story, writing on Twitter that he’d submitted a new patch for his game that added an easy mode and fixed some of players’ complaints. “But it’s up to Nicalis to decide when it will come out,” he wrote. “It’s ready, and I guess it will come out on Steam first. Really hope it will be soon because it’s frustrating to see people complaining about issues I fixed a while back.” In response, Rodriguez wrote on Twitter that Tako hadn’t sold well enough to justify implementing the patch. “Unfortunately, the game did not yet make back what we put into it,” he said. “We have a policy of stringent QA testing before pushing releases, and we do not have the space in our budget to QA test the patch so we can push it out.”
It's easy to see, then, why Galati has been so keen to wrestle back control over his game. Unfortunately, because the title was totally delisted from digital stores, it does mean that anyone who has already purchased it will have to pay all over again once it becomes available – although Galati tells us that he is looking into ways of doing a "special sale" or a code giveaway to those who have already paid money for it.
As for when the game will reappear, Galati can't say for sure, but he's hoping that it will be back on Switch and Steam by Spring 2021. And while a lot of other people might have been put off by the experience of working with a publisher, Galati reveals that he'll still be teaming up with a third-party to release the game – on Switch, at least. "From now on I’ll handle PC myself, it includes Steam and maybe other stores that the game wasn’t published on before," he tells us. "For consoles, the game will be handled by another publisher I haven’t revealed yet, but I can’t wait for you to discover what we are planning early next year!"
Indeed, Galati is hard at work on the game as we speak, which should result in an even better experience than the one we played (and enjoyed) back in 2018:
I’m currently playtesting and polishing the patch of the game I’ve been working on since the release in 2018. I watched many streams of the game, read reviews and I agree that many aspects could be improved. I worked especially on rebalancing the game, adding features like new difficulty modes (with hearts), a hint system to avoid players getting lost, quality of life features like an auto palette mode, a better dialog box and more. I hope all those changes will make the game more accessible so more players will be able to enjoy the world and story I put my heart into creating.
The saga of Save me Mr Tako has been a difficult one for Galati personally, but he's keen to take away some important lessons from the whole experience – lessons he intends to apply to Himitsu Project, his next venture:
Save me Mr Tako is the first game I developed as an indie, starting back when I was 19. I learned a lot of things creating it, it opened many doors and introduced me to many aspects of this industry. Those past two years were very frustrating, seeing players complain about issues in the game I wish I could have seen before the release, unfortunately after 4 years of making it mostly on my own I couldn’t feel them anymore, especially the difficulty. It’s a shame I wasn’t allowed to patch the game before, but now that I can I’m doing what it takes to give Tako the second chance it deserves. I’m also applying all the things I learned into my new game, Himitsu Project, that I’ll be able to focus on more once “Save me Mr Tako!” is back in stores.