Aeterno Blade II
Image: Corecell Team

Update #2 [Tue 6th Sep, 2022 18:30 BST]: Corecell has now responded to PQube with an "additional announcement", highlighting what it calls 'contradictions' in PQube's account of events and saying "There is consistency in the truth and confusion in lies."

Here's the statement in full, as sent to our inbox:

Dear Gamers

Pqube's statement contradicts by themselves: The first contradiction is, if they already return the rights, why the game is selling in the store under their name can click and check it. we never get publishing control back, we never insist to release in Oct 2019. Releasing the game requires mutual consent from both Corecell and Pqube.

We always involve Pqube in the process of QA until we think the game is good to go. Moreover, the process of manufacturing NSW, PS4 boxes requires 2-3 months and publisher money. Have you ever heard that the game developer controls the release date over the publisher?

The PC version is never in the contract. The contract says Pqube have only the first rights to refuse if we make another platform, unfortunately, they breach the contract by not paying the MG. After we sent the invoice. Pqube never answers for 4 months. We flew to the UK to discuss this in January 2020 but PQube offered to pay only 20% of the agreed amount separately for several months to end the conflict which is not acceptable for their predatory practice behavior. As a result, we terminated the contract in August 2020 before the PC version was released in September 2020.

We keep asking, begging Pqube to return the game after we sent the termination letter. We don't want any money from them anymore, just want our fans to get the new update when we update, fix bugs, and make any new content and we can get revenue from Europe to support the team to work on. Pqube requests us to sign the addendum to give up the rights to sue them and keep secret of the matter. We reject to sign anything. because the termination letter is already in effect and if Pqube continues to sell the game it is criminal to our intellectual property. Unbelievable that they never contact the platforms to return our game.

Despite what PQube said in the statement, the fact remains unchanged that: PQube has not yet paid us the agreed amount. We have not received any revenue from PQube sales in EU stores. PQube did not return the publishing control in EU back to us. There is consistency in the truth and confusion in lies.

Corecell Team

The original story can be found beneath the first update below.

Update [Fri 2nd Sep, 2022 15:00 BST]: PQube has responded to our request for comment with the following statement disputing Corecell's account and outlining its side of the story:

“We enjoyed working with Corecell on our first project together and Corecell were very happy with the success of this. We were pleased to work again with Corecell on Aeternoblade 2 and, despite delays and quality issues we endeavoured to release the game in October 2019 for them as they requested.

At our post launch meeting in January 2020 Corecell acknowledged significant product quality issues and agreed to provide critical fixes in order to make the game commercially viable. Unfortunately, these fixes never materialised and Corecell remained unresponsive. PQube remained prepared to pay the full guarantee for the game, despite the very poor reviews and sales, and to publish the PC version in line with PQube’s option in the agreement. Corecell agreed in March 2020 to provide the PC version to PQube but then proceeded to list and then release the PC version itself without further discussion with PQube.

Over the following 2 years, PQube proposed and sent numerous proposals and supporting agreements to revert rights to Corecell in line with their request but these were not acknowledged by Corecell. Nevertheless, despite all of the challenges and the lack of communication from Corecell, PQube released its rights to the console versions back to Corecell well before the end of the agreement term. We remain open to support Corecell in any way possible.

Throughout our 12 years of distribution and publishing history, we have worked with numerous partners and have released over 200 games. PQube have a proud history of working with developers both large and small. From established global IP, to championing independent projects from smaller teams - we continue to publish multiple projects and sequels from our existing partnerships which is testament to the ongoing strength of our relationships and the strong bond between our development partners and our passionate and diverse team at PQube.

We have always strived to provide focus and commitment to maximise the results for our partners and to support them fully through all stages of the product lifecycle. When challenges have arisen, as is inevitable over such a long period in the games industry, we have always sought to resolve them in a fair and reasonable way.

We will continue to focus our energy on doing a great job for our partners. We continually work to develop and improve all aspects of our business and are fully committed to providing the best possible service and success for all of our partners.”

Original Story [Thu 1st Sep, 2022 16:05 BST]: Corecell Team has released a statement today detailing issues with publisher PQube, who is responsible for publishing AeternoBlade II for the developer in the West.

The team are accusing the publisher of failing to pay a complete minimum guarantee, and — according to Corecell — is refusing to pay the remaining milestones. These accusations follow Toge Productions and Mojiken Studios' joint statement last week on issues regarding the release of A Space for the Unbound.

Here's Corecell Team's statement in full:

Dear gamers,

It has been tough for us for the past three years. We have struggled to recover since we signed a publishing deal with PQube. But now it’s time we came out with the truth. Hopefully, this will help other indie game developers to avoid what has happened to us and inform our fans about our situation.

PQUBE has published AeternoBlade II on Nintendo Switch, PS4, XBox One in Europe since October 2019 under a publishing agreement with us and agreed to pay a minimum guarantee to us. However, PQUBE only paid a small part of the minimum guarantee of the signing milestone by the time we sent them the game and they never paid the remaining milestones. We have been trying to resolve this issue with PQUBE but were unable to reach a solution, leading us to terminate the publishing agreement around September 2020. However, PQUBE has refused to return the publishing control on the console platforms back to us and continues to sell and take all revenues from AeternoBlade II.

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. We knew something was not right, but as a small independent developer, we could not afford to pay legal fees to fight the case in another country. We have contacted each platform to ask for the return of our publishing control. So far, only Nintendo and Sony have taken our game off their Europe stores, and we still have not received any revenue from the sales in Europe.

Because of this incident, we had to do various additional works to recover from our financial situation. We promise that we will soon be back to patch the problems and continue to release new contents for AeternoBlade II. We are always thankful for everyone who has been supporting us. We want everyone to have fun with our game, satisfied with our product. We hope our fans understand our situation and hope you will continue to support us.

Thank you so much for understanding,
Corecell Team

Specifically referencing Toge Productions' statement last week, Corecell reached out to the developers in solidarity:

On Twitter, Corecell has insisted that it does "not wish for negative and harmful action toward PQube", and that the company wants to return to work on its games.

We've reached out to publisher PQube for a response and will update this post as soon as we hear back from them.