Update #2 [Mon 12th Dec, 2022 11:10 GMT]: After hearing from the lead developer of The Outbound Ghost last week, publisher Digerati has now responded with a full statement regarding the game's release, including legal action following lawsuit threats from Conradical Games.
In a complaint registered with The U.S. District Court, Digerati has stated that the developer has "trampled" on the team's contractual rights and it is therefore opening a lawsuit to order Conradical to "perform its obligations under the Licensing Agreement to ensure the success of The Outbound Ghost."
The publisher says it remains hopeful that it can mend the relationship with the development team (previously described by Conradical as "dissolved") and believes that the division between the two has been worsened by "forces outside either party".
The change in the partnership is described in the statement as "sudden" and the ensuing legal action is stated to be solely for the purposes of ensuring the game's success rather than a financial matter. The publisher repeats the desire for an amicable reconciliation between the parties.
Here is the full statement Digerati provided alongside the complaint:
While it is absolutely not something we wanted to do, we have been forced into a position that requires us to protect our rights under the licensing agreement with Conradical. We remain hopeful that we will still be able to resolve this issue amicably, and will be able to cooperate on the continued improvement of the performance of The Outbound Ghost. However, we simply can not sit by and be dragged through the mud in a public forum, nor can we allow our contractual rights to be trampled without exerting some form of remedy. In the lawsuit, we are asking the Court to order Conradical to perform its obligations under the Licensing Agreement to ensure the success of The Outbound Ghost. We are not seeking money at this time because we want to return to the path where The Outbound Ghost would be successful.
Given the sudden change in the nature of our relationship with Conrad, as well as other information we have received, we have a reasonable suspicion that forces outside either party have interfered to sew division between us from the developer side. This is an area in need of addressing. We look forward to the potential of reclaiming a positive relationship with Conradical once they can accept and acknowledge that we have not done them wrong.
As Digerati has repeatedly stated in private; Digerati is ready, willing, and able to work with Conradical to ensure the success of The Outbound Ghost and Conradical as a continuing partner. We hope that the need for legal interventions is short lived, and this matter can be settled immediately.
As to patch timing, the initial patch for the Switch remains with Nintendo for release timing, and should be applied in the next few days. We will continue monitoring qualified feedback from anyone playing the game who would like to share their experience in the game via @DigeratiDM.
Each and every one of the consumers who have purchased the game, either digital or physical, should rest assured that performance issues will be corrected as found.
This is not a normal situation for us either, and it has also been as unsettling from our side as it has for those sitting across from us.
Digerati's complaint follows the recent edits made to the game's Steam Page which saw the game being renamed to "This game is no longer authorized by the developer" with the removal of all trailers and screenshots. While many of these edits have since been removed, the title remains unavailable to purchase on Steam.
Such changes prompted the following video statement from Digerati owner Sarah Alfieri, which was posted to Twitter over the weekend:
In the video, the owner reiterates many of the comments which would later be formally made in the official legal complaint. On top of reaffirming that the company has been "blindsided" by the sudden change in the working relationship, Alfieri claims that the developer has attempted to use "the tragic and sudden death" of former Digerati owner, Nick Alfieri, as the reason for terminating the contract.
In each of these statements, the publisher continues to state that it is listening to player feedback, stating that all "should rest assured that performance issues will be corrected as found."
Update [Fri 9th Dec, 2022 13:30 GMT]: Just last week we heard from the team behind the 2.5D Paper Mario-like, The Outbound Ghost, that the version released to Switch had not been approved and was suffering from performance issues.
The lead developer, Conrad Grindheim, has now issued a full video statement claiming that these problems stem from a difficult relationship with the game's publisher. While the partnership has been dissolved in the ensuing week, the developer claims that the publishing studio is continuing to profit from the situation.
The statement also makes clear that those who backed the game's Kickstarter campaign will be receiving all that they were promised when the team is happy with the final product. It seems that Conradical Games plans to self-publish the title in the future, though it is unclear as to when this will be while the team studies "the appropriate legal actions" to take against the publishers.
You can watch Grindheim's full statement in the video below:
Original article [Fri 2nd Dec, 2022 15:30 GMT]: We have been hotly anticipating the release of The Outbound Ghost for a good few months now. A 2.5D Paper Mario tribute with an adorable little ghosty as the main character? What's not to like! Unfortunately, it seems that the game which was released on Switch yesterday is not the version that the developer, Conradical Games, ever wanted to see the light of day.
Published in a post on the game's official Twitter account, @OutboundGhost, the developer apologised for the state that the game currently finds itself in. According to this message, the lead developer received a number of comments concerning issues with the game at launch and has now gone public, stating that " I never wanted this version of the game to come out", but the release was out of their control.
You can find the full statement in the following tweet.
Reading through the replies in the time following this announcement, it appears that the issues with the game stem from it being released in a rushed state without time for sufficient testing. Although we are still yet to get our hands on the game itself, the problems seem to be surrounding the absence of language options and issues with performance.
Those who pre-ordered the game will still receive their copy, but the developer has stated that it is not up to its quality standards.
Responding to one customer, the developer seemed to suggest that it was not able to test the game itself, potentially pointing towards the publisher as the pushing force behind the game's rushed release.
What runs clear throughout all of the messages and responses in the announcement thread is that Conradical Games is doing everything that it can to amend the situation and ensure that the game is patched as quickly as possible. Here's hoping that the team can get the issues sorted and release the title as it was intended.
For the moment, it seems, the only version of The Outbound Ghost which has been approved by the developer is the one available on Steam. Switch users will have to wait for a patch before knowing what the game is like in its intended state.
What do you make of this news? Did you have the game pre-ordered? Let us know in the comments!