Coffee Talk development studio Toge Productions has accused publisher PQube Games of misusing funds received from a diversity fund and causing the studio to delay its next game.
The Indonesian-based Toge Productions made its accusations in a lengthy statement published to the studio's Twitter account Wednesday, saying PQube's actions left its developers feeling "manipulated and exploited."
"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 fund intended to help underrepresented game developers, especially during the pandemic.
"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."
Toge goes on to say PQube added the grant funds as a recoupable minimum guarantee and to increase their portion of the revenue share on the game, and that the developers only found out in March 2022 — seven years into development on its next game, A Space for the Unbound. The studio says it has terminated its publishing agreement with PQube, but that the publisher still refuses to relinquish publishing control of the game for consoles.
Toge and co-developer Mojiken Studio have been forced to delay A Space for the Unbound while they make new publishing arrangements for the game. The two studios discouraged fans from review bombing or boycotting other games published by PQube Games to avoid hurting other developers.
"All we ask is for people to read our statement and for your understanding of our delay," the studios wrote.
In a statement to Eurogamer, PQube Games claims it honored its publishing agreement with Toge Productions and funded the studio "over and above" the grant in question.
"We have honored all obligations of our publishing agreement and have supported Toge Productions at every stage of product development throughout their delays and difficulties," a spokesperson said. "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. We will respond through the appropriate channels."