The developer of the indie adventure RPG The Outbound Ghost (opens in a new tab) he is asking his fans not to buy the game on any platform, because it is currently not up to the quality standards he expects. He’s also disabled sales of the game on Steam, the only platform he says he was up to, on and is threatening legal action against publisher Digerati, who he says refuses to give him control of the game back.
After a successful Kickstarter (opens in a new tab) campaign in 2021, the PC version of The Outbound Ghost launched on Steam in September to mostly positive reviews. However, the console releases of the game (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch) had issues. On December 1, Digerati said that the Switch version was “waiting for an update (opens in a new tab)and additional languages are missing. On December 4, Digerati tweeted another statement acknowledging the ongoing performance issues with The Outbound Ghost on Switch.
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On December 8, Digerati issued a third statement stating that while the PlayStation editions of the game had already been patched twice (including a day-one patch), Nintendo was still reviewing the Switch patch. “Any users experiencing issues with The Outbound Ghost can @ or PM us,” the editor wrote (opens in a new tab). “Rest assured that we are listening to all of your feedback.
“Digerati has released over 50 different titles for consoles, and releases with situations like this are the exception. We remain strongly committed to making further improvements to The Outbound Ghost as soon as we can.”
However, Outbound Ghost developer Conradical Games was not satisfied with Digerati’s handling of the situation. Shortly after the Switch version was released, lead developer Conrad Grindheim said release control was out of his hands, but accused the publisher of releasing an unapproved and presumably unfinished version of the game.
“The Outbound Ghost launched yesterday on PlayStation 4/5 and today on Nintendo Switch. I have already received concerning messages about its performance,” Grindheim said in a statement. statement (opens in a new tab) released on December 1st.
“I never wanted this version of the game to come out, but due to circumstances beyond my control, this is the one that got released. I’m doing my best to get the relevant parties to fix their bugs and I’ll move on.” all of you updated as much as possible.”
Things seemed to stall until December 5th, when Digerati put The Outbound Ghost on Steam for 25% off. That prompted a new statement from Conradical Games, who said on December 6 the price cut “it was not my fault (opens in a new tab)and not approved by the study.
Yesterday, December 8, Grindheim posted a video update threatening legal action against Digerati unless he relinquishes control of The Outbound Ghost, across all platforms.
“The last few weeks have been incredibly stressful due to many factors, but the main reason is that my relationship with the game publisher has dissolved,” Grindheim said. “But they refuse to return control of the relevant pages and are profiting from the situation. We are looking into appropriate legal action to resolve this situation and protect the game.”
“The console issues recently described on my social media are just the beginning. A lot more will be coming out about the infringements soon. For now, I suggest you don’t buy any publicly available version of The Outbound Ghost because it’s not up to scratch.” game quality standards that I create and that you expect of me”.
Grindheim recommended that anyone dissatisfied with the state of The Outbound Ghost request a refund, and said that once the matter is resolved, he plans to self-publish “an improved version” of the game. He also promised that Kickstarter backers will receive all the rewards they promised during the game, “as well as additional rewards to make up for the situation.”
Along with statements and responses to owners on social media, Grindheim also took a knife to The Outbound Ghost’s Steam page. (opens in a new tab). Changed the name of the game to ‘This game is no longer licensed by the developer’, all screens and trailers were removed from the page, and the game description and system requirements were also removed. The most recent Steam update (opens in a new tab)posted on December 8, has no text beyond the title, which is the same as the ‘new’ game name: This game is no longer licensed by the developer.
That action prompted Digerati, who had previously limited his communications to status updates on The Outbound Ghost, to address the dispute with Conradical.
A statement on the current situation involving our recently released title ‘The Outbound Ghost’. pic.twitter.com/niYsH0dJHODecember 9, 2022
“We’ve been largely silent for the past few days as we were shocked by the sudden negativity from Conrad, the game’s developer,” said Digerati owner Sarah Alfieri. “Until literally hours before the console’s launch, we had enjoyed a mutually congenial and cooperative working relationship with Conrad and saw no indication of dissatisfaction on his part.”
Alfieri said that Digerati provided funding for The Outbound Ghost after the Kickstarter campaign was successful so that Grindheim could work on the project full-time. In return, Grindheim licensed the distribution rights to Digerati. However, after the console releases, he “wrongly told us that he would terminate the contract.”
“In addition, Conrad illegally tampered with the Steam page and also attempted to remove console versions,” Alfieri said.
“Our goal is to support The Outbound Ghost and it has always been to support our developers. We are actively trying to make improvements and release patches, and have been met with repeated attempts to sabotage our efforts and sully our name.”
Outbound Ghost is currently not available for purchase on Steam. I initially assumed that Grindheim removed it in protest, but he denied doing so and said that he doesn’t think he has access to that level of functionality on Steam. Instead, he said Digerati should be responsible for the takedown. Interestingly, a demo of The Outbound Ghost is still available for download.
Despite the dispute, Alfieri said Digerati hopes to reach a resolution with Grindheim and continue to support the game in association with him. How likely that is to happen remains to be seen: Grindheim hasn’t tweeted about the game or Digerati since his December 8 statement. Grindheim told PC Gamer, as he said in his video statement, that he is looking into “appropriate legal action to resolve this situation and protect the game.”
To update: On December 10, publisher Digerati preempted Grindheim by filing a legal action against Conradical, accusing the studio of making false claims about its role in developing and releasing the console versions of The Outbound Ghost, sabotaging the game’s sales. and try to break his contract with the publisher.
“While not something we would want to do at all, we have been forced to take a position that requires us to protect our rights under the license agreement with Conradical,” Digerati said in a statement sent to PC Gamer.
“We are hopeful that we can still resolve this issue amicably and cooperate in continuously improving The Outbound Ghost’s performance. However, we simply cannot sit and be dragged through the mud in a public forum, nor can we allow that our contractual rights are trampled without exercising some kind of remedy”.
The lawsuit asks the court to enforce the terms of the existing distribution contract between Digerati and Conradical. However, the publisher is not seeking monetary penalties “because we want to get back on the path that The Outbound Ghost would be successful on.”
Digerati also suggested in his statement to PC Gamer that other people might be stirring up the dispute, for reasons unknown: “We have a reasonable suspicion that forces outside of either party have interfered to sow division between us from the developer side. This is an area that needs to be addressed,” the editor said.
“Digerati stands ready, willing and able to work with Conradical to ensure the success of The Outbound Ghost and Conradical as a permanent partner. We hope that the need for legal interventions will be short-lived and that this matter can be resolved immediately.”
As for the long-awaited patch for The Outbound Ghost on Nintendo Switch, Digerati said that it remains in Nintendo’s hands but should be released “in the next few days.” He also invited players to continue sharing feedback on the game.