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Game studio says publisher exploited them to get a ‘diversity fund,’ and kept the money

A Space for the Unbound is now on hold indefinitely

A Space For The Unbound - Two people, a boy and a girl, are talking and looking out a window. The girl, who is wearing a sun hat, says “I wanted to tell a story about the cat’s final adventure.” Image: Toge Productions/Mojiken Studio
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Upcoming adventure title A Space for the Unbound is delayed indefinitely after Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio allege that publisher PQube Games exploited the studio for financial gain. The developers posted a joint statement to the game’s official Twitter account, which reads, in part:

Earlier this year we discovered that PQube Games, a UK-based publisher that we signed for the console publishing of A Space For The Unbound in western regions, had done certain things which have left us feeling manipulated and exploited, and so we have had to terminate our agreement with them.

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 leverage for their own commercial gain.

Toge Productions and Mojiken Studio allege that PQube Games hid the facts about the grant, adding it as a recoupable minimum guarantee, and then used it to negotiate the increase of their revenue share. The statement says the studio only found out about this in March 2022, and as such, “we clearly cannot trust PQube Games nor continue to work together.”

PQube has responded with a statement denying the allegations, and stating that it has fulfilled its role as a publisher despite a history of “delays and difficulties” and an attempt by Toge Productions to “unilaterally enforce unreasonable revised terms to our agreement.”

We have honoured all obligations of our publishing agreement and have supported Toge Productions at every stage of product development throughout their delays and difficulties. 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.

A Space for the Unbound is a slice-of-life game set in rural Indonesia in the late 90s about a boy and a girl, dealing with a cocktail of anxiety, depression, and supernatural powers. Atma and Raya, two high school sweethearts, go on an adventure through beautiful pixel-art scenes.

The game was originally scheduled to release on Steam, Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It’s unclear when, or even if, the game will see a release now that the publishers and developers are entering into this conflict.

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