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Coffee Talk developer delays next game, alleges publisher PQube misused funds

Toge Productions left "feeling manipulated and exploited".

Toge Productions, the Indonesian indie developer behind Coffee Talk, has today issued a damning statement announcing a delay to its next project due to issues with publisher PQube.

The lengthy public announcement, made this morning via Twitter, accuses PQube of misusing money gained from a diversity fund. Toge Productions claims it should have received this money - part of a scheme from a "well known console platform" - to help finance its upcoming project A Space For The Unbound.

"The diversity fund was a grant fund intended to help underrepresented game developers, especially during the pandemic," Toge Productions wrote. "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.

A Space For The Unbound trailer. Watch on YouTube

"Rather than paying the grant money to us, PQube Games hid the facts about the grant's award and added it as a recoupable minimum guarantee and then used it to negotiate the increase of their revenue share."

Toge Productions goes on to say it is "absolutely heartbroken" that it has "been taken advantage of in such a way" and "clearly cannot trust PQube Games" going forward.

"PQube Games has fallen considerably short not only of reasonable deceny, but also of their obligations to us due to these predatory practices," it concluded.

Toge Productions has stated it has subsequently terminated its pubishing contract with PQube Games for A Space For The Unbound - though this now appears to be in some dispute.

"As of this moment, PQube Games is still refusing to hand over publishing control on console platforms back to us," Toge stated. "It is with a heavy heart that we must hold back the release of A Space For The Unbound so that we can make new arrangements and ensure that it is published as intended and in a way that is consistent with our and our [sic] community's wishes."

PQube itself has now responded, in a statement to Eurogamer, which claims it stuck to its agreed publishing deal, and funded Toge Productions "over and above" the grant in question.

Indeed, PQube claims it is Toge Productions which has "sought for some time to unilaterally enforce unreasonable revised terms".

PQube's statement in full lies below:

"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," a PQube spokesperson told Eurogamer today. "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 further statement from Toge Productions, issued in the past hour, has urged fans of the company's games not to engage in "negative or harmful actions such as review bombing, boycotting" of PQube-published games in response. "All we ask is for people to read our statement and for your understanding of our delay," Toge Productions concluded.

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