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Indie dev suggests players "don't buy" his game as the relationship with their publisher has "dissolved"

UPDATE: Digerati has filed a lawsuit against the developer.

UPDATE 12/12/22: Digerati, the publisher of The Outbound Ghost, has filed a lawsuit against developer Conradical for false statements and wilful breach of contract.

Digerati is not seeking money at this time, but requests the developer perform its obligations to ensure the game is a success.

The publisher sent a statement to Eurogamer alongside the lawsuit, you can read our update here.

ORIGINAL STORY 11/12/22: The developer of The Outbound Ghost has asked players not to buy his game following a falling out with his publisher.

Conrad Grindheim - lead developer on The Outbound Ghost - took to YouTube to state that his relationship with his publisher, Digerati, had "dissolved" and wanted the publisher to return the publishing rights to him.

Stating that the indie title is "not up to the quality standards of the games that I create and that you expect of me", he asked fans to avoid the game and said he was taking legal action to protect "our company, our name, our reputation, and consumer's rights".

Conrad's video, entitled: "This happened to my indie game".Watch on YouTube

"The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful due to many factors, but the main reason is that my relationship with the game's publisher has been dissolved," Grindheim said (cheers, PC Gamer). "My priority will always be to do right by fans of the game."

Publisher Digerati initially published a statement in early December, acknowledging issues with Switch version and said "hopefully [a patch] won't be much longer". Three days later, it told its Twitter followers that it was "aware for performance issues" on Switch and said a patch would come "in the coming week".

The Outbound Ghost's own Twitter account said it was "incredibly disappointed" in the game's performance on console, and prompted players to stick to Steam as "the Steam version is the one that I have approved".

A few days later, Digerati published another statement on Twitter, saying that "in addition to the day one patch that was available for the PlayStation versions, an additional update went live on Tuesday, 6th December".

"The patch for the Switch version is still in review with Nintendo, but is expected within the next seven days. We'll provide further information on this as soon as we can," it continued, inviting users still "experiencing issues" to get in touch.

"Digerati has released over 50 different titles on console, and launches with situations such as this are the exception," it concluded. "We remain firmly committed to making further improvements to The Outbound Ghost as quickly as we can. Thanks for your patience."

Following this update, Grindheim posted their statement to YouTube on 8th December, prompting Digerati to respond with a video of its own. The game has also been removed from sale on Steam, presumably by Digerati after Grindheim allegedly vandalised their own game's store page.

"I want to clarify some of the recent activity surrounding the Outbound Ghost," said Sarah Alfieri, owner of Digerati and widow of the company's recently deceased founder, Nick. "We've remained largely silent over the last few days as we've been blindsided by the sudden negativity from Conrad, the game's developer.

"Until literally hours before the console launch, we had enjoyed a cooperative and mutually pleasant working relationship with Conrad and we saw no indication of any dissatisfaction on his part."

The statement adds that the publisher provided Grindheim with "substantial funds" to develop his "passion project" and in exchange, "he licensed the full rights to us to distribute the game".

"Unfortunately, he has now wrongly told us he is terminating our contract, even going so far as attempting to use the tragic and sudden death of my husband as grounds for termination," Alfieri added. "In addition, Conrad has unlawfully tampered with the Steam page and has attempted to take down the console versions as well.

"This isn't fair to us, and it isn't fair to you.

"Our goal is to support The Outbound Ghost and 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.

"Despite all of this, we still hope to come to a resolution and work together to continue supporting The Outbound Ghost with its lead developer by our side, and we want to provide you, the consumer, with the best possible version of the game that you deserve."

There's been no further update from either party at the time of writing and in a statement to PC Gamer, Grindheim only reiterated that he was looking into "appropriate legal actions to resolve this situation and to protect the game".