Digerati, publisher of The Outbound Ghost, has filed a lawsuit against its developer Conradical.
Last week, lead developer Conrad Grindheim released a YouTube video explaining that his relationship with the publisher had "dissolved" and he was requesting the publisher return the publishing rights to him.
The dispute occurred due to Grindheim's disappointment with the quality of the console release of the game, specifically on Switch. He allegedly vandalised the game's store page on Steam in response, which has since been removed.
Digerati followed Grindheim's YouTube video with a statement of its own, in which owner Sarah Alfieri said: "we've been blindsided by the sudden negativity from Conrad, the game's developer."
Now the publisher has filed a lawsuit against Conradical for false statements and wilful breach of contract.
It is not seeking money at this time, but requests the developer perform its obligations to ensure the game is a success.
A statement shared with Eurogamer reads: "While it is absolutely not something we wanted to do, we have been forced into a position that requires us to protect our rights under the licensing agreement with Conradical. We remain hopeful that we will still be able to resolve this issue amicably, and will be able to cooperate on the continued improvement of the performance of The Outbound Ghost.
"However, we simply can not sit by and be dragged through the mud in a public forum, nor can we allow our contractual rights to be trampled without exerting some form of remedy.
"In the lawsuit, we are asking the Court to order Conradical to perform its obligations under the Licensing Agreement to ensure the success of The Outbound Ghost. We are not seeking money at this time because we want to return to the path where The Outbound Ghost would be successful.
"Given the sudden change in the nature of our relationship with Conrad, as well as other information we have received, we have a reasonable suspicion that forces outside either party have interfered to sew division between us from the developer side. This is an area in need of addressing. We look forward to the potential of reclaiming a positive relationship with Conradical once they can accept and acknowledge that we have not done them wrong.
"As Digerati has repeatedly stated in private; Digerati is ready, willing, and able to work with Conradical to ensure the success of The Outbound Ghost and Conradical as a continuing partner. We hope that the need for legal interventions is short lived, and this matter can be settled immediately."
The statement also addresses timing of the Switch patch, which "remains with Nintendo for release timing, and should be applied in the next few days".
"Each and every one of the consumers who have purchased the game, either digital or physical, should rest assured that performance issues will be corrected as found," reads the statement.
"This is not a normal situation for us either, and it has also been as unsettling from our side as it has for those sitting across from us."
The Outbound Ghost, inspired by Nintendo's Paper Mario games, was released on Steam back in September, followed by a console release at the start of December.