A second developer has come forward to accuse London-based publisher PQube of nefarious deeds. First it was Indonesia-based Mojiken Studio that accused PQube of stealing grant money from a diversity fund, and now Thai developer Corecell Team is accusing PQube of withholding guaranteed payments and refusing to relinquish publishing rights to AeternoBlade II in Europe.
"It has been tough for us for the past three years," wrote Corecell in a statement. "We have struggled to recover since we signed a publishing deal with PQube. But now it's time we came out with the truth. Hopefully, this will help other indie game developers to avoid what has happened to us and inform our fans about our situation."
AeternoBlade II, an action puzzle RPG with time-manipulation combat, initially released in October 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. PQube served as the publisher in Europe and agreed to a minimum guaranteed payment to Corecell following the game's completion. However, Corecell said that PQube "only paid a small part of the minimum guarantee" and never paid any of the remaining milestones.
Corecell terminated the publishing agreement with PQube in September 2020, but PQube refused to relinquish publishing rights to AeternoBlade II, continuing to sell the game and take all revenue. Corecell contacted the major platforms, but only Sony and Nintendo have taken AeternoBlade II off their European storefronts.
According to Corecell, PQube later offered to return publishing rights of AeternoBlade II but only if it agreed to "keep this matter secret."
"We knew something was not right, but as a small independent developer, we could not afford to pay legal fees to fight the case in another country," Corecell said, adding it had to perform "additional works to recover from our financial situation." Corecell promised more patches and content will be coming to AeternoBlade II "soon."
PQube has yet to respond to the allegations.
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