Indie dev hits own game with copyright strike in protest of publisher's console ports

Two ghosts approach a large void in The Outbound Ghost
(Image credit: Conradical Games)

The indie developer behind a Paper Mario-inspired RPG called The Outbound Ghost has hit the game with a DMCA to get it struck from console storefronts over quality concerns, and that’s only the latest twist in what’s become a winding saga.

Developer Conradical Games has taken to Twitter and YouTube (below) to explain that it made the decision as its publisher, Digerati, has reportedly continued to distribute the game despite no longer having the rights. The developer also claims not to have “received a single dollar in royalties from the publisher” based on its game distribution, that Digerati has been “underreporting revenues,” and that the publisher has not been compliant in resolving issues with the console ports. 

In a statement to GamesRadar+, Digerati says it “totally refutes” the statements.

“Conrad [Grinheim, lead developer]’s comments about the performance of the game are also noted,” the publisher says. “While the porting is the responsibility of the publisher, it goes without saying that publisher, porting team, and developer need to work together to iron out any bugs so we can provide the game that everyone wants. We asked Conrad to help identify bugs or issues; however, Conrad has refused to work with us or communicate with Digerati on any channel.”

Digerati also takes issue with the Kickstarter plug Conrad makes at the end of the video, alleging that promises made to The Outbound Ghost backers have yet to be entirely fulfilled. 

“Given that Conrad received all the money from the Kickstarter for The Outbound Ghost, Conrad has not attempted to work with Digerati to ensure such keys are given to the donors,” the statement continues. “Nonetheless, Conrad is getting money to start a different game without focusing on his prior funders. Conrad has not attempted to address his prior funders before starting his next venture.”

The ongoing dispute between Conradical and Digerati regarding The Outbound Ghost kicked off with the game’s console release late last year, with the Nintendo Switch port specifically being a point of contention. As a result of performance issues and progression-blocking bugs, lead developer Conrad Grindheim posted a video suggesting players refrain from buying the game and requesting Digerati to return publishing rights to him. Digerati opted against doing so, instead issuing a public reply before taking legal action.

We have contacted Conradical Games with additional questions and will update this article should we hear back.

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Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.