Paper Mario-style indie RPG The Outbound Ghost has been delisted from Steam by Valve, following lead developer Conrad Grindheim issuing a statement that claimed his relationship with publisher Digerati had "dissolved". Grindheim posted a video to YouTube and Twitter that alleged the publisher’s recent business practices towards the game haven’t been “ethically correct”. Digerati later shared their own video response on Twitter, with owner Sarah Alfieri saying Digerati have been “blindsided” by Grindheim’s statement.
“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 in his video. “They refuse to hand back control of the relevant pages and are profiting from the situation.” On the flip side of that, Digerati alleges that Grindheim “unlawfully tampered” with The Outbound Ghost’s Steam page and tried to interfere with pages for the game’s console versions. Grindheim says he’s trying to reclaim the publishing rights to The Outbound Ghost, and promised “an additional reward” for Kickstarter backers if he did.
Grindheim said that Conradical Games are “currently studying the appropriate legal actions, and will do all that is necessary to resolve this situation and protect the game”. The developer also recommended that people don’t buy the game for the time being, calling the available versions “not up to the standards” of what he believes players expect from Conradical Games. Grindheim suggested that anyone unhappy with their copy of The Outbound Ghost should look for a refund, but clarified that he wasn’t able to give one.
Alfieri said that Digerati were attempting to improve the game with patches, but alleged that Conradical Games had made “repeated attempts to sabotage” that, and to disparage the company. Digerati’s statement also noted that although Grindheim had begun working on The Outbound Ghost with backing from Kickstarter, the publisher gave Conradical Games “substantial funds to fully develop the game”. Alfieri said that all those funds were paid to Grindheim ahead of the game’s console launch, with Grindheim giving Digerati “full rights” to distribute the game in return.
You can watch the full statements from Grindheim and Alfieri below:
This is what has been happening recently with The Outbound Ghost.— The Outbound Ghost (@OutboundGhost) December 8, 2022
Please retweet 🔁so that all relevant people can see this message. pic.twitter.com/fAna9J2U0f
A statement regarding the current situation involving our recently published title 'The Outbound Ghost'. pic.twitter.com/niYsH0dJHO— Digerati (@DigeratiDM) December 9, 2022
This seems like a messy situation that could get messier. For now, it’s no longer possible to buy The Outbound Ghost through Valve’s storefront, but the game remains available to buy on GOG and the Epic Games Store.
UPDATE (December 12th, 4.54pm GMT): The original headline to this story said that the publisher had delisted The Outbound Ghost. Digerati have since explained that Valve were the ones to delist the game without any request from Digerati.
UPDATE (December 14th, 9.59am GMT): The Outbound Ghost's Steam store page is now up again, and the game is back on sale.