Update: December 12th 12:08 PM Eastern: The Outbound Ghost has returned to Steam, with its page reverting to a form before it was changed to say it was not authorized to be put on sale. This story continues to develope, and we'll keep you up to date.
Original story below
The Outbound Ghost has been delisted on Steam, representing the latest occurrence in an ongoing feud between developer Conradical and publisher Digerati. Said feud has seen Conradical allegedly deface the Steam page for the game, as well as a lawsuit being filed against the developer by Digerati.
In case you haven't been keeping up with this saga, here's a quick recap. The Outbound Ghost is an indie adventure reminiscent of games like Paper Mario, and it was released on PlayStation and Switch on December 1st. On that day, developer Conradical tweeted that he had received "worrying messages" about the game's performance, especially on Switch.
Publisher Digerati subsequently tweeted that the Switch patch fixing these issues would be approved "in the coming week". That tweet was sent on December 4th. Following that, Conradical accused Digerati of putting The Outbound Ghost up as part of a Steam sale "just 6 days after the last sale", and that he hadn't approved this move.
The feud between The Outbound Ghost's developer and publisher begins
On December 8th, Conradical tweeted a video in which he alleges that his relationship with publisher Digerati has been "dissolved", but that the publisher "refuse[s] to hand back control of the relevant pages" (i.e. Steam and other digital distribution pages). Conradical also says the console issues outlined in his earlier tweets are "just the beginning" and that "a lot more" will come out regarding "breaches" in future.
Digerati subsequently tweeted its own response to Conrad's video a day later, on December 9th. In that video, Digerati owner Sarah Alfieri says the company was "blindsided" by Conrad's allegations and accuses the developer of "wrongly" trying to terminate his contract with Digerati. Alfieri says Conrad attempted to "use the tragic and sudden death" of her husband Nick Alfieri as grounds for contract termination.
Furthermore, Alfieri says Conrad "unlawfully tampered" with The Outbound Ghost's Steam page, making changes (which have since been reversed) including changing the game's name to "This game is no longer authorized by the developer". This is likely what led Digerati to delist the game on Steam, especially since they also allege Conrad has tried to tamper with subsequent updates and patches to The Outbound Ghost.
It's worth saying that some industry figures appear to agree with Conradical. For example, Crash Bandicoot 4 concept artist Rob Duenas accused Digerati of "unprofessional" treatment of developers under Nick Alfieri. Duenas says Nick Alfieri belittled developers and threatened legal action whenever they suggested they would tell the public about Digerati's treatment of them. It's a he-said-she-said situation at the moment, but there are strong views on both sides here.
So, where does all this leave us? Well, according to Eurogamer, Digerati has filed a lawsuit against Conradical, whose real name is Conrad Grindheim. Digerati says it isn't looking for money from Conradical, but instead simply wants him to "perform [his] obligations under the Licensing Agreement" in order to ensure the game is successful. Conrad has said he is also exploring his legal options in his video.
Meanwhile, Grindheim himself is telling players not to buy The Outbound Ghost in any form, as it's not up to the "standards" of the games he usually creates and that people expect of him. At the time of writing, The Outbound Ghost remains up for sale on other platforms, but you can't currently buy it on Steam.
This is far from the first fight between developers and publishers. French publisher Nacon has publicly feuded with developer Frogwares, as well as the holders of the Paranoia tabletop IP, over games either released or not released under its auspices. Much like that fight, Digerati and Conradical are both seemingly sticking to their guns and aren't willing to back down. We'll have to see how this unfolds in the days and weeks to come. Stay tuned for more info.