If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good mystery. Recently, my attention has been grabbed by the ongoing Cooking Mama: Cookstar enigma. While there have been many theories as to why the game up and vanished, the truth is seemingly a lot simpler. According to one of the game’s developers, Cookstar was pulled from sale because it was released against the IP holder’s wishes.
If you’re not familiar with what’s going on, the newest entry in the Cooking Mama franchise released a few days ago, only to be mysteriously pulled from the eShop hours later. Initially, this was thought to be due to claims that the game was a front for mining cryptocurrency. These rumors arose from reports of Cookstar overheating Switch consoles (some to the point of completely frying them) and the use of blockchain technology to improve the game’s end-user experience.
These reports stem from a now-deleted press release from early last year, in which Planet Entertainment (Cookstar‘s publisher) detailed the ways in which Cooking Mama would utilize its blockchain. Though blockchain technology is often associated with cryptocurrency, the two terms are not interchangeable and can often cause confusion when used together. In the wake of this mystery and the many questions it has raised, 1st Playable (Cookstar‘s developer) has stated “there is no cryptocurrency or data collection or blockchain or anything else shady in the code.” They further emphasized that “blockchain was never brought up to us developers” and that the press release was likely hypothetical.
Another popular theory that has developed recently is that the game was pulled due to licensing restrictions over music. Twitter user bxaimc noted that a few of Cooking Mama: Cookstar‘s tracks contained the phrase “YouTubeRip” in their filenames. While I don’t think this is inherently concrete proof of the music being pulled from YouTube (in theory, files could be called whatever you want), using this phrase in a file name that isn’t from YouTube would be very odd.
Though these theories have kept us occupied as the story develops, it appears the truth is not stranger than fiction. In a Screen Rant exclusive, one of the game’s developers (who wished to remain anonymous) stated that Cooking Mama was pulled from the eShop at the request of Office Create (now, Cooking Mama Limited) who holds the IP for the franchise. This developer recounts that at one point, representatives from Office Create came to see how development was progressing. Apparently unhappy with what they saw, the company requested either further pre-release polish or an outright cancellation. Despite this request, Planet Entertainment proceeded with plans to release the game, at which point Office Create asked Nintendo to pull the game from sale and production.
At one point the japanese official create clients came to oversee development. An argument started and the clients were told to go home if they weren’t being “constuctive”. Once they found out that planet entertainment released the game, they used their nintendo contacts to pull it from the e-shop and stop production of cartridges.
Currently, plans to resume the sale and production of Cookstar are indefinitely on hold. According to the developer, Planet Entertainment is currently suing Office Create for loss of revenue. It remains to be seen what becomes of this lawsuit and whether Cookstar will ever see the light of day again.
It should be noted that this is in no way an official confirmation of the situation, though if true, it presents a pretty ugly behind-the-scenes look into the game’s development. In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading more about this troubled launch, be sure to check out Screen Rant’s full feature for some interesting tidbits.