The strange – but very serious – dispute between the publisher of Cooking Mama: Cookstar and the company that holds the intellectual property rights to Cooking Mama has reached an inflection point. The owner, Japanese publisher Office Create, claimed that this was 2020 cook mom: Cookstar was an unauthorized project – and the International Court of Arbitration agreed, clearing the way for Office Create to have the game removed from the digital and retail stores.
It’s a messy complaint, but the bottom line for gamers is that the first console edition of Cooking Mama since 2008 can be withdrawn from sale because Connecticut-based publisher Planet Entertainment was not authorized to publish the game. The October arbitration award ruled that Planet Entertainment owed Office Create more than $20.9 million in profits it earned Cooking Mama: Cookstar‘s sales on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Planet Entertainment is also owed an additional $2.37 million to cover milestone payments the arbitrator is required to return and Office Create’s legal fees. In addition, Planet Entertainment must destroy all game copies and intellectual property rights in its possession. Finally, the ruling also states that Planet Entertainment “must refrain from impersonating, inducing or enabling others to sell or distribute any product as a Cooking Mama product” unless that product is manufactured or licensed by Office Create itself .
“Office Create is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the infringing video games ‘Cooking Mama: Cookstar’ (digital and physical copies) are withdrawn from the market,” the publisher said in a statement posted on its website on Thursday.
At the time of publication, Cooking Mama: Cookstar was not listed on either the Nintendo Store or PlayStation Store (apparently it was only briefly available on Nintendo’s storefront in 2020). GameStop also didn’t have a listing for the game, although Amazon has several.
Interestingly, Planet Entertainment launched a game called Yum Yum Cookstar for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 via the storefronts of those consoles on October 4th.
In 2020 as Cooking Mama: Cookstar preparing for launch, Office Create said the submitted game did not meet Planet Entertainment’s standards, and Office Create wanted developer 1st Playable Productions to make corrections. Planet Entertainment instead launched the game as is, and Office Create subsequently terminated its license agreement with the company for “willful material breach of the license agreement.”
At the time, Planet Entertainment said it was entirely within its right to publish Cooking Mama: Cookstar and that Office Create had requested changes that were “outside the scope of [the] agreement and game design.”
Polygon has reached out to Planet Entertainment for comment and will update this article with any information we receive.