Cooking Mama: Cookstar Now Mysteriously MIA From the Switch eShop

Update: More information about the beleaguered title has come to light!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 04/05/2020 21:53 Comment on this     ShareThis

UPDATE 04.07.20

The story of Cooking Mama: Cookstar’s tumultuous launch continues to evolve. The latest bit of scuttlebutt about the game’s sudden release and then subsequent disappearing act comes from someone who claims to have been a developer on the project. The person spoke anonymously to ScreenRant and said the following:

“The statement about crypto-currency was all buzz words. The head of planet entertainment knows very little about these things… he just put some fancy language to get potential investors who like that stuff. As for the crashes/ overheating. That would be because the game is made in unity. By many people working on their first game… it’s not the best product but it made it through several vigorous reviews by nintendo and Sony. There is no way crypto-mining stuff could get through those tests. I doubt anyone at 1p would even be able to make such a thing.

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’ [sic]. 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.

Overall, everyone at 1p loves the cooking mama franchise and did their best to make the best product considering the interference from the higher ups. I think the game is far from perfect, but would have done fine without the publishers stumbling so constantly…”

Another interesting find that might be a potential part of the controversy comes from Twitter user @bxaimx who discovered that some of the music used in Cookstar might have been ripped directly from YouTube:

Neither developer 1st Playable nor publisher Planet Entertainment have released any further official statement about Cookstar and its embattled launch, so take all of the above with a grain of salt. We’ll continue to update on the situation as we learn more!

Original Story

Roughly a couple of months ago we reported that Cooking Mama: Cookstar would be coming to Nintendo Switch in March of 2020. At the time, it was clear that something wasn’t quite right with the game’s launch— the website for Cookstar, for instance, led to a parking page less than a month prior to release. It was also vague who exactly created the game, with seeming developer 1st Playable (which was mentioned in a since-deleted Australian ratings board classification) not readily taking credit for the title. Further compounding the issue was that the official Twitter page for the game existed but was silent.

Weird, right? Well, it gets weirder. Next up to the plate as potential developer was Planet Entertainment, whose name is featured on the box art. Planet for its part made no mention of Cookstar on its website or social channels (and still doesn’t), making its involvement… unclear. Of course, none of this would generally be cause for concern if the game came out and everything was fine, but alas, that has not been the case. Cookstar dropped in March as announced, but not without some serious complications. For one thing, physical copies are out in the wild, but they’re scarce. For another, the digital release of the game on the North American eShop lasted for all of a handful of hours before being pulled and delisted.

This is where the story starts to get really bizarre. Initially, multiple video game websites including IGN had been reporting about the anomalous launch, including the fact that it was hard to peg who was even responsible for its creation. Since then things have changed. There’s currently an entire entry about Cookstar on the 1st Playable website and the Twitter account for the game has suddenly become active. What could have spurred this change? It might have something to do with a rumor about cryptocurrency.

On Twitter and various other social platforms, fans have been talking up old promotional materials from Planet Digital speaking about the incorporation of something called blockchain technology into Cookstar. Here’s a quote: “[Cooking Mama: Cookstar] will be the first game to integrate blockchain technology on major consoles.” So, what’s blockchain technology? It’s essentially a democratized (accessible to everyone) computer network where data is passed between multiple different computers without any single entity being in charge of the flow, the data, and so on. Its most notable use has been for the mining of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

That’s where Cookstar comes in. Internet detectives are looking to that old quote about blockchain tech and asserting that the reason Cookstar was so quickly yanked from the eShop is because it had been utilizing this vaunted technology to mine for cryptocurrency using the Switch consoles of everyone who plays the game. A video game journalist named Ryan Brown on Twitter posted that he’d reached out to 1st Playable to ask about this rumor and received the following response:

Intriguing, to say the least. As of this writing, data miners are now alleging that the code for blockchain was at some point present within the game, but that it was removed prior to release. This removal, again allegedly, seems to have had an adverse effect on Cookstar, causing it to consume more power than intended from a Switch while being played in handheld mode. Over on the Cooking Mama: Cookstar Twitter page, here’s what they had to say:

Based on this, it would seem that talk of cryptocurrency mining and overheating is nothing but conjecture. Yet, there’s certainly something off about Cookstar for it to be so quickly removed, and there hasn’t been any statement as to why that happened beyond a generic declaration about delays in the world at large (presumably a reference to the COVID-19 pandemic). There’s no word on when Cookstar might hit the eShop again. We’ll close with the latest Tweet from the Cookstar page and as soon as we hear more, we’ll be sure to let you all know.

Source: IGN

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