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Axiom Verge is finally getting a physical Wii U release in North America after being announced back in 2017, and was delayed due to an ongoing legal battle between BadLands Publishing and Limited Run Games.
BadLands and Limited Run signed a contract in 2017 to oversee the physical release, which reportedly outlined 6,000 copies of Axiom Verge on Wii U, with Limited Run spending $78,000 to make it happen.
Despite never receiving the copies promised from BadLands, Limited Run announced that physical copies of the game would be released March 29. Even with legal action being taken, BadLands has reportedly yet to pay Limited Run the $78,000 back.
"We won't come anywhere close to breaking even on this project after the money our former partner took from us," reads a Tweet. "But we hope Wii U fans will appreciate the chance to own one of the best indie games physically for the platform!"
Dan Adelman, who worked closely with Axiom Verge developer Tom Happ on publishing and marketing the game, provided further details about BadLands in a Twitter thread.
"We had been approached by multiple publishers to do a physical release. The reason we went with Badland is that the CEO said he was very sympathetic to Tom's son's health condition," he writes. Happ's son, Alistair, was born with a neurological disorder due to complications during birth.
"Badland made us an offer we couldn't refuse. In addition to matching what other publishers were offering in terms of rev share, they said they'd contribute 75 percent of their cut to a trust fund set up for Alastair Happ's ongoing medical expenses."
But once it came down to shell out the money to manufacture physical copies, BadLands became dodgy. Adelman said this is where he learned that the publisher was running low on funds.
At that point, we still thought Badland was operating in good faith—they were just low on cash. We were still planning on dividing up the proceeds on the original terms. So we decided not to publicize the fact that technically Badland wasn't publishing the game in NA. [7/14]— Dan Adelman (@Dan_Adelman) March 15, 2019
Limited Run was included in the North American deal, and agreed that that $78,000 would stay between them and Badland, and to give Happ the amounts originally agreed upon. "They've been great allies through all of this," Adelman writes.
When it came time to pay Tom Happ his share for EU sales & contribute to Alastair's health care fund (which Tom had to pay a lawyer to establish), Badland went dark on us. We didn't even really know how much they owed us, though we have reason to believe it's about $200k. [11/14]— Dan Adelman (@Dan_Adelman) March 15, 2019
While Adelman says they've filed a lawsuit against BadLands, its been slowgoing. Those interested in the Wii U copy of Axiom Verge should click here.