The truth is out there.
Cooking Mama: Cookstar

On March 31, 2020 a new Cooking Mama game was released and then it suddenly wasn't. Cooking Mama: Cookstar was a new release for the Nintendo Switch that was pulled from the Nintendo eShop after maybe a day of being on sale, if that. It was even pulled from many retail stores, though you can still find it at some retailers such as Amazon or GameStop. The prices may be starting to climb on those listings though, so you may want to get it while the getting is good.

Cooking Mama: Cookstar was developed by 1st Playable Productions and published by Planet Entertainment. Here is where the problem begins.

See, the Cooking Mama IP belongs to Office Create. Office Create are also the original developers of the Cooking Mama franchise and have games out for the Nintendo DS, iOS, and even the Nintendo Wii. According to an official statement released early in the day on April 15, 2020, Office Create did not give any other studio the right to develop and release a Cooking Mama game.

Uh-oh!

Their full statement reads as follows:

We would like to thank our fans and customers for their support over the years for the Cooking Mama franchise. As many of you know, Planet Entertainment LLC (Headquarters: Connecticut, USA; "Planet") recently released "Cooking Mama: Cookstar" for sale in the U.S., Europe and Australia. This was an unauthorized release in breach of Planet’s contract with Office Create.

In August 2018, Office Create licensed Planet to develop the Cooking Mama: Cookstar game for Nintendo Switch™. Unfortunately, the quality of the game builds failed to meet the standards that our customers expect and deserve. Office Create rejected a wide range of deficiencies affecting the overall feel, quality and content of the game. Yet, despite being contractually obligated to correct the identified deficiencies and resubmit the corrected game for Office Create’s approval, Planet proceeded to release Cooking Mama: Cookstar without addressing all of the rejections and without Office Create’s approval.

We have also learned that Planet and/or its European distributor has been promoting an upcoming European release of a PS4™ version of Cooking Mama: Cookstar. Office Create has not licensed Planet (or any other entity) to create any Cooking Mama games for PS4™. Office Create itself has not been involved in the development of any PS4™ Cooking Mama game.

On March 30, 2020 Office Create notified Planet of its immediate termination of the license due to Planet’s intentional material breach of the license contract. Despite such notice, Planet continues to advertise and sell the unauthorized version of Cooking Mama: Cookstar on its website in willful violation of Office Create’s rights. To date, Planet has not confirmed the status of the unauthorized PS4™ version.

Office Create is evaluating all legal action against Planet to protect our customers, intellectual property rights and the Cooking Mama series. In the meantime, we thank our customers and loyal Cooking Mama fans for their continued support and sincerely regret any confusion and disappointment that has been caused by Planet’s conduct.
In short, it says that Cooking Mama: Cookstar was an unauthorized release of a Cooking Mama game. It was released in breach of a contract that Office Create had with Planet Entertainment. See, there apparently was some agreement between the two studios, but Office Create was not satisfied with the quality of the product they were being shown. Office Create says that Planet Entertainment was contractually obligated to fix the quality issues that were found, but Planet Entertainment did not do this. Instead, they just released the game without Office Create's approval.

There's also the matter of a PlayStation 4 release for Cooking Mama: Cookstar. This is a series that has never been on another non-Nintendo console platform. The PS4 version of the game, which was slated to be released at a later date compared to the Switch release, was apparently never even approved in any capacity by Office Create.

Uh-oh!

Later in the day on April 15, Planet Entertainment released their own statement through the Cooking Mama: Cookstar Twitter account. You can see a local embed of their Twitter statement below.

Planet Entertainment statement

According to their statement, Planet Entertainment says that IP owner Office Create had approved a game design in 2019 for Cooking Mama: Cookstar. They go on to say that they and developer 1st Playable had "followed the exact approved design" and even incorporated "many additional Office Create suggestions which add gameplay value."

They continue on to say that there were some "creative differences" with Office Create as the game neared completion. These differences were "outside the scope of (their) agreement." Though it is unclear as to what exactly that means.

Planet Entertainment says that they are "fully within its rights to publish" the game. They also say that there is "no active litigation" that should prevent the game from being sold. That may be true in the here and now, it seems pretty clear from Office Create's statement above that they are "evaluating all legal action against Planet (Entertainment)" to protect their intellectual property. That sure sounds like some litigation is coming.

All of this right now is a real case of "he said, she said" between these two companies. Office Create says that Planet Entertainment was in breach of their contract and Cooking Mama: Cookstar should not have been released. Planet Entertainment says that they followed the design guidelines provided by Office Create but they say that the only issues were some late creative differences that came up.

It may be a long while before we get a better idea of just what the deal is with this game. Until then, maybe think about picking the game up from a store while you can? It may end up becoming super rare and fetch a pretty penny years from now.