So I was made aware of a recent reddit thread that noted how I should probably do another Dispatch games article. Of course, whenever I do articles I don’t really want to do, I always want to preface them by saying you should check out my Youtube for gaming retrospectives and my site’s Patreon if you want to support the more fun stuff I enjoy making: I do plan on making a retrospective on my time in the Game Collecting hobby, so that may be up your alley if you like these articles.
So yeah, Dispatch Games is under fire from customers, again. They’re in yet another of their predictable cycles of silence and if trends continue, they would break it sometime this month. I’d normally just wait for it to repeat and to hear more excuses and whatnot, but since people keep asking me to do a followup and I’m unsure if they saw my findings I noted in the Report Card I made on limprint companies, I’ll restate the basics since there really isn’t much new info, rather, just my thoughts on what people who asked me to do this should do.
For those unaware, nearly 36 months ago, Dispatch Games opened up physical preorders for a trio of Japanese games: Radirgy Swag, Rail Sim, and Game Tengoku. I made prior articles pointing out that while the standards seem fine, two of the games were pretty tricky efforts to push for a translation. One of them seemed to have already been done by the developer however, leaving Radirgy Swag as the only one unfinished on the development side of things, and that was the case until this January, when it finally launched on the Switch eShop. So all should be good, right?
Well, no. Back in 2020 was when I reported on the long wait, which is laughable now, as we are approaching three years, making this the longest gap for a limprint title from preorder to release in recent history, as far as I’m aware. First Press Games is the only other corp that comes close to this level of absurd wait times, with their pending release of Psychotic Origins (which doesn’t even have the cartridges ordered, mind you!), as a reference. I mainly went over how Dispatch started as a small business that aimed to print niche, great games at retail to expand them to a wide audience, only for that to backfire hard when their first retail game Soldam got bargin binned all across America, and Psyvariar and Penguin Wars both didn’t do so hot with sales either.
At this point, it’s been blatant for a year or more as to what is going on with Dispatch: They’re literally a one man operation now, run by a guy named Brian Schorr, an ex Sega/Bamco guy who’s been on some pretty huge games in the western release markets for those two, (Xenosaga and Pac-Man World 2, anyone?) who’s clearly doing this out of some sort of passion for niche games, one that I’d appreciate, if it wasn’t for the many, many abhorrent ways this whole thing has gone down. They’re literally running out of money and the dude had to sell his home from the money pit known as of California, moving to Tennessee and having his old business license in CA revoked during the move. This all went down during another quiet period, by the by.
One man, running a game publishing business, having to do three convoluted CEs with two vinyl records in a huge vinyl shortage? May I remind you all that as of me writing, Limited Run still has not shipped out the Scott Pilgrim Vinyl Record, which was slated for September 2021, and this is mainly due to said records being sent to them from the label behind the game’s OST, which works with Universal. If freaking Universal is having hell with vinyl records, I do not have confidence Brian could ever put together the CEs, hence my gloomy stance in the report card.
“But wait!” You may say, “What about that tweet Dispatch made showing all those Tengoku Carts?” He keeps promising that they’ll eventually give status updates on those, after all, and did yet another promise before vanishing yet again. (along with delivering DL codes to all physical Radirgy/Rail Sim buyers, while while he succeeded with Game Tengoku, laughably, he failed to deliver all of the DL codes to the remaining games, meaning some buyers still don’t have anything to show for their products at all.) Well, I regret to inform you that I’m pretty sure those will probably not happen either, or at least not without a lot more waiting.
See, PS4 games are pre-assembled at the factory, and sent to publishers in that way. Switch games are not. Switch games are sent in those blue cart tubs, and it’s up to the publisher to assemble them. Now take that, plus a one-man business dealing with thousands of carts, and being unable to ship them until it’s fully assembled, and you have an unlikely scenario, especially if the main culprit is looming: money.
To go back into my older articles, this whole thing blew up in Dispatch’s face long ago when Soldam bombed horrifically at retail and their followup pair of games they squeaked out didn’t do much better. Their Dispatch Minis lineup, of digital only games, quietly faded into the ether with all rights reverting to the developer Brian had partnered with. Nothing these guys have put out have sold well. LRG and other limprints have gone on very credible record noting how they had to be super hyper careful with printing games in their early days, for not selling MOQ or barely making profit would almost doom their company: I wouldn’t even be surprised if there were periods where some newer products were meant to fund older ones, as I’m suspecting is the case with First Press.
Dispatch Games on the other hand? Yeah, they pretty much still have their old titles in-hand on their website, (Don’t think about ordering from them though, I wouldn’t risk it, but from what I’ve gathered, it literally comes hand-packaged at this point anyhow, if you need more proof this is a one-man deal from an apartment complex) but outside of a limited print import run of the Jajamaru Collection, (the PS4 version of which got cancelled by Dispatch, despite it finally launching in Japan lately, solely because they couldn’t afford to wait that long to import it!) and some merch, nothing they’ve put out have fully sold. Their eShop presence is very slim too, and I don’t even think they put their games on sale much, if at all. Game Tengoku has gone on sale a few times, but that’s mainly due to the JP owners, City Connection.
City Connection made a statement about Dispatch last summer. I don’t know much about what they can do, but I do know the co-founder is now working for them on cool stuff like Saturn Tribute and the Zombie Nation ports… Which got licensed and is shipping from Strictly Limited in the time it’s been since my last major article on Dispatch. If that isn’t a clear sign City Connection has seen the writing on the walls and sticking to a more reliable partner, I don’t know what is. The guys at City Connection have a lot of passion for Jaleco, and it’s very blatant they are as unhappy, if not moreso than we are for how mismanaged their western branch ended up becoming, and probably can’t get any response from Brian either. Thus, with that, plus the fact all three games are “finished” and out digitally, I come to the conclusion that Dispatch Games is finished.
Yes, I know I could very well have them conveniently to come back to social media in a few days like the last times I made articles covering them, which seem to be the only thing that brings them out of their apartment to begin with, but even if they say yet again stuff will happen and things will eventually pan out, it won’t. Everything i’ve seen, everything I heard, everything I learned about limprints, components, manufacturing, and the state of Dispatch itself proves to me that these guys are close to broke. If they’re having trouble putting together standard editions of a game they already have the cartridges to, I struggle to see them having the money and resources to put together the other two standard editions… And especially those CEs. May I yet again point out, this Game Tengoku CE literally is just an attempt to one-up LRG’s similar CE from the same year, by throwing in a huge Vinyl Record. Little did they know the industry is very tough to get into and has a lot of waiting!
So yeah, that’s basically all I got. I can’t exactly exhume new information from a ghost that’s vanished into the ether, but everything I’ve gathered during my prior research along with little bits here and there indicates this company keeps vanishing because they literally go broke: they have no money to make or produce anything, but they don’t want to admit it, because admitting it would mean admitting that yeah, the money’s gone and ain’t coming back, and oooh, maybe a random loan or burst of money may come to help repay some pending refunds or finish those games they opened orders for years ago! I think that’s why these periods of waiting happen, and why one ended after Brian sold his own home. If selling your old home can’t even help you get a game out though, is it really worth dragging this out longer than it should? Making customers constantly angry and asking for updates that never come, refunds that never can be met, and a scenario where the only hope for actual refunds, is to beg your bank for a chargeback on an item 3 years old? The only game with hope at actually shipping, is the Game Tengoku Standards. If not in complete form… Then they’ll still exist, likely to be leaked in a way akin to the Nicalis Vita games. But otherwise, I’m pretty confident in saying these guys are toast.
Honestly, I just hope Brian does the right thing and comes out and explains everything, from the beginning, and puts this to an end, even if it’s an unhappy one. Honesty goes a long way, and after years of lying, I can’t say it’d even mean much to me at this point with how I keep calling his bluffs every time there’s yet another “update”. If you bought Radirgy physically and didn’t get your code, you may just want to jump for the JP physical with Japanese text only, or download the English version, in case it suddenly gets delisted. With how the company is, you never know when their license could expire…