One of the wildest stories in gaming in 2020, surprisingly, has nothing to do with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it involves a confusing web of publishers and developers who may or may not be involved with a new video game. It is one that was released last week on the Nintendo Switch eShop, then immediately disappeared. Yes, it’s the Cooking Mama mystery debacle of April 2020. The latest update in this saga seems to point to some not so wholesome activity underneath Cooking Mama: Cookstar‘s hood, though there are no confirmations yet. [Thanks, IGN!]
The story goes all the way back to August 2019, when Cincinnati-based publisher Planet Digital dropped a press release on a new Cooking Mama game. The weirdest part wasn’t that the series’ original developers seemingly had nothing do do with it. The actual weirdest part was the release’s bizarre focus on blockchain. Screenshots and other materials occasionally trickled out in the meantime, including a YouTube trailer that was found in delisted format, but never official released.
Last week, Cooking Mama: Cookstar did find its way to the Nintendo Switch eShop and to a few retailers around the world. But it just as quickly vanished from the eShop and nearly every retailer (with a few exceptions). The community was struggling to figure out what the heck happened, with some not convinced the game existed until some lucky fans showed proof of their copies. All the companies involved, however, went radio silent. Traces of Cookstar were even deleted from those involved, with web archives being the remaining evidence.
But as always with these sorts of events, the fanbase finds the dirt. Specifically, well, see for yourselves:
PSA FOR COOKING MAMA COOKSTAR pic.twitter.com/2IulAqq5Gp
— Jimbo (@MorshuMmm) April 5, 2020
According to this, Cookstar‘s blockchain structure might be using peoples’ Switches to mine cryptocurrency. There isn’t any confirmation, but the game allegedly has supposedly made the Switch’s network use go out of control and has caused overheating issues for some players as a result. Considering the weird press release that started all this, it’s a strange series of circumstances.
The thing is… they weren’t sutle about it back in August 2019. Cooking Mama screamed it from the rooftops and said “FEATURE!” https://t.co/DdUyRwV3Vh https://t.co/CtYjxRJkbu pic.twitter.com/MRQaujDdoI
— Daan Koopman (@NintenDaan) April 5, 2020
Cooking Mama: Cookstar is presumably available for the Nintendo Switch, but we don’t recommend tracking it down until this all gets sorted out.