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Activision Kills Fan Game Project, Despite Fan License Granted By Previous Rightsholders

from the evil dept

Apparently some fans of the video game series King's Quest have been working for eight years on a fan-made sequel to the last such game. Back in 2005, Vivendi (then the rights holder) sent them a cease and desist, but eventually worked out a "non-commercial fan license" that allowed them to continue. Fast forward to today, and Activision now owns those rights and has decided that the fans' efforts should all go to waste. The company has told the fan group to shut it all down:
After talks and negotiations in the last few months between ourselves and Activision, they have reached the decision that they are not interested in granting a non-commercial license to The Silver Lining, and have asked that we cease production and take down all related materials on our website.
This is "promoting the progress"? You have to hand it to Activision, though. Not only has it pissed off a large group of fans, it's stomped out eight years of their hard work as well. I'm sure that will make those folks that much more excited about purchasing Activision games.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Sigh...

    I have SUCH a fond memory of the Kings Quest games, particularly #6, with all the fairy tale references....

    "Alexander feels a strange pulling sensation..."

    Oh he does, does he?

     

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  2.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Sigh...

    Don't forget that Square killed the Chronotrigger 3D fan remake when it was, apparently, 98% finished. I am pretty sure these companies have teams specifically to watch for anything that will make videogamers deliriously happy and put a stop to it.

     

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  3.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Another ACTA leak

    sorry im not going reg channels wiht this but ....this is evil lil document

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4829/125/

    ya this isnt about copyright
    the whole thing is about copyrights and how to most effectively screw people with patents and allegations rather then RULE OF LAW and democracy. THIS is truly undemocratic.
    -----------------------

    as to activision maybe we should all do away with copyrights and then see how turds like them survive

     

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  4.  
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    Danny (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:34pm

    maze of twisty passages, all different

    And I am sure they are not going to tell any other Activision customers about this either...

    Kinda dumb move on Activision's part.

    the part of the story that is missing for me is this: what happened to the original license? Why is that no longer valid?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Sigh...

    I'm honestly surprised Nintendo didn't kill the Mother 3 translation project.

     

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  6.  
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    Yargh, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    This is almost as bad as.... when the 12-years-in-the-making Duke Nukem Forever project was canceled.

     

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  7.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Another ACTA leak

    Please do not post off-topic posts in the comments. We have a submission link up top for submitting stories.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Brian (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:59pm

    Re:

    Well that one never appeared to ever go anywhere, the release date kept moving back and back and back. This game was supposed to be released in the next couple of months.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    wow, i'm so excited..something i sent in got a post!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    Heir today, gone tomorrow...

    The KQ series died with KQVIII: Mask of Eternity, and that was over 10 years ago. Is Activision planning to ever make a new KQ game? Doubtful. Argh.. Copyrights last too damn long.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    New Slogan: Activision: Making EA Look Like a GOOD Owner

    Keep in mind, Activision also killed many other projects revoking licenses and contracts. Brutal Legends? Ghostbusters? Wet? Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World at Conflict: Soviet Assault, 50 Cent Blood on the Sand, Zombie Wranglers, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.

    AND then they go and sue when Ghostbusters, Brutal Legends, and Wet come out under different studios waving their contracts around screeching 'breech!'

    And now we add this insult.

    Activision: Bettering EAs Image.
    (At least EA released the games Origin, and Bull Frog, and so on when they were already being worked on.)

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re:

    It was also the fault of the company working on DNF. Every time a new engine came out, or a new game introduced a new function, so the story goes, they started over. Whenever something was mentioned, like the Jace Hall review in which he was 'blown away', they waved their hand, said "No! No! That is not the game, there is a new special effect engine we have to put in! NEW!" So, I wouldn't exactly compare the two.

     

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  13.  
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    Brian (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yah that was another problem I remember reading about DNF as well, they kept wanting to copy others in a way, by using the game engines others came out with. This made it so the best they could ever do was constantly play catchup instead of making their own and going towards making something new and better.

     

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  14.  
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    anti-mike fanclub member #1, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    Will someone answer me a question? here it is: SO WHAT? You can't make people quit working on a fan game. Under what authority? I can craft whatever I want in the privacy of my own home or in the privacy of my own online home.

    Now, you can try to keep me from releasing, distributing, or otherwise discussing the project in public.

    But there is no legal justification to prevent me from working on it.

    And then, once it is done, you just leak it, and blame it on a hacker.

    Can someone please tell me--why do these fan games close their doors as soon as they get hassled? I used to think it was because they were attention whores and knew nothing about making games, and getting the attention from the publisher, even to get "shut down" was their peak ambition, but 8 years is a long time to work up to a single epic act of attention whoredom.

     

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  15.  
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    Paul, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    WT-

    *face palm* I have no words for this. Activision seriously disappoints me.

    I seriously hope the project goes underground and is continued, 8 YEARS down the drain!?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Kings' Quest

    I love the smell of irony in the morning

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:36pm

    Re:

    Because none of that will stop Activison from bankrupting them through lawsuits (whether they are justified/legitimate or not).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:39pm

    I hope Bobby Kotick dies of stomach cancer.


    Activision and Ubisoft seem to be in a race to acquire "most despised" publisher in the industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:42pm

    Re:

    speak of Duke, a bunch of fans got together and had spent 2 years making Duke 3D maps for Quake 3. 3DR shut them down citing the old attorney stand by, "if we don't protect it, we'll lose it".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    mrtraver (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:50pm

    Activision, Ubisoft, EA all pissing off people who want to pay them for their games...Stardock needs to step up and start cranking out the titles!

     

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  21.  
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    FarSide, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:01pm

    Damnit.

    I was just about to buy the whole franchise for $20 on Steam. Now if I do I'll feel like a colossal jerk for giving them money. If only I'd bought it last week, I could have the games and be guilt free about it...

     

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  22.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Damnit.

    thus, pirates.

    Good job Activision

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:55pm

    Who Bought Whom?

    I thought that Vivendi bought Activision. The cussing here is backwards... Still dislike all the games they both "create"

     

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  24.  
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    Christopher Smith, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:22pm

    Estoppel?

    I know that if you have deep pockets and your target doesn't, you can sue for no reason at all, but on a level playing field would there be an argument for estoppel against Activision here? After all, the community developers invested lots of effort in the game after reaching an agreement with the then-rightsholder, and Activision is kinda late to the game in calling takeback.

     

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  25.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Sigh...

    Oh man, I have a nostalgia for King's Quest, too. Except I always got too impatient to get very far.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Then call up the EFF

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    anti-mike fanclub member #1, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re:

    And then what? A year from now, is activision going to get a judge to issue a warrant to have their computers seized to find out whether they have quit working on it?

    Well, in that case, the fangame guys would need to yammer about how contrite they were and keep working on it privately. So lets keep our fingers crossed, maybe thats what they'll do

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Joe Perry (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 10:37pm

    Re: Who Bought Whom?

    well, it was a merger between Activision and Vivendi, in which Vivendi came out the largest shareholder, then Vivendi, which also owned the game developer/publisher Blizzard, made the new company Activision Blizzard, which is run by the former Activision CEO. Vivendi itself is just a media conglomerate based in France; video game publishing is just one of the things they deal in (which is how they managed to come out owning more shares).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Ian Channing (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 5:03am

    No more comments

    So it seems either that Activision are terrible at writing comment forms (their website is a terrible flash mess to start with), or they've stopped people from sending comments. After checking on both Firefox and IE their comment form (http://www.activision.com/index.html#contact|en_GB) only has one 'To' address - Customer Support and selecting this takes you to their random support pages.

    Do let me know if you find another way to let them know how super great I think they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    yozoo, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 5:33am

    Activision

    They couldnt piss gamers off anymore if they publicly urinated on a statue of masterchief. This company has made it clear for years now that they consider thier customers rubes and will treat them as such.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    With secondary liability, it would be the developers legal obligation to prevent a leak. Unless they have money to pay an experienced lawyer.

    The reason these C&D work is because its big companies with thousands of lawyers "impressing" upon those who have little to no ability to fund their own legal counsel. So the only logical thing to do for most people is to acquiesce to the demands.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    anti-mike fanclub member #1, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re:

    Whatever, if only I could be arsed enough to work on a project for 8 years for the sole purpose of forcing this scenario to happen, we'd see how it would play out differently if someone with a backbone were in the spot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Graham of Daventry, Jun 25th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    What's happening at The Silver Lining website?

    Hey, you should go check out The Silver Lining website: http://www.tsl-game.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Graham of Daventry, Jun 26th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    TSL WILL see the light of day!

    The countdown is over, and TSL will see the light of day!

    Head on over to http://www.postudios.com/ and http://www.tsl-game.com/ to find out all about it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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