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Game News Starbreeze cancel OtherSide's System Shock 3 publishing deal and demand their money back

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Starbreeze Studios; System Shock 3

    Underworld Ascendant's release back in November was just as disastrous as it appeared to be on launch day. The game reviewed horribly and has sold virtually zero copies. A month after its release, OtherSide published a pathetic mea culpa, finally revealing that their original funding partner had bailed shortly after the game's Kickstarter in 2015 and they they'd spent most of its four and a half years of development spinning their wheels. But no matter how bad Ascendant may have looked throughout its development, there'd always been reason to believe that OtherSide Austin's System Shock 3 would not suffer a similar fate, thanks to its seemingly ironclad $12M publishing arrangement with Swedish publisher Starbreeze Studios.

    You know, the same Starbreeze that filed for administration and was raided by the authorities for insider trading back in December, following years of mismanagement. Yeah...for a while it looked like the System Shock 3 deal might actually survive all that, but today the inevitable happened. Not only have Starbreeze cancelled their arrangement with OtherSide, but they appear to be demanding all of their money back in exchange for returning the game's publishing rights. Here's their press release:

    STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (February 11, 2019) – Starbreeze and OtherSide Entertainment have mutually agreed to sell back the publishing rights to OtherSide Entertainment for “System Shock 3”. Starbreeze expects to be fully reimbursed for costs the company has had in connection with development of the game.

    Starbreeze acquired the publishing rights for “System Shock 3” in 2017 and has since then partly financed the development of the game. The title owner OtherSide Entertainment and Starbreeze have now reached an agreement whereby Starbreeze returns the publishing rights for the game to OtherSide and will be able to recoup the development costs.

    “I believe this is the best solution for us, although it is sad that we cannot complete the project with OtherSide. System Shock 3 is a fantastic title developed in cooperation with the industry legend Warren Spector and I am looking forward to seeing the game released”, said Mikael Nermark, acting CEO Starbreeze AB.

    As previously announced, Starbreeze will focus on its core business of games development and publishing. Starbreeze holds publishing titles for “Psychonauts 2” and “Ten Crowns”.​

    Notice the absence of an actual quote from the other party in there. OtherSide have yet to publicly respond to these events, and I'm not sure they ever will. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like unless they have another published lined up they're probably toast.
     
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  2. himmy Arcane

    himmy
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    What a mess. This project was doomed from all directions. Truth be told, it must be very difficult for small and medium sized studios to be taken seriously and trusted with IPs or publishing deals when shit like this pops up constantly at that level.
     
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  3. vortex Arbiter

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  4. hpstg Learned

    hpstg
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    They probably couldn't pay them for development. Starbreeze then gave them the rights for the exact amount they were contractually obligated to pay for development until this point.

    The end deal is that Starbreeze pays nothing and they sacrifice an imaginary game to do so.
     
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  5. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Maybe somebody like Mustawd could chime in, but damn if this sentence:

    With no actual quote from anybody from Otherside in the press release, doesn't sound vaguely like extortion. One near-bankrupt company trying to cannibalize another?
     
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  6. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    It’s entirely dependent on the agreement they signed. License agreements I’ve worked on all have “if this happens then that happens” type of clauses.

    My main area of experience deals with royalty agreements, reinsurance deals and multi partnership real estate deals. There’s always CYA clauses in them. I mean even the PoE2 Fig stockholder doc is full of these “if this happens then that happens” type of stuff.

    For example, the Fig Poe2 circular mentions that if revenue slows down significantly Fig can just cancel the revenue share agreement entirely. They give examples but the specific circumstances are up to them.

    I’d expect something similar woth Otherside’s agreement, but it might also be the case that Otherside just simply doesn’t have the funds to dispute. And they took a best worst possible solution instead of wasting a ton of money in legal expenses.

    My old company used to just pay off patent trolls unless they got especially greedy, for example. Another example was a debt deal among various private equity partnerships. Where one basically agreed to repay upfront costs if certain metrics weren’t met, bankruptcy ensued or other specific actions happened.


    A lot of these decisions are “let’s minimize the damage” sort of things.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  7. Maggot meme king

    Maggot
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Nothing of value was lost.
     
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  8. Agame Savant

    Agame
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    In fact much was gained, one less piece of garbage associated with a classic title.
     
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  9. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    yea. still doesnt get over underwhelm ascendant
     
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  10. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
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    How utterly predictable.
     
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  11. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Would be great if Starbreeze just sent an email to Otherside that read, "You are no longer welcome here, nuisance. Why do you stay, when you sense my displeasure? I have suffered your company long enough; it is time for our dance to end."
     
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  12. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    sadly it will be furthering the decline in immersive sim. AAA projects like dishonored and prey flopped, publisher interest are at its lowest. indies has show that they are uncapable of producing such complex games within their scope of production capabilities.

    at least we still got some decent thief mod coming.
     
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  13. Diggfinger Arbiter

    Diggfinger
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    Outerworld fails so horribly it makes all other RPG Kickstarter RPGs look like masterpieces. What a shame.

    Maybe Warren should just continue his promosing career as a game reviewer instead?

    UPDATE: the 'mea culpa' article seems more justificative than apologetic:

    "As a consequence, the game went out rougher than it should have. None of the challenges the project faced are an excuse. We should have done better.

    Mistakes aside and despite its flaws at launch, we believe Underworld Ascendant has the bones of a truly good game, and we’re now working hard to make the goodness show through much better."

    I.e. yes our game is shit but you guys suck for not liking it?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  14. AwesomeButton Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

    AwesomeButton
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    What stops them from finding another backer for the project?
     
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  15. aratuk Arbiter

    aratuk
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    But what will happen to the next Doublefine adventure?

    I am increasingly concerned that they might have to endure the shame of moving — not even to Oakland, since it's become so much more expensive these days — but maybe like Hayward or San Pablo.
     
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  16. Feyd Rautha Cipher Patron

    Feyd Rautha
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    They are in such bad luck with publishers and funding. It's like they are cursed
     
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  17. toro Arcane

    toro
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    Probably it's for the best: after Underworld Ascendant nobody really wants to see another abomination from these guys.

    Also Game Design Legend Warren Spector should be done with gaming by now.
     
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  18. Curratum Learned

    Curratum
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    The state in which they delivered U:A?
     
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  19. Max Heap Savant

    Max Heap
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    From how they formulated it I assume they carry warren spector around with the license like an extra tacked onto the game?
    Goes to show what these big names are actually worth. It's clearly just a marketing scheme.

    Either way, I hoped Otherside would get the bill for the state they released UA in (and beyond that, making me play through it like that).
    I hadn't hoped for them to crash and burn though.

    Gotta be careful what you wish for.
    haha ~ whoopsy!
     
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  20. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    someone did a whoopsy and now it is all poo poo
     
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  21. DJOGamer PT Magister

    DJOGamer PT
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    Wrong.

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Junmarko Ravioli di canguro Patron

    Junmarko
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    "System Shock...wait a sec...I remember..."

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Politician Lurker King

    Politician
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    DEUS VULT!
     
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  24. vortex Arbiter

    vortex
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    This. Get back Ken Levine to make SS3. 2K has the power for it. We should just clone Ken Levine so he can work on multiple games at once.
     
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  25. Junmarko Ravioli di canguro Patron

    Junmarko
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    It'll end up with someone else, it is System Shock. Better off with Ghost Story for sure :salute:
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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