Author Topic: WB Retiring Adult Swim Games  (Read 1304 times)

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Offline lolmonade

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WB Retiring Adult Swim Games
« on: March 13, 2024, 01:10:58 PM »

WB is getting a track record for cancelling properties

An update to the March 8th Nintendo World Report Article:

Last week other news outlets started reporting that Warner Bros. Discovery is set to remove Adult Swim Games from digital storefronts, potentially putting twenty-six games at risk of erasure within the next 60 days as of May 6th.  We first heard of this news from Matt Kain, developer of Fist Puncher.  In a follow-up statement on 2Bit’s situation, Matt Lewandowski provided the following:

“A director of production from WB Discovery reached out on Monday March 4th and informed us that they will be retiring Fist Puncher due to "internal business changes." Retirement is scheduled within the next 60 days (no date set yet). We requested that they transfer Fist Puncher back to our studio (we have a developer account on Steam where we publish other games so they could simply use the Steam transfer tool to transfer the game back to us). Their response was that they "cannot transfer the game" due to the fact that they "made the decision not to transfer ownership due to logistical and resource constraints." It sounds like they are choosing not to transfer games back to any of the studios that created them.

We're still hoping that WB Discovery chooses to give Fist Puncher back to us. It's been out for 11 years and we built a community around it through Steam. We also had an incredible experience working with Adult Swim over the years. The original team that helped us get Fist Puncher on Steam was passionate about elevating interesting and unique games from small studios. That said, if we do not get the current release of Fist Puncher transferred over to us, then we will likely re-release it under our own account. We still own the game and the IP so a re-release is certainly possible. And as someone who is passionate about preserving game history, I hate to see any game get lost to corporate red tape..”

Since then, we have reached out to individual developers who worked with Adult Swim Games to learn how this has affected their work. Some titles (Glittermitten Grove, Battle Chef Brigade and Rain World) have been spared thanks to retaining the rights to their works prior to the incident.  In one extraordinary case, Owen Reedy, Developer of Small Radios Big Televisions, released the Windows PC version of the game free to download on his personal website.  

For others, the future of their games are still murky, and Warner Bros’ recent history of shelving films like Batgirl and Coyote vs. Acme doesn’t inspire confidence in preserving the games’ availability.  Further statements from developers impacted are below.  We will update this story as more details are available.  

“I haven't retained a lawyer to interpret this situation, but to the best of my understanding Glittermitten Grove is safe. Twinbeard got the publishing rights back in 2020.”

Jim Stormdancer, Twinbeard Games (Glittermitten Grove)

“Fortunately we were able to regain the Rain World publishing rights from Adult Swim Games a few years back (after a 1 year+ legal battle), and afterward we were able to sign a very reasonable publishing deal with Akupara Games. So no, Rain World will not be de-listed.

We had the tremendous advantage of being successful and having funds and a legal team at our disposal. We were very lucky but I'm sure few of the other ASG devs will have the resources to fight this.

These are small independent developers, often solo devs, who signed seemly straight forward publishing deals only to get sucked into a world of sketchy corporate shenanigans. The situation absolutely sucks and I hate it.

Our hearts go out to all our peers who are affected.”

James Thereien, Videocult (Rain World)

“Thankfully, our lawyers had a clause added to the ASG contract that enabled us to get the publishing rights back over a year ago. Even so, it felt like we were lucky to terminate the contract then because so few people were left who knew how to use the Nintendo and Steam backends to complete the publishing control transfer.

We haven't received any communication, presumably because we got all the rights back well before this recent decision.

I think it's extremely unfortunate that it sounds like the games will be delisted instead of someone doing a relatively small amount of paperwork or selling the rights to an indie publisher who could then help out. At the least, this is a harsh reminder of how important it is to take care when signing publisher contracts. Dev teams are often very close to running out of money when signing with a publisher, which puts them in a vulnerable position.

At the least, WB should terminate the agreements with the devs so that they can re-publish the games. That won't fix the damage that will be done by delisting, but players and fans shouldn't lose the opportunity to play so many great games.

Thankfully, our upcoming, unannounced title won't be in danger of this sort of disaster. I hope indie publishers improve their contracts to put dev teams and long-term access first.”

Tom Eastman, President of Trinket Studios. (Battle Chef Brigade)

“We are aware of the situation and I can guess it's a matter of time that WB sends us the ill fated official email, but as of today nothing yet.”

Enrique Corts, Super Mega Team (Rise & Shine)