When THQ filed for bankruptcy shortly before their implosion in January, Double Fine took an active interest in one small piece of the publisher’s DNA - the distribution rights for Costume Quest and Stacking. But in the auction that followed, the rights were scooped up alongside hundreds of others by relative unknowns Nordic Games.
Double Fine head Tim Schafer isn’t very happy about that - though he doesn’t particularly care about the money.
“It’s not, like, a lot of money,” he told Polygon. “It’s mostly for us to just tidy up things. And also an emotional attachment – more of a mission of Double Fine to own everything that we make.”
“It’s, like, this loose end that kind of bothers me that we’d like to tie up.”
Though Schafer wouldn’t comment on whether Double Fine had been in contact with Nordic Games about the rights, he did say that the indie studio was at a disadvantage in any conversion they might have.
“It’s frustrating when something’s really valuable to you for emotional reasons, and not that valuable to anyone else,” he said.
“Because they can still say, ‘Well, how much do you want it for?’ and it’s, like, ‘Aw, you know this isn’t valuable to you.’ It’s valuable to me, but not for business reasons, in a sense.”
The rights Nordic Games hold aren’t especially flexible - they allow the publisher to collect cash made on sales of Stacking or Costume Quest through a number of specific distribution channels. The good news is that Double Fine still own the IP for both games, which means they can make sequels to either in the future.
Still, it seems a bum deal for developers who repeatedly go out of their way to support their old games. 2005’s Psychonauts last received a major patch in September 2011, and 2009’s Brutal Legend was ported to the PC only this year. What do you think?