No One Lives Forever lives in licensing limbo

Phil Savage

System Shock 2 may have shaken free from captivity, but there are plenty of classic games still trapped in a licensing no man's land, prevented from receiving a digital re-release. One of those games is No One Lives Forever, Monolith's 60s set comedy spy shooter. It was originally published by Fox Interactive, who were acquired by Vivendi in 2003, who merged with Activision in 2008. So do Activision have the rights? Their community manager Dan Amrich released a coded message, using an obscure cryptic language called English, about why Cate Archer has gone MIA.

"The person that I normally talk to about this stuff does not believe that we currently have the rights," Amrich says. "They've never seen it. They've never been given the permission to put that stuff on Good Old Games. He said, basically, 'If we had it, I would love to be able to reissue those old games.' So, that leaves the question if Activision no longer has the rights to No One Lives Forever, who does?

"Monolith was the developer that handled those games, and they are now part of WB. So I wondered if maybe at the time when Activision was saying 'we'll keep these, we'll leave these, we'll sell these, whatever,' maybe Monolith stepped up and took their IP back. So I contacted a friend at Monolith... and he doesn't know. So, unfortunately, all I can definitively say is that at this time I do not believe that Activision has the rights to No One Lives Forever."

That message will now self-destruct in... no, wait, it's a YouTube video. We're probably fine.

Most likely scenario? The license is hidden down the back of the sofa in a secret underground bunker, kept from the public by an uber-evil super-villain to prevent potential secret agents from overthrowing him through comedy FPS espionage. That or its stuck, unloved, in the dusty vault of some publisher back catalogue.

If you're not sure why you should care about a NOLF re-release, let Tim Stone tell you why you must play it .

Thanks, Blue's News

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