Night Dive Studios filed for a trademark on No One Lives Forever last year, which was cause for celebration not only because NOLF was such a great game but also because Night Dive seemed like the ideal outfit to bring it to modern platforms: They're the guys who were finally able to resurrect System Shock 2, after all. But studio founder Stephen Kick has told Kotaku that after months of trying to nail down the rights to the game and make something happen, it's all come to naught.
The first and foremost challenge facing Night Dive was figuring out who actually owned the rights to the game. It was developed by Monolith and published by Fox Interactive, but in the decade-and-a-half since it came out, Monolith was acquired by Warner Bros. Interactive, while Fox Interactive was purchased by Vivendi, which then entered into a merger with Activision. Warner appeared to be the primary rights holder but told Night Dive that Activision "has some ownership" as well, as a result of that merger.; Activision, however, said it couldn't confirm its standing because the records predated digital storage and it wasn't entirely sure where the paperwork was. 20th Century Fox, which Night Dive also contacted, was in the same boat.
There wasn't much enthusiasm for the idea of re-releasing NOLF from anyone, according to the report, but the wheels didn't come off entirely until December 2014, when Night Dive received a letter from an attorney representing Warner that threatened legal action if it went ahead with a new version of the game. That led to further back-and-forth regarding licensing, but in February the final word came down that Warner wasn't interested in either publishing an updated NOLF itself, or partnering with Night Dive to make it happen. Because of that, Night Dive said it will now let its trademark on the title lapse.
It's a tremendously disappointing outcome. No One Lives Forever was a brilliant game (the sequel was pretty good, too) and it's an absolute shame that corporate indifference has left it trapped in limbo. I still hold out hope that it will be released again someday, but obviously it's not going to be anytime soon.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.