EnderSE15 wrote: ↑Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:53 am
That said, I sort of get the point (though I'm not sure Wardell ever explicity made it) that P&F have made practically zero progress on a sequel over 25 years, but wouldn't let anyone else use any of their IP to make anything else in the SC universe either.
They've had their hands rather tied, though. Fred and Paul spent years lobbying Activision to let them work on a sequel. Activion's refusal meant F&P had to go off on their own and create the game independently, an expensive and challenging endeavor because they need to self-fund/seek outside investors, find time to do this away from their responsibilities to their company, and get Activision's approval. F&P have a conflict of interest clause in their contracts that prevented them from even discussing the issue with Brad without first going through a process of approval with Activision. The result of that was, according to Paul, this: "we just received word from Activision. Unfortunately, our employment relationship does not permit us to participate in outside projects – most especially ones which are for-profit."
Licensing the IP in the meantime is problematic on two counts.
1. It has the potential to hurt the brand, making it even more difficult to get approval or funding to pursue their own sequel. They had already seen what happened after Star Control 3, so they have good cause to be protective of their IP.
2. Anybody purchasing a license is going to want to exclusive rights for the period in which they're developing games using that content, including Brad who, even without the license, went to great lengths to try to make sure that Fred and Paul's sequel wasn't released any time close to the release of one of his Star Control games. As a consequence, any licensing deal could forever prevent F&P from making their own game. As long as whoever they licensed the rights to makes a new game every so many years, the license wouldn't revert back to F&P, and who can predict how much success a new series would have? It could go on for 20 years or more, and the license holder could extend it simply by creating a cheap, garbage game just to maintain the rights for another X number of years.
Paul and Fred told Brad, in 2013, that they didn't want to license their IP to him because they still dreamed of finding a way to be able to make a sequel themselves, and within a few short years they finally got approval from Activision to work on it independently. Had they said yes to Brad, that approval wouldn't have meant squat as they wouldn't be entitled to use any of their IP until Brad let it revert back to them or unless they agreed to work on their game under Stardock's umbrella. While Activision may have been willing to finally grant F&P's request to work independently on a passion project of theirs, it's extremely doubtful they would have allowed them to work with a competing studio. Not that that is a great option anyway as then F&P are beholden to Brad who would want F&P to work on a game funded and released by Stardock.
Licensing deals are extremely messy and really should only be entered into if the property holder doesn't think they can do anything with it themselves or if they're willing to forgo the possibility of using it themselves to get cash now.