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Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:53 am
by EnderSE15
Borgie wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:28 pm I have to say, I must give credit to all parties for finding a resolution. I myself am still sour towards Stardock. Paul is clearly a better person than I am, especially given the tone of their announcement. It will be some time before I can decide if I will buy any Stardock products. This resolution does make it easier to consider.
I'm still sour towards Stardock too, and am unlikely to buy any of their products any time soon - not least because Brad Wardell rather childishly blocked me on Twitter (he could have engaged, or simply ignored me, when I said I was unlikely to buy Origins because of the bullying of P&F by Stardock). 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.

Still, I'm glad it's resolved, and looking forward to GotP if P&F ever get around to making it. Meanwhile I'm rediscovering the Megamod version of SC2/UQM.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:29 am
by Spaceport
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.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:54 pm
by Elestan
That's a very good summary; I'll just make one minor quibble/clarification:
Spaceport wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:29 am1. It has the potential to hurt the brand[...]
Technically, P&F don't have a "brand", because whatever brand identity Star Control had was controlled by the trademark, which (per their contract) was originally owned by Accolade and eventually bought by Stardock.

"The Ur-Quan Masters" open-source project has arguably developed a new (trademarked) brand identity based around essentially the same (copyrighted) content that SCII had. P&F have been granted the trademark for "The Ur-Quan Masters", which the maintainers of the open-source project have not contested.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:49 pm
by Spaceport
Elestan wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:54 pmTechnically, P&F don't have a "brand", because whatever brand identity Star Control had was controlled by the trademark, which (per their contract) was originally owned by Accolade and eventually bought by Stardock.
Yeah, I should clarify; I meant that it would be hurtful to whatever brand they create to market their sequel. Gamers who don't know the intricacies of the franchise might still recognize elements used by a company that hypothetically licensed the rights in recent memory. Connections would also be drawn for low information consumers in news articles and on social media. If that licensed game bombed, people might assume this new game isn't worth the effort before they ever delve deep enough to learn that it's actually made by the original creators.

It's not a huge problem if F&P release their sequel as an indie that they have no intention of trying to make money off (I'm still not clear if Activision gave them permission to work on a game for profit), but in 2013 they likely continued to hope that Activision would reverse course and let them make a sequel under their umbrella. That association with a recent bomb would not have helped their case.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:47 am
by 2-23-6
So is Ghosts of Precursors ever coming out? Did they ever give the word?

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:27 pm
by Death 999
The legal issues soaked up their whole leave from Activision, and presumably as part of the agreement they held off on it for some span of time. We probably are not legally allowed to know how long.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:17 pm
by krulle
I presume they are in a project for Activision again, and now have to wait for the project to wrap up before starting their investments into UQM2.
https://www.dogarandkazon.com/ wrote:The terms are not confidential. We won't be publishing the text of the agreement, but we are free to describe all of its contents.
So, they may talk about the terms, but not disclose the actual wording of the terms.
https://www.dogarandkazon.com/ wrote:To help differentiate the two franchises Paul volunteered to create a few new alien races for Origins.

Brad offered to help Fred and Paul with technology.
But Paul will work with Brad to design some original species for StarDock's Star Control universe.
And it could be F&P will design their game in the engine of StarDock. Or at least some part of the engine might be used for UQM2.

Which hopefully will make it interesting enough for a follow-up. By both sides.
Designing new species might give Paul some story ideas for UQM2.

Now, to your actual question:
2-23-6 wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:47 amSo is Ghosts of Precursors ever coming out? Did they ever give the word?
There will NOT be a game named Ghosts of the Precursors by Fred&Paul in the UQM universe.
[url]https://www.dogarandkazon.com/blog/2019/6/11/the-only-way-to-win-is[/url], 11 June 2019 wrote:Paul and Fred will be changing the name "Ghosts of the Precursors" to something a little less generic -- (come on, you know we can do better!). The precise ‘when’ is unclear, but it is still several years off.
We're just a good year after the settlement. Several years I interpret as "at least 3 years, likely 6 or more".

Be patient, my little one.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:32 pm
by Elestan
krulle wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:17 pmAnd it could be F&P will design their game in the engine of StarDock. Or at least some part of the engine might be used for UQM2.
This seems extremely unlikely to me, unless it was forced upon P&F as part of the settlement. Given the fights they've had to endure over these IP rights, I think that the last thing they would want to do is to give Stardock additional control over their future game by using its technology.
krulle wrote:
P&F wrote:The precise ‘when’ is unclear, but it is still several years off.
We're just a good year after the settlement. Several years I interpret as "at least 3 years, likely 6 or more".
The word is that the settlement blocks them from talking about it for two years (until Summer 2021). But how long it will take them to rebuild the financial and social resources they had to expend in the legal fight is anyone's guess.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:15 pm
by krulle
Elestan wrote: Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:32 pm
krulle wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:17 pmAnd it could be F&P will design their game in the engine of StarDock. Or at least some part of the engine might be used for UQM2.
This seems extremely unlikely to me, unless it was forced upon P&F as part of the settlement. Given the fights they've had to endure over these IP rights, I think that the last thing they would want to do is to give Stardock additional control over their future game by using its technology.
I found it weird too, but it's the only interpretation I can come up for "Brad offered to help with technology".
Maybe it'll just be some rendering engine, ship creating tool, or similar
We simply don't know if the UQM2 will even use a starmap, or will see another complete re-design of interstellar travel (similar to the complete re-designs from "Vol. IV" to "Star Control 2" to "Star Control 3").

edit: corrected the quote "Brad offered to help with technology" (was: "Brad will help with technology").
This sounds like Brad maybe offered the use of StarDock's engine, but the formulation used on the blog post leaves the acceptance of the offer completely open.
I wonder whether Fred and Paul even have made a final decision on this.

Re: Sequels strife

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:19 pm
by Elestan
krulle wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:15 pm
Elestan wrote: Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:32 pm
krulle wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:17 pmAnd it could be F&P will design their game in the engine of StarDock. Or at least some part of the engine might be used for UQM2.
This seems extremely unlikely to me, unless it was forced upon P&F as part of the settlement. Given the fights they've had to endure over these IP rights, I think that the last thing they would want to do is to give Stardock additional control over their future game by using its technology.
I found it weird too, but it's the only interpretation I can come up for "Brad will help with technology".
Note that the actual quote is (emphasis added):
Brad offered to help Fred and Paul with technology.
Brad offering is not surprising; he's been wanting P&F to hitch their game to Stardock from the beginning. But they've never given any indication that they were actually interested in doing so.