Atari Behind Baldur's Gate Legal Issues

Atari Behind Baldur's Gate Legal Issues

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition Screen

Atari is the source of a recent legal dispute stalling continued work on the Baldur's Gate: Enchanced Edition and its sequel.

The Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition offered gamers and longtime fans of the game a spruced up version of one the role-playing genre's most beloved classics. You can imagine the surprise of some, in turn, when it was revealed Beamdog and Overhaul Games, the teams behind the Enhanced Edition, were being forced to pull the game from Beamdog's website and Apple's App Store on account of some unexpected legal issues. In the wake of this, some noted that the Steam version of the game, managed by Atari, had been left up and available for consumers to purchase and play.

Now, Beamdog CEO Trent Oster has revealed that Atari is in, in fact, behind the games impromptu removal. "At the request of Atari legal we removed the game from sale on Beamdog and the App stores," said Oster. "Atari is still selling the game through their channels. We're trying to remedy the situation and I'm hopeful we can come to an arrangement." Oster was unable to offer any further details as to why Atari had requested the game to be pulled. In the mean time, work on a promised patch and Android edition of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition have been stalled. Likewise, work toward the launch of Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition has been put on hold until a resolution to the current issues can be found. All of this is, of course, fairly depressing to fans of the series who had hoped the Enhanced Editions might eventually lead to a third entry in the vaunted franchise.

Source: Game Informer

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The link to Game Informer is broken (is a relative link).

This seems like Atari is screwing Beamdog over. They apparently think they have absolute publishing rights, so Beamdog is not allowed to sell the game by itself.

I wonder if Beamdog simply did not read the contract right, or if this is another case of neo!Atari being a dick.

erbkaiser:
The link to Game Informer is broken (is a relative link).

This seems like Atari is screwing Beamdog over. They apparently think they have absolute publishing rights, so Beamdog is not allowed to sell the game by itself.

I wonder if Beamdog simply did not read the contract right, or if this is another case of neo!Atari being a dick.

Thanks kindly! I'll fix thst.

erbkaiser:

I wonder if Beamdog simply did not read the contract right, or if this is another case of neo!Atari being a dick.

I'm guessing the former. If it's the latter, Atari is losing profits from people who don't want to buy it through Steam, and will have fewer developers willing to work with it in the future - both are things that it can't afford right now.

Maybe it has something to do with Atari not getting its agreed upon share of the Beamdog/direct sales, or with Overhaul's lack of cooperation regarding the Steam version and not releasing patches for it in a timely manner.

I'd be sad if Beamdog made good games, as it stands they couldn't even make good HD remakes. (Seriously, MDK2HD and Baldur's Gate: EE have to be the most half-assed HD rereleases I have ever seen, well besides Silent Hill HD collection)

Where did these people get the idea that they can make Baldur's Gate III?

Didn't I read something a while ago about Atari filing for bankruptcy? Or did I just dream that up?

EDIT: Aha, seems I'm not crazy - http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/23/4358348/atari-seeking-2-2-million-in-bankruptcy-auction

The timing on this stinks. It feels less like Beamdog have done something wrong, and more that Atari want to be able to offer a complete publishing rights package when they try to flog their crap off at auction.

MC1980:
d Baldur's Gate: EE have to be the most half-assed HD rereleases I have ever seen)

I was thinking of buying Baldur's Gate EE, could you please explain this comment?

It is my understanding that EE is not an HD release and the focus was on the reworks and expanded content rather than on graphics improvement(I vaguely recall reading that most of the original artwork was lost, so they couldnīt make an HD version)

Omegatronacles:
Didn't I read something a while ago about Atari filing for bankruptcy? Or did I just dream that up?

EDIT: Aha, seems I'm not crazy - http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/23/4358348/atari-seeking-2-2-million-in-bankruptcy-auction

Atari has filed for bankrupcy several times so far. This is nothing new.

SkullKing:

MC1980:
d Baldur's Gate: EE have to be the most half-assed HD rereleases I have ever seen)

I was thinking of buying Baldur's Gate EE, could you please explain this comment?

It is my understanding that EE is not an HD release and the focus was on the reworks and expanded content rather than on graphics improvement(I vaguely recall reading that most of the original artwork was lost, so they couldnīt make an HD version)

According to the official BGEE and Steam Support forums, the game has some major game-crashing bugs. Apparently it's buggier than ever. They also charge way too much for these games, but that's just my personal opinion.

So in short: They try to sell a game they don't own the rights to?
How about sorting this shit out before you put work into something?

LordLundar:

Omegatronacles:
Didn't I read something a while ago about Atari filing for bankruptcy? Or did I just dream that up?

EDIT: Aha, seems I'm not crazy - http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/23/4358348/atari-seeking-2-2-million-in-bankruptcy-auction

Atari has filed for bankrupcy several times so far. This is nothing new.

Atari has failed so many times they make Dick Cheney's heart look reliable!

Omegatronacles:
Didn't I read something a while ago about Atari filing for bankruptcy? Or did I just dream that up?

EDIT: Aha, seems I'm not crazy - http://www.polygon.com/2013/5/23/4358348/atari-seeking-2-2-million-in-bankruptcy-auction

The timing on this stinks. It feels less like Beamdog have done something wrong, and more that Atari want to be able to offer a complete publishing rights package when they try to flog their crap off at auction.

Atari went bankrupt and are now in the process of liquidation which means the people running the company now are under a legal duty to maximise the money paid to the debtors of Atari. If they fail to do it they can be taken to court and fined for not doing so, they don't have choice in the matter. The written contract obviously shows that Atari have the publishing rights. If Beamdog had a verbal agreement with previous Atari management to the effect that they could sell as well, it is up to them to provide legal proof that overrides the written contract. The liquidators don't have any freedom in the matter, any and all decisions that they make are open to judicial scrutiny and they have to show evidence that will stand up in front of judge that the written contract has been superseded or amended by a verbal contract. My gut instinct here is that Beamdog forgot the old business maxim, if it's not written down it didn't happen.

Ishigami:
So in short: They try to sell a game they don't own the rights to?
How about sorting this shit out before you put work into something?

Nope.

Hasbro apparently own the regular publishing rights for the Baldur's Gate games, but Beamdog/Overhaul acquired the rights to develop and sell the Enhanced Edition. Then a deal was made with the ghost-inhabited zombie known as Atari to publish the EE on Steam.

It's anyone's guess what that rotten husk that is Atari is up to now.

JediMB:

Ishigami:
So in short: They try to sell a game they don't own the rights to?
How about sorting this shit out before you put work into something?

Nope.

Hasbro apparently own the regular publishing rights for the Baldur's Gate games, but Beamdog/Overhaul acquired the rights to develop and sell the Enhanced Edition. Then a deal was made with the ghost-inhabited zombie known as Atari to publish the EE on Steam.

It's anyone's guess what that rotten husk that is Atari is up to now.

Hasbro bought back the rights for their games from Atari in 2005 but as part of the deal was that Atari has exclusive rights for 10 years on the big franchises including D&D.

 

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