Developer Warren Spector Hopes To Recover Unreleased IP From Disney
After the recent news of Disney Interactive Studios' discontinuation of the Infinity series, and Avalanche Software shuttering on May 10, developer Warren Spector, best known for Ion Storm's Deus Ex, is showing concern about losing rights to an IP he worked on at Junction Point Studios.
Junction Point Studios, headed by Spector, was a studio acquired by Disney Interactive. This means any game Spector created at Junction Point remains legally owned by Disney. One of the IPs, potentially among others, is Necessary Evil, a game that was planned to be a Deus Ex spiritual successor in a near-future setting. Spector wrote on Twitter, "Necessary Evil was one of the IP I signed over to Disney as part of the Junction Point acquisition." Junction Point Studios was behind the first two Epic Mickey games. You can view the rest of his tweets below:
Hey, Disney, now that you're out of games can I have the IP I created at @JunctionPoint back? You're never going to do anything with them.— Warren Spector (@Warren_Spector) May 14, 2016
Since Disney acquired @JunctionPoint they own my near-future action, modern day ninja & epic fantasy concepts. It'd be nice to get 'em back— Warren Spector (@Warren_Spector) May 14, 2016
With Disney in control of Spector's concepts, it seems he's hoping to work out an arrangement in which Disney transfers them back at a modest fee.
Other instances of creators who sought to regain control over their IPs include Patrice Désilets and Tim Schafer. After being laid off, Désilets sued Ubisoft when he lost his rights to his IP 1666: Amsterdam. Désilets has since been returned his rights to the game outside of court. Schafer and his studio Double Fine similarly regained IP rights to Costume Quest and Stacking, after those games were acquired by Nordic Games Publishing in the THQ auction in 2013. Situations like this can be tricky, but these two cases show that sometimes creator requests can eventually have positive resolutions.
We've reached out to Disney for further comment, and will update this article if and when we hear back. Outside of trying to regain his IP, Spector is entering his last week as director at the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy at the University of Texas, and is working on System Shock 3. You can find out more about Spector's unreleased IP in our podcast interview with him from last year.
News about the discontinuation of the Infinity series, along with Disney's hand in console game publishing coming to an end, was unfortunate to hear earlier this week. Considering the layoffs and casualties that result, large studios shuttering are never a good situation for anyone. I hope that Spector will be able to have his rights returned to him for whatever games he's worked on under Disney, without the messiness of a legal battle.