Last week was pretty hectic around the site and I missed being a little more timely on this news. It was January when we last heard about the legal feud between Stardock and the Star Control creators, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche. At the time, Star Control: Origins had just returned from extinction after Ford and Reiche filed a DMCA takedown against Stardock’s allegedly infringing efforts.
We were expecting more legal battles but in a twist of fate, all parties involved have come to an amicable agreement. Each side released their ownstatements but the gist is that their differences have been settled and both parties can now create the games they set out to make, with just a few modifications. Ford and Reiche’s statement lay things out in a handy list format and include revelations like:
Stardock will create new games in the Star Control franchise. Paul & Fred will create new games in the Ur-Quan Masters franchise.
To help differentiate the two franchises Paul volunteered to create a few new alien races for Origins.
Stardock dropped all its alien name and character trademarks and all parties have dropped their oppositions to each other’s trademarks.
The settlement resolved all issues with all the parties, including Valve and GOG.
Stardock accepts that Paul & Fred are the creators of Star Control and Star Control II.
Most importantly for fans of the series (and delisted watch dogs), is the news that the original Star Control trilogy has returned to sale on both Steam and GOG.com. Stardock has become the new publisher of the relisted titles and royalties will be split evenly between all parties.
So unless a new antagonist appears with a lawsuit stating that they own the rights to Star Control, it looks like these tumultuous delistings and relistings are finally behind us. Ya know, until Steam or GOG shut down anyways.
Star Control: Origins is back on sale on Steam and GOG.com after being removed on December 31st. The delisting was due to a DMCA take-down filed by franchise creators, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche, and was the latest action in a years-long feud between Stardock, who purchased some of the Star Control IP from Atari in 2013. Stardock celebrated the news with another detailed blog post on January 28th.
“Thanks to the timely review of the situation by our partners at GOG and Valve, and taking the exceptional step in placing our game back for sale, despite ongoing litigation, we have been able to avoid having to lay off employees assigned to the project.”
It sounds like this isn’t the end of the legal battle between Stardock, Ford, and Reiche, but for the time being the game is off the Extinct list and on sale with its DLC, season pass, and soundtrack in tow. Stardock also mentioned that work on the console versions of Star Control: Origins is once again under way.
A DMCA takedown notice has resulted in Star Control: Origins being removed from both Steam and GOG.com on December 31st. The take-down notice is the latest development in a years-long feud between Stardock — who purchased very specific rights to the Star Control IP from Atari in 2013 — and the franchise creators, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche — who announced their own Star Control sequel in 2017.
It only gets more convoluted from there but Polygon has as succinct an explanation as I’ve read so far.
In response to the takedown Stardock’s CEO Brad Wardell has laid out the studio’s response, promising that those who already own the game can continue to play and that “without the income from Star Control: Origins, Stardock will have to lay off some of the men and women who are assigned to the game”. On Twitter he further ensured that “we will have Star Control: Origins distributed directly at StarControl.com as soon as possible”.
Now that the threats have resulted in a takedown it’s not likely that the game will return to Steam and GOG.com any time soon. It could eventually happen but would likely take another court order to repeal the takedown. For now I’ll begin working on a page for the game and update it when the next wave of litigation hits.