Another fan tribute bites the dust

I shouldn’t be surprised, but it still comes as a depressing blow: Went2Play’s high-quality remake of Fate of Atlantis has been told to pack it in because “guuhhh license uggghh copyright blaaah.”

"Doctor Ubermann! Not-so-fantastic news."
“Doctor Ubermann! Not-so-fantastic news.”

It’s hardly surprising, given that the game was not just a remake of an existing game by a well-known developer (LucasArts) that Went2Play didn’t have the rights to, but that said game was also an Indiana Jones game, another license that Went2Play didn’t have the rights to. Looking back on it, I suppose a venture of this nature was doomed to fail.

It’s also incredibly disheartening, because this is another case of seeing dedicated, creative souls wanting to pay tribute to a favorite game of theirs, only to get shut down by the powers that be because it might “hurt sales” or somehow sully the brand.

Are they within their right to shut it down? Of course. No one is debating that.

Is it, as my mate Gareth says, morally right? No. Not if you ask me. These people were not out to spite the original, or claim it as their own.

The bigger question is: Would a fan tribute to a game of this kind really hurt sales of the original?

I don’t have the answer to that. My gut reaction says no. People would look at this and think, “Wow, that looks cool. I should try the original.” Shawn (of Infamous Quests), however, says people would be too cheap to spring for the original because a) the new one would be shinier, and shiny is all a modern audience cares about, and b) the original costs money, and modern audiences don’t like to spend money.

If it was an old game that had been out of circulation for a long time, perhaps even on the brink of obscurity, I would definitely disagree.

But this one is a tricky one because you’re not just dealing with an old game. You’re dealing with an old game that’s still being sold and has the goddamn Indiana Jones name on it.

And maybe Shawn is right that, should someone who’s unfamiliar with the original stumble upon this, they would have no interest in subsequently going out and paying for the original.

The counter-argument to that is, well, Fate of Atlantis sells for peanuts on GOG and Steam; it’s hardly like this is make-or-break territory. But, through the eyes of corporate thinking, lost revenue is lost revenue, even if it’s just peanuts.

As much as it pains me to see it go, maybe it was foolish to think Fate of Atlantis: Special Edition would ever actually be completed. It hurts to see an effort with this much love, affection and talent behind it get squashed — yet again — but this is the world we live in, it seems.

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