BitComposer and GSC feud over S.T.A.L.K.E.R. rights

BitComposer's claim that it has acquired the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise has come under fire from developer GSC Game World, which cites legal documents showing its CEO as the license holder.

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BitComposer Games, the publisher of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat in the US and Europe, had claimed yesterday it had acquired the license to the franchise and was planning new games. That didn't sit well with developer GSC Game World, which claims it holds the trademark to the games.

In an email sent to Gamasutra, Eugene Kuchma of GSC Game World noted that the trademark filings still show GSC's CEO in possession of the license. "From time to time news on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand purchase by this or that company appear over the Internet," read an e-mail from Kuchma. "We have doubts regarding the mentioned product by BitComposer (the publisher of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat in some territories), since the latter has significant debts in terms of fulfilling the obligations under the existing contract between our companies."

BitComposer defended its position, saying: "We hold the license for PC and video games from the Strugatsky brothers," he said. He reiterated, "The owner of the license was the Strugatsky brothers. As far as we know, GSC never had the license for S.T.A.L.K.E.R."

However, a marketing director at the Russian games company Nival may have discovered another wrinkle that complicates matters. BitComposer may have actually bought the rights to the novel universe, not the game franchise rights themselves. That would give them the ability to make something similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., even if they couldn't use the name.

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    December 13, 2012 3:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, BitComposer and GSC feud over S.T.A.L.K.E.R. rights.

    BitComposer's claim that it has acquired the rights to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise has come under fire from developer GSC Game World, which cites legal documents showing its CEO as the license holder.

    • reply
      December 13, 2012 3:09 PM

      I just want S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. If GSC doesn't want to make it, just let someone else do it, ffs...

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        December 13, 2012 11:23 PM

        I honestly think it'll lose that special feel if someone else does it.

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      December 13, 2012 3:13 PM

      I would play Roadside Picnic: The Game.

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        December 13, 2012 3:26 PM

        So would I. Besides, GSC made so many changes to the original concept that the most you could say is that they used the concepts of the Stalkers and the anomalies / artifacts; pretty much everything else was either radically altered or thrown out and exchanged for something else.

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          December 14, 2012 1:59 AM

          STALKER the game series was based more on the Stalker movie, which itself was based on Roadside Picnic.

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      December 13, 2012 10:15 PM

      get out of here stalker

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      December 14, 2012 2:01 AM

      Roadside Picnic, Stalker and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are all different things, even if they may be loosely related in concept. Seems like BitComposer bought the right to the books and mistakenly assumed that gives them the rights to the games that were created by different people too.

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        December 14, 2012 3:11 AM

        Which if true, is extremely weird, since they have previously signed a publishing agreement with GSC Gameworld over one of those previous titles, clearly showing that the authors of the book didn't have all the rights bitComposer now is claiming. You can't buy something from someone that doesn't own it. S.T.A.L.K.E.R as a product name in the games category is trademarked by the CEO of GSC Gameworld and I don't see them succesfully challening that just because they signed a licensing deal over a book called Roadside Picnic.

        IANAL.

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      December 14, 2012 11:47 AM

      Epic fail, bitComposer. L2aquire the correct rights.