What ever happened to No One Lives Forever?

While oodles of older series have received reboots, revivals, re-releases or spirtual successors lately, we can't even pay to download the poor old No One Lives Forever games. What could put Monolith's delightfully daft spy-fi shooter series out of action for so long? Well, it seems the question of who exactly owns the rights is something you'd need a super-secret agent to investigate.

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While oodles of older series have received reboots, revivals, re-releases or spirtual successors lately, we can't even pay to download the poor old No One Lives Forever games. What could put Monolith's delightfully daft spy-fi shooter series out of action for so long? Well, it seems the question of who exactly owns the rights is something you'd need a super-secret agent to investigate.

No One Lives Forever, if you missed it, was a stealth-ish FPS series set in a charmingly camp world of 1960s spy-fi, starring agent Cate Archer. Along with guns and crossbows and whatnot, she was armed with fine gadgets like sleeping gas perfume and a distracting robotic poodle. They were fun, they were funny, Cate was lovely, and they had the oddest on-rails sequence in video games.

The first game was originally published in 2000 by Fox Interactive, which was acquired by Vivendi, which itself then merged with Activision to become Activision Blizzard. Sequel A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way and sub-par spin-off Contract J.A.C.K. were published by Sierra, which also ended part of Vivendi then Activision Blizzard. As for Monolith, it has since been bought by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

So which of these is responsible for keeping people from these fine games? Er. No idea.

After a fan asked, Activision's official blogger Dan Amrich did a little digging and drew a blank.

"The person that I normally talk to about this stuff does not believe that we currently have the rights," he said. "They've never seen it, they've never been given the permission to put that stuff on Good Old Games. They said basically, 'If we had it, I would love to have been able to reissue those games.' So that leaves the question, if Activision no longer has the rights to No One Lives Forever, who does?"

When Activision and Vivendi merged, they sold off rights to a fair number of games and series-"streamlined their portfolio," to talk business. Amrich suspects NOLF may have vanished then.

"I wondered if maybe at the time when Activision was saying 'We'll keep these, we'll leave this, we'll sell these,' whatever, maybe Monolith stepped up and took their IP back. So I contacted a friend at Monolith and he doesn't know. So unfortunately all I can definitively say is that at this time I do not believe Activision has the rights to No One Lives Forever."

While Activision has been jolly good about re-releasing older games, sadly whoever does own the rights to NOLF either doesn't know or isn't interested in bringing them back. Shame.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 8, 2013 12:30 PM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, What ever happened to No One Lives Forever?.

    While oodles of older series have received reboots, revivals, re-releases or spirtual successors lately, we can't even pay to download the poor old No One Lives Forever games. What could put Monolith's delightfully daft spy-fi shooter series out of action for so long? Well, it seems the question of who exactly owns the rights is something you'd need a super-secret agent to investigate.

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      April 8, 2013 12:34 PM

      Activision happened.

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      April 8, 2013 12:44 PM

      id loved a remake of these....but female hero...aint nobody got time for that!!

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      April 8, 2013 12:46 PM

      Interesting. So It's in the same legal dead zone that stuff like Descent and Freespace are, but at least for those we know the legal entity that is what is left of Interplay these days is just camping them

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      April 8, 2013 12:48 PM

      That and Tron 2.0 are some of my favorite story-based shooters ever. Luckily I have the CDs for all of them :)

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      April 8, 2013 12:48 PM

      So, are we back to the days of printing 2 day old news from Blue?
      http://www.bluesnews.com/s/140550/no-one-knows-who-owns-nolf

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        April 8, 2013 1:46 PM

        u mad?

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        April 8, 2013 3:45 PM

        it's easier if you just get your news from one source... then you can avoid these frustrating moments in your life.

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        April 8, 2013 8:37 PM

        ...printing?

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        April 11, 2013 3:40 PM

        whoa whoa whoa... more importantly - Blue's is still around? I had no idea.

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      April 8, 2013 12:50 PM

      Two of the best games I've ever played. I re-bought this a while ago for nostalgia's sake, the back of the box has (C) for:

      2000-2002: Monolith
      2002: 20C Fox, Fox Interactive
      2003: Sierra

      The distributor was Xplosiv Europe (I'm in the UK), who I guess are bust as their domain is being camped. and IGN as this http://uk.ign.com/companies/xplosiv

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      April 8, 2013 12:53 PM

      mouseinput and movement of the engine always felt really off. also whats this shit alice, a female fps hero? whats next, a black president?

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      April 8, 2013 1:14 PM

      Wait so the upshot of that article was that you asked one person at Activision who's a community manager or something, they asked one person in legal and that's it?

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      April 8, 2013 1:21 PM

      Just release it as free to download and see who sues you

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      April 8, 2013 1:36 PM

      NOLF is in the top 3 of all time for me! I pull it out every couple of years, just played it thru again in December. A rare "total package" game that had action, intrigue, great (albeit campy) storyline, humor, nice voice acting. Did not enjoy NOLF 2 near as much, but actually didn't find Contract J.A.C.K. as bad as most people did. Since the owner of the license doesn't seem to be able to be found, I think some enterprising programmer should start up a Kickstarter to reboot the series!! :)

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      April 8, 2013 1:53 PM

      I'm not gonna play as some stupid gurl!

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        April 8, 2013 8:29 PM

        That would make you a stupid male. For one she's not stupid, and two the gameplay is so good you won't care.

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          April 8, 2013 8:42 PM

          Goddammit Nana, get off the computer before you give away your social security number again.

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      April 8, 2013 1:56 PM

      This reads like someone paraphrased a forum post

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      April 8, 2013 2:07 PM

      The rights to NOLF going into the proverbial ether is a travesty. :/

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      April 8, 2013 2:21 PM

      The person you should ask is Jace Hall.

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        April 8, 2013 2:33 PM

        King of teh monstars?

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        April 9, 2013 1:12 AM

        Yep, Jace Hall said WB does and I would trust him over some Activision suit since it's his old studio who made the IP.

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          April 9, 2013 1:18 AM

          Well WB has published things on Steam, snap to it then, I want some NOLF on Steam! Not like I wouldn't be willing to pay again.

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      April 8, 2013 2:30 PM

      You look like you need a monkey.

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      April 8, 2013 3:40 PM

      Alice, you need to contact Stephen Kick, the guy who brough System Shock 2 back. Maybe he will be interested in pursuing NOFL.

      http://www.nightdivestudios.com/about.html

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        April 13, 2013 9:56 PM

        They already are persuing NOLF

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      April 8, 2013 3:58 PM

      i remember the guard conversion in NOLF about the guy seeing a soldier getting his jaw shot off in the Korean War. that was cool.

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      April 8, 2013 5:23 PM

      I wonder if Jace Hall knows; he was still at Monolith / WBIE Kirkland at the time the NOLF franchise was pigeonholed by Sierra.

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      April 8, 2013 7:02 PM

      These were two of my favorite games.

      If you don't like shooting mimes while on a tricycle, there is something wrong with you.

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      April 8, 2013 7:03 PM

      Now I want to replay these games.

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      April 8, 2013 8:26 PM

      I still go back and replay these games on occasion. Both are exceptionally enjoyable, I would love to see their return, but only from a Dev that gets their campy humor and experienced pacing.

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        April 8, 2013 8:37 PM

        Hell, I just want them on digital distribution, so much more convenient than discs.

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      April 8, 2013 8:46 PM

      Word is N.O.L.F, while awesome for those of us that played it, didn't make enough money.

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      April 9, 2013 7:19 PM

      I found nolf 2 while going thru my old games collection. I remembered it ran like ass on my system back then, but decided to reinstall it on windows 8 64 bit, only worked after installing the latest patch, but it was worth it to relive the nostalgia.

      It's the kinda game I'd imagine if austin powers & archer had a baby, lol.

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        April 15, 2013 8:11 AM

        @ Zigzagitry: please provide the patch link you used to download NOLF2 patch for running it on Win8. I've got the NOLF2 disc and would like to re-live it on my new Win8 x64 PC.