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FreeSpace IP bought by Interplay for $7,500

As companies continue to pick titbits from the carcass of THQ, walking skellington Interplay has bought the intellectual property for the zappy space'em up series FreeSpace. Oh gosh, avert your eyes my dear sweet young one, you'll cry when you read how much it went for: $7,500.

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As companies continue to pick titbits from the carcass of THQ, walking skellington Interplay has bought the intellectual property for the zappy space'em up series FreeSpace. Oh gosh, avert your eyes my dear sweet young one, you'll cry when you read how much it went for: $7,500.

Interplay published the original Descent: FreeSpace - The Great War in 1998 and its 1999 sequel FreeSpace 2, and still sells them to this day, but the IP was held by developer Volition. The studio was snapped up by THQ in 2000 and, well, is now owned by Deep Silver following THQ's collapse.

According to a court document [pdf] spotted by Polygon, the price Interplay paid was only $7,500. Is that cheap? Well, probably, but it has been 14 years since the last game and I don't imagine it sells too massively. But how much are memories worth?

That's not to say FreeSpace is dead: an industrious team continues to polish up the open-sourced FreeSpace 2 engine with the Source Code Project, which has also been used as the foundation for games including Battlestar 'em up Diaspora.

But don't get too excited dreaming about Interplay making new Freespace games. The company today is little more than a sad husk that reminds us of better times so we pretend not to hear when it rattles the cellar door, like a grandparent. More likely is that Interplay wants to have everything all tied up nicely as it continues to sell the old games, not needing to worry about anyone else.

One space series THQ had that we're likely to see more of is Homeworld, as it was bought by Gearbox. The Borderlands creator plans, at the very least, to "preserve and assemble the purest form of the original acclaimed and beloved games ... with the intent of making them accessible on today's leading digital platforms."

From The Chatty

  • reply
    June 7, 2013 7:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, FreeSpace IP bought by Interplay for $7,500.

    As companies continue to pick titbits from the carcass of THQ, walking skellington Interplay has bought the intellectual property for the zappy space'em up series FreeSpace. Oh gosh, avert your eyes my dear sweet young one, you'll cry when you read how much it went for: $7,500.

    • reply
      June 7, 2013 8:44 AM

      Right... Homeworld is in great hands. Does anyone actually bother to look at Gearbox's record of games? I've never played the BiA games so I can't comment on those, but everything else they've released in almost the last decade has been crap. When you get past the hype of the Borderlands games and realize the bland mindless game play under a mildly interesting art direction you're left with nothing. Duke Nukem and ACM? Great record.

      Gearbox is surviving on marketing, and an illusion of success that fans have placed on them. It's definitely not their games.

      On the actual article topic: Owning the IP doesn't stop a gutted studio from licensing to someone actually capable. Love me some Freespace.

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        June 7, 2013 8:46 AM

        I love the BiA games so there must be someone with talent working there

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        June 7, 2013 8:57 AM

        I'd say it's 50/50, but only because Gearbox tends to do a lot of PC ports of console games. As long as they aren't asked to finish off a game some other developer already had well underway, they tend to do pretty well. Look at Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Half-Life: Opposing Force, and the majority of the BiA franchise (which you can't discredit just because YOU haven't played them, because lots of other people have) for examples of games they got right. ACM was largely outsourced, DNF... (well, you probably know the story there), and the rest of their back catalog is just ports for other companies.

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          June 7, 2013 8:59 AM

          Just to clarify on Borderlands: I'd say Borderlands 1 was just as good as Diablo 1, and Borderlands 2 gave the team a chance to iterate on the first game and figure out how to make it less tedious and more fun, just like Diablo 2 compared to Diablo 1. They may not be the best games on the market, but they're not bad IMHO.

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        June 7, 2013 9:06 AM

        I enjoyed Borderlands, but they stole the shit out of Codehunters.

        This is what Borderlands originally looked like:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSvTqfmv3DE

        This is Codehunters:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmeP1YkaeTo

        This is what Borderlands ended up looking like:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=fArm_D6TuRE

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        June 7, 2013 9:12 AM

        You talk a lot of sense.

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        June 7, 2013 10:45 AM

        There's a lot of quality in BL2.

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      June 7, 2013 8:48 AM

      Man, at that price the community could have bought it and set it free.

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        June 7, 2013 11:16 PM

        Pretty much what this guy said.

        Damn all. If I had known it was going so cheap, I would have got together with a couple of friends and bought the damn thing myself - only for bragging rights if nothing else. :p

        14 years old or not, $7500 is like - PEANUTS!!

        Its really sad that see such an illustrious series valued so low. Loved both the Descent & Freespace series. The only space sims I rate higher are the Tie Fighter & X-Wing series.

        If Interplay is concerned about financial viability, it should consider following the path CR did with SC and gauge consumer response via KS for this game.

        I seriously believe that a KS for this game with a reasonable budget would hit it within 30 days or less.

        Please don't screw this up Interplay......

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      June 7, 2013 8:51 AM

      Alice,
      Battlestar or even BATTLESTAR, not BattleStar

      • reply
        June 7, 2013 10:47 AM

        Would've been better as BattleStar... big stars... fighting.... wars between stars... ramming each other... sucking each other's gasses, siphoning their fusion... yeah, I'd watch that!!

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      June 7, 2013 9:06 AM

      i coulda bought that shit :(

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      June 7, 2013 9:08 AM

      :'(

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      June 7, 2013 9:25 AM

      Oh the irony. After all this time, Freespace joins its brethren Descent, but in the hands of a shell of a company to waste away :(

      My bet is Interplay is seeing the stirring of a space sim revival under the likes of Star Citizen and others and wants back control of the IP just in case someone is interested in licensing it out

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      June 7, 2013 11:27 PM

      I think it's more surprising that Interplay is still (somehow) in business. I know they sold Fallout (again), but it wasn't for that much money.

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        June 7, 2013 11:30 PM

        interplay is only in name only. It's a small team of lawyers at this point managing their properties trying to fleece investors into thinking they are the same company they once were.

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      June 9, 2013 2:38 PM

      Why wasn't Derek Smart involved??

      I demand a recount!.....or something....