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Alpha Protocol taken down from Steam, still belongs to Sega


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Alpha Protocol was Obsidian Entertainment‘s first original IP after their first two titles, which were both sequels to BioWare games, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and Neverwinter Nights 2. However, SEGA still held the publishing rights to the IP, and though Obsidian had an interest in developing a sequel, SEGA never greenlit it on account of the game’s poor commercial performance at launch. Now, as it approaches its tenth anniversary, Alpha Protocol is no longer available for sale from Steam, PlayStation Store, or Xbox Marketplace, as noted by Resetera users.

The Steam page specifically says “At the request of the publisher, Alpha Protocol™ is no longer available for sale on Steam”, while on other storefronts there’s no mention of it having been available to purchase.

As we noted in our feature on the 15th anniversary of Obsidian Entertainment, Alpha Protocol had a complicated development history and a complicated launch. It was and remains a niche title as a spy RPG. When Obsidian first pitched it to SEGA, it was well-received. According to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, “[SEGA] loved it. They said, ‘Hey, this is different. It’s not dragons, it’s not phasers.’ You don’t see a lot of spy RPGs. Sometimes we go: maybe there’s a reason for that!”

The final product, as released in 2010, was rather underwhelming and overshadowed by BioWare’s Mass Effect franchise, which had a similar dialogue wheel system—at the time a novel design. Apart from that, it was lacking in terms of gameplay, graphics, and AI, all the while suffering from all the usual problems that Obsidian’s games had suffered at launch. The writing and its handling of choices and consequences were very original and the game achieved a certain cult status mostly because of it, but that wasn’t enough for SEGA, who announced there would be no sequel.

We’ve reached out to SEGA, Microsoft, and Obsidian Entertainment for comment on the delisting of the game. SEGA has responded with the following statement:

Following the expiry of SEGA’s publishing rights for Alpha Protocol, the title has been removed from Steam and is no longer on sale.

It’s also worth noting that any customers who have bought and downloaded Alpha Protocol will still be able to play it and any customers who have bought it but not downloaded it, or since deleted it will still be able to download it at any time, so it doesn’t change anything for the owners of the game.

According to a follow-up reply, SEGA also confirmed that the publishing rights reverted to Obsidian.

We will update this article if more information becomes available.

Edited by Infinitron
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FAKE NEWS: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-06-19-alpha-protocol-pulled-from-steam-as-sega-publishing-rights-expire


UPDATE 20th June 2019: Sega has been in touch to say it still owns the Alpha Protocol IP, and to clarify the game was pulled from Steam due to the expiry of music rights.

Last night, Sega issued a statement saying Alpha Protocol was removed on Steam "following the expiry of Sega's publishing rights". This was incorrect.

The future of Alpha Protocol, then, remains in Sega's hands.

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6 hours ago, Aoyagi said:

And of course they're going to hold onto it with the intention to never use it ever again. These cocwombles should be crucified just for giving AP fans false hopes.

Did they ?  Seems like people inferred a hell of a lot and did that to themselves.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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8 hours ago, Infinitron said:

For a few hours, everything was right in the world...

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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5 hours ago, Malcador said:

Did they ?  Seems like people inferred a hell of a lot and did that to themselves.

They *literally told a news agency* that the rights had inverted back to Obsidian. Or at least a news agency had reported such. Nobody "inferred" anything. It was directly stated.

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