After a possibly daring heist, Double Fine regains its games ‘Stacking’ & ‘Costume Quest’

double fine recovers stacking costume quest rights possibly result heist

Double Fine Productions is now back in control of the publishing and distribution rights to its games Costume Quest and Stacking, the developer confirms. The two titles once belonged to THQ, but Nordic Games swooped in and nabbed them at auction when the publisher was dissolved earlier in 2013. The deal also sees Double Fine and Nordic partnered for PC/Mac releases of Costume QuestStacking, and PlayStation 2-era gem Psychonauts during the first half of 2014.

“I am pleased that we have regained full control over Costume Quest and Stacking, following a daring and top-secret midnight raid on the Nordic Games headquarters in Vienna,” Double Fine CEO and president Tim Schafer said in a statement. He offered no details of how the heist unfolded, but we’d like to think that it was a complex plan involving a quartet of super-drills, an extremely well-trained crow, and an extra-large ball of twine.

Nordic CEO Lars Wingefors did his level best to dispel any suspicion of nefarious doings on Double Fine’s part. “We can’t wait to partner with Double Fine for this upcoming retail launch of three of its most excellent games,” he said. “However, I feel compelled to point out that we were happy to transfer distribution rights for Costume Quest and Stacking back to Double Fine in an entirely non-secretive and heist-free manner.”

Sure, Lars. We believe you. We totally can’t see Schafer standing behind you with a loaded gun pointed at your back.

Double Fine made clear its intention to recover the rights to its two games from THQ right around the time the publisher folded. The intellectual property rights were never an issue – those always belonged to Double Fine – but the publishing and distribution rights were THQ’s. The developer’s own biz dev VP Justin Bailey offered an explanation for the move while also giving further credence to the possibility that this “deal” is really just the public-facing product of a daring heist.

“Double Fine is dedicated to controlling its own IP, and we will continue working to bring all associated rights back in-house whenever possible, no matter how many split-second security system hacks or painstaking tunneling operations we have to execute.” 

Nordic disagrees. “I just want to clarify, again, that we support the right of independent developers to control their own distribution, and we were pleased to have the opportunity to work with Double Fine,” managing director Klemens Kreuzer said, adding, “No heists.”

Guys, really. Just blink out the morse code for S.O.S. if you’re actually in trouble. We’ll send help. Promise.

Costume QuestStacking, and Psychonauts have all been available for Windows/Mac via virtual storefronts, but the 2014 offerings mark the first time that any of the three will be available as physical releases for your home computer.

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