Rights deal leads to partnership for retail release of three titles

Double Fine reclaims two IPs from Nordic

Double Fine has managed to reacquire the publishing and distribution rights to two of its titles, Costume Quest and Stacking, and entered into a partnership with Nordic Games for a three game retail release in early 2014.

The San Francisco studio, headed by industry favorite Tim Schafer, has mostly stuck to digital sales since it decided to trust to Kickstarter, private investment, and its own revenue to fund the majority of its games.

However, the triple threat of Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and Stacking are about to become exceptions to this rule and will hit store shelves in the first half of the year targeting Mac and Windows PCs.

Nordic Games is a natural choice for the retail partnership, since it’s had control of the Stacking and Costume Quest IP since picking them up from the bankrupt THQ early this year.

"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," said Schafer.

Double Fine has made headlines over the past two years since launching the Kickstarter project that catapulted the crowd funding platform into the gaming limelight, and has kept that momentum with a flurry of small releases thanks to multi-team approach rare among mid-sized studios.

"We can’t wait to partner with Double Fine for this upcoming retail launch of three of its most excellent games," said Nordic Games CEO and owner Lars Wingefors.

"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."

Though Mr. Schafer’s story of a heist may well be exaggerated, it has been reported that Double Fine was a player in the THQ bankruptcy auction and the studio’s policy of controlling its own IP makes it very likely that the two companies were actually at odds over who would take control of the titles from the defunct publisher.

"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,” said Double Fine’s business development VP Justin Bailey.

This will be Psychonauts second appearance at retail, first released in 2005 but currently only available through digital download services, but for Costume Quest and Stacking it’s a first showing on store shelves.

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