Baldur’s Gate pulled from App Store, work on BG2 halted (UPDATED)

*rolls*

I attempt to cast ‘distribution rights unlocking cantrip’.

Beamdog honcho Trent Oster posted a note overnight that replaced the BaldursGate.com front page, asserting that “contractual issues” have led his team to remove Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition from the App Store and desktop marketplaces. The note adds that these problems mean that the latest patch for BG:EE can’t be released, nor can the long-awaited Android edition, or Baldur’s Gate 2. The site notes that there’s no projected date for this all to be sorted out.

The reworking of the classic Dungeons & Dragons PC RPG was a hit last year when it was released in December — Phil gave it a five-star review here at PT.

Over at Eurogamer, Wesley Yin-Poole highlights the serpentine rights-holding arrangements that made Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition possible in the first place:

The team at Overhaul Games is made up of old BioWare staff. Their leader Trent Oster co-founded BioWare along with his brother Brent Oster, Marcel Zeschuk and the doctors Greg Zeschuk, Ray Muzyka and Augustine Yip. Publisher Atari is the Dungeons & Dragons licence holder for video games (Baldur’s Gate is based on the D&D rule set), but then there’s Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to think about. Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast, which owns and publishes the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is (was?) an officially licensed Wizards of the Coast product. It’s all a bit messy.

That’s like a legal version of “Who’s On First?“. I’ll see if I can’t talk to Trent Oster today.

UPDATE: An industry source tells me that a complaint from Atari is to blame here. I’m speculating here, but this may well have something to do with Atari’s upcoming IP auction.

UPDATE (19:50 BST): I reached out to Wizards of the Coast earlier and they’ve come back to me with this official response that appears to disavow any involvement with BG:EE’s removal:

We were disappointed to learn that Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition has been temporarily removed from sale on Beamdog.com and the Apple App Store. We are confident that Beamdog is working diligently to resolve issues with their publishing partner so they can resume sales of Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition.

I haven’t heard anything back from Atari at this point and Beamdog/Overhaul have declined to comment. Seems reasonable to infer that the finger can be pointed directly at Atari.

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