Star Control: Origins is back on Steam

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Star Control: Origins is now available again on Valve’s game platform Steam. The game was previously removed from that after Valve responded to a notice-and-takedown request from the makers of the original dos game Star Control 2.

Brad Wardell, the founder and director of development studio Stardock, announced on Twitter that the space game Star Control: Origins is now back on Steam. He says that he can’t publicly answer questions about why the game is now available again. However, Wardell seems to suggest that Valve has sided with Stardock in this conflict. In the message on Twitter, he reports that in this dispute Stardock, the website and Valve are on one side and Reiche and Ford on the other. Reiche and Ford are the creators of the original franchise, which was created in collaboration with Accolade at the time.

Wardell suggests that the two creators of the original dos game claim that Star Control: Origins infringes on their intellectual property because there is “hyperspace” in the Stardock game. The Stardock CEO shows a table that he believes comes from Reiche and Ford; the two makers would thus like to clarify their copyright objections. In the table, in which elements from Star Control 2, 3 and Star Control: Origins are placed side by side, this point of ‘hyperspace’ is mentioned, among other things. This element would be in both Star Control 2 and Origins. Also, the display of the hyperspace would match. Furthermore, the use of an ‘autopilot’ would also be in Star Control 2 and Star Control: Origins. Wardell disputes all these claims, stating that as a game maker you cannot ‘own’ concepts such as autopilots and hyperspace.

Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford are the creators of the original dos game. They previously came with a request to get Star Control 2 from Steam and, among others. Valve responded to this at the beginning of this month. The game hasn’t returned to GoG yet; it is unclear whether the title will be available here again soon.

Developer Stardock bought the rights to the Star Control franchise in 2013 under a bankruptcy auction of the US Atari division. Wardell said he was considering a reboot of the franchise, using the classic 1992 title Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters as inspiration. The new title, Star Control: Origins, was announced in October 2016. However, a year later, Reiche and Ford announced their own game called Ghosts of the Precursors. They see this as a direct sequel to Star Control 2. This led to a lawsuit from Stardock, after which a settlement was reached between the two. Apparently it didn’t stop there, as witnessed by the earlier notice-and-takedown request from Reiche and Ford.

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