The classic 90s Discworld series of point and click games, based upon the legendary book series penned by Terry Pratchett could get rereleased or remastered, according to designer Gregg Barnett, but it could prove rather tricky.
Discworld arrived in 1995 and was quickly followed up by a sequel in 1996 titled Discworld: Missing, Presumed…!? While the first two games featured the cowardly Rincewind the Wizzard, Discworld Noir in 1999 introduced a a brand new character called Lewton, a private investigator.
The three games went on to become cult classics and are often pointed to as some of the best examples of the early point and click genre along with the likes of The Monkey Island series. Like a lot of point and click games from the time, they were also criticized for their often insane leaps of logic.
All three games have become unplayable outside of using emulators such as ScumVM. As someone who grew up playing the Discworld games, I’ve used emulation software in the past to revisit them, but it sure would be great if they could be released on modern hardware.
That’s where designer Gregg Garnett comes in. Speaking to Time Extension, Gregg was quizzed on whether the three games could be rereleased or even remastered, especially because Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of Sir Terry Pratchett, commented that nobody was sure who owns the rights to the trilogy, owing to the original developer, Perfect Entertainment, shutting down.
“Yeah! We are a little bit beyond that point. I don’t want to give you a scoop, but a Discworld re-release may happen.” Said Gregg Garnett. “”The original rights are complicated in the UK, but it turns out that 50% reverted to me as the creator because the company Perfect Entertainment had been closed for over 10 years.”
“Whenever something closes in the UK, intellectual property rights revert 50% to the original creator and 50% to the crown, which is King Charles. So that’s the two owners of the games. So yes, there have been discussions and something may be happening down the track – a rerelease or a remaster. But it’s obviously a complicated process when you’re dealing with the crown.”
It should be noted that IP rights are not handed over to the The Crown per such. Rather, the rights will have gone to the National Archive who have the ability to license it out, or even to fully transfer the ownership of the IP.
What’s interesting to me is that none of the rights appear to have reverted to the Pratchett estate. I don’t have enough legal knowledge to know why this might be the case, though.
I’m personally thrilled that the mystery of the rights appears to have been cleared up and that there is at least a tiny sliver of hope that the games could be released on modern hardware. As massively popular as the Discworld books became, a rerelease of the games or even a remaster could be a great moneymaker if a suitable team could be fine and licenses sorted out.
Quick, someone call King Charles and tell him to get his shit together: we need Discworld back on our computers and in our hearts.