South Park Digital Studios, the subsidary responsible for the video game rights of the popular animated comedy series, have lodged an official complaint with THQ as the financially-troubled company launched their auction process for individual intellectual property rights.
That auction was due to include the sale of publishing rights to upcoming RPG game South Park: The Stick of Truth , but it appears now that ‘SPDS’ (an ‘interactive division’ of South Park Studios (who presumably will soon be called Important Studios)) are objecting to their property being sold on without their input, claiming that the game cannot be auctioned without their own approval.
The complaint was filed last week to the Delaware bankruptcy court that commissioned the auction, and includes an argument from SPDS that they only gave publishers THQ a license to use the show and its characters/content rather than , with Obsidian responsible for development of the game in a similar deal.
They claim that as intellectual property holder, South Park Digital Studios reserve the right to intervene on the publication rights being sold on their behalf, and that it is not THQ’s decision. It is also noted in the contract provided to the court that South Park Digital Studios have the right to reclaim the license in exchange for the full amount that THQ have invested on the game, and to complete the case, SPDS also claim that THQ owe them $2.275m in defaulted payments.
THQ have responded to this move with a court filing of their own, arguing that due to an exclusive license being given to them in the contract, they are within their rights to put it up for auction alongside its wholly-owned assets, and that their debts to South Park Digital Studios are ‘already satisfied’, with additional documents being shown to the court as proof.
The game in question, alongside franchises such as Metro and Saints Row, were listed in the auction that began on Monday (21 January) with a bid deadline of yesterday, while a sales hearing was heard today announcing the results.
While a formal statement on the matter has not yet been made by anyone involved, early rumours are suggesting that French studio Ubisoft (best known for publishing game franchises such as Assasain’s Creed, Driver, Rayman, and Tom Clancy) have brought the rights to the South Park game. This could become an invalid deal if the matter was not resolved and SPDS did not get their wish to buy back the publishing rights and resell it themselves, but on the flipside the rumoured new partnership could go ahead, potentially ending the long-term uncertainty over its release date…