Question about IP rights


#1

So, when releasing a Hosted game or a 25% royalty Choice label one, it says you retain the IP right to your characters and stories, and grant them the exclusive license to publish your game. My question is about that last bit.

If I, much later, converted the story into a more visual game (think Ren’Py or something), that uses the same plot and still put the focus on the choices the player is making, would that be considered too similar, and thus illegal, or would the visual aspects distinguish it enough?

I’m asking because I work really like CS, and would like to release my game here in this format, but I would also like to eventually make a visual version of the same story that I could market a lot easier, especially because it’s based in the same world as the comics I write. Comic readers tend to like the pictures, after all. If it helps, I also plan to implement a simple Final Fantasy type combat system and small puzzles in the visual game that won’t be present in a CS version.

Hopefully the question makes sense, and thanks in advance to anyone who can answer!


#2

@SpaceLesbian, I would think a review of the contract would be in order. The CoG site says the license is to publish “your multiple choice game electronically,” but I’m not sure if the contract would define “multiple choice game.”

I’d just talk to Jason about it.

And yes I agree comics readers love artwork. I’m inserting some interior art in my WiP to keep a little of the comic book vibe.


#3

@SpaceLesbian

You could make a game in the same universe in another system but you wouldn’t be able to release the same game in the new system.


#4

Basically, you can’t produce another gamebook from it. You could end up making a movie, conventional novel, or anything else for the same story, though, I think.


#5

I think this is something to ask @DanFabulich and @JasonStevanHill

There is one hosted game that’s sold elsewhere, I’ve no idea about the specifics of that licensing agreement though.


#6

@FairyGodfeather
Are you referring to Wizard’s Choice?


#7

@SpaceLesbian Ren’Py is an Interactive Fiction language. The contract does preclude you from publishing the same game in another IF language.

As Sam said, you’re free to publish the same story/characters/whatever in traditional story/novel format, in movies, in other games, music, whatever. Just not in IF.


#8

Just curious, does a visual interactive novel qualify as “other game” or “IF”?

The case with Wizard’s Choice is different. The game was already available for Android under Sam Landstrom’s label.


#9

@Mayday
I believe it does. :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

Yeah, I agree – a visual interactive novel (such as would be created in Ren’Py) would be against the rules.

Generally speaking, to re-use the plot and characters of a Choice of game that was published by Choice of Games, I would expect that you would need to add a ***core-gameplay element*** that was not present in the original game and ***couldn’t*** be added to the original game.

Adding “win a game of tic-tac-toe” as an alternate solution to a problem in the game wouldn’t be enough.
Making the game a 3rd person shooter would almost certainly be enough (think Mass Effect, if you’ve played that game).

If you are concerned that this limitation might impact you, my recommendation would be:

  1. Don’t publish via Choice of Games – nothing prevents you from selling the game on your own, as far as I know. If you are planning on selling the “non-Choice Of Games” version, you’ll need to setup an idependent channel for marketing / selling your game /anyway/, so might as well get that out of the way up-front.
  2. Break your game in half – the first half will be published via Choice of Games, and (based on whatever criteria) the second game may be published on another platform. Sequels / prequels (even if they involve the same setting and characters) aren’t restricted.

#11

yeah, what @mreed said.