question regarding intellectual property and publishing with choicescript


i’ve been working on worldbuilding and planning for a game i want to publish using choicescript, and i love it! however, as i continue to plan and have more ideas, i’ve come to realize that some of these can’t be “properly” implemented using choicescript alone.

my question is: if i use choicescript/hosted games to publish a game, am i later able to create, for example, a visual novel using ren’py in the same world?

apologies if the answer to this question is obvious, but i hope it’s okay if i ask it anyway! my main reasoning for being unsure is in the hosted games contract which states,

You will retain full IP rights on your game, granting us an exclusive license to publish your multiple-choice game electronically.

and i want to make sure i understand how ‘exclusive’ the license is.


If I’m not mistaken, COG’s concern is more what you do with their Choicescript engine. Your writing is completely yours unless you sell them the full rights to your work (I believe a few COG/HG authors actually took up COG’s offer in return for upfront payment).

The license is, so that people don’t sue their shop on claims on unauthorized sale of their work. Something like that. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


The “exclusive rights” refers to the game they publish for you.

For example let’s say you publish “A Knight’s Folly”; a fantasy game of swords and sorcery where you play a Knight who is given a quest to slay the evil necromancer, and you publish it through CoG/HG.

You can then publish “A Mage’s Journey”; another fantasy game of swords and sorcery set in the same world but this time you play a mage who is training to compete in a mage tournament. You could publish this through another company.

What you can’t do is release “A Knight’s Folly” with a different publisher.

Hope this helps.


yes! thank you both, this answers my question entirely.

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@Aereath I think there are limitations though. I don’t think you can publish a twine version of your choicescript HG game somewhere else for example.

@xolive If you’re going to want to publish the same game as a CYOA in another format I’d say this is really a question for COG. I don’t know if a visual novel would be far enough separated to be acceptible by the publishing terms. You should email them directly if its a concern.

Edit: Sorry missed “same world”. Then yes, can definitely write what ever you want in your own world as long as it’s a different project :slight_smile:


I have this exact question, actually, myself, relating to adapting the work to a Visual Novel.
The way it reads now it seems like it would be fine should you decide so later, but I’d love for COG to make a formal reply since it seems there are more people who are unclear on the matter.

Of course I can mail them directly as well though it’s a tad premature on my part it helps to be clear on what is legally possible. I appreciate both the question(s) and the answers so far, thank you all as well :slight_smile:


I think it’s a legitimate concern. Writing a gamebook takes a lot of investment in time, months or maybe years. So you should want to find out about any legal conundrum as early as possible.

I can’t speak for the company, but gathering from other post I do think CoG would consider a VN a competing format. But it’s better to confirm with them.


That’s the one I had in mind.

That answers my question as well, thanks for the replies!

Keep in mind that there is such a thing as a ChoiceScript commercial license:

I know that this isn’t exactly the same thing (the ChoiceScript commercial license is for selling ChoiceScript-based IF not through CoG, as opposed to what you’ve proposed), but even so, I suspect it’s possible that CoG would be open to an arrangement allowing you to sell a version of your originally-Hosted Games-published story on a competing platform if you were happy to sign a contract allowing them to take some % of gross. But as always, you’d need to drop them an e-mail.

If you just create a game using ChoiceScript but don’t publish it through Hosted Games or Choice of Games, I don’t believe the “exclusive license” thing comes into play. (Though you would need to arrange a commercial license with CoG if you wanted to sell any version of your game that is implemented in ChoiceScript.)