Warner Bros. gives Adult Swim games back to their creators rather than kill them

A Victorian-esque portrait of a couple, with a mother holding a baby, a man holding a pickaxe, and the words
Enlarge / Timely art from the game Traverser, soon to be published by developer Gatling Goat Studios.

Gatling Goat Studios/Adult Swim Games

Warner Bros. Discovery has spent at least two months threatening more than a dozen indie games developers with the “retirement” of their games, with little to no response as to why they couldn’t do something simple and much better for the games’ players and creators.

Late last week, one of the Adult Swim Games creators impacted by Warner Bros. Discovery’s (WBD) seeming shutdown posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he received an email from Warner Bros. indicating that his Duck Game was “safe.” “[T]he game is being returned to corptron along with [its] store pages on all platforms,” Landon wrote. The same went for Owen Deery, whose notice from WBD about his game Small Radios Big Televisions brought attention to the media conglomerate’s actions and who posted that his game, too, will have its ownership and store listings returned to him.

As noted by PC Gamer, the 60-day timeline originally provided to developers for their games to be delisted has passed, and yet most of the Adult Swim Games titles are still up.

WBD seems to have narrowly avoided sabotaging its credibility with developers by not following through on a remarkably short-sighted, low-effort sabotage. As noted by Fist Puncher developer Matt Kain in an Ars comment, transferring a game from one publisher account to another “literally takes a minute to initiate,” but WBD reps at the time “claimed they have simply made the universal decision not to transfer the games to the original creators.” Developers could only guess as to why WBD would choose to remove their games rather than letting them continue catching trickles of sales or simply transfer them. Deery previously suggested that even the modicum of paperwork necessary to track and distribute sales and tax forms might have pressed the move.

Developers could have re-listed their games, but all the games’ reviews, discussions, screenshots, achievements, and other related media would have been lost.

Ars has requested comment from WBD and will update this post with any response.

WBD’s move to “retire” titles on game storefronts came after both the relative wind-down of the once-promising Adult Swim Games and the Warner Bros./Discovery merger that led to the conspicuous cancellation and shelving of media, often to claim tax write-offs. The combined firm has shut down gaming/anime studio Rooster Teeth, shelved films like Batgirl and Coyote vs. Acme, and struck numerous well-regarded titles from its streaming service, now known as Max.

Listing image by Megadev/Adult Swim Games

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