UPDATE, 18th of January: It would seem that Stardock, developers of the latest entry in Star Control franchise - Star Control: Origins - have come out on top in the IP-related lawsuit that Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, makers of Star Control 2, had them entangled in.
The official statement by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell is short and to-the-point: ""Stardock is happy to report that Star Control: Origins has been restored for sale on Steam." No word on just what went down in court, but it's somewhat safe to assume that it worked out in Stardock's favour in the end.
UPDATE, 3rd of January: Star Control: Origins developer Stardock are, as it seems, currently losing the lawsuit concerning the IP of Star Control. The latest ruling not only rejected Stardock's notion that the claim in question is frivolous, but also said that it is their own fault that they are being sued.
Furthermore, the conclusion says that Stardock had to have been aware that they didn't have the rights to use the IP, but that they essentially worked with this in mind, hoping for things to blow over by the time Star Control: Origins was released. In other words - things aren't looking good for Stardock.
UPDATE, 2nd of January: Even though both Steam and GoG had to remove Star Control: Origins from their storefronts due to legal problems concerning the intellectual property rights of the Star Control franchise, Stardock have landed on their feet - to an extent.
Interested parties may now get a copy of Origins via the official Stardock website, where the game is thankfully still available. Better yet, Stardock's latest and greatest is now offered at a 50% discount! At $19.99, Star Control: Origins is quite a steal indeed, so make use of the offer while it lasts.
Original text: Star Control: Origins is quite a phenomenal game, according to Game Watcher staff, but we've learned time and again that quality alone means nothing in the ever-changing hellscape that is video game legalese.
Star Control Origins DMCA takedown is just the latest in a long line of awkward and unprecedented ways in which conflicting parties have chosen to duke it out over intellectual property rights. It is, however, extremely troubling in this case, too.
The matter of Star Control Origins Steam removal popped up via a simple Steam blog post which announced that Stardock, the developer, would be forced to altogether remove Star Control: Origins from Steam due to makers of Star Control 2 for DOS issuing a DMCA takedown.
"Unfortunately, rather than relying on the legal system to resolve this, (Star Control 2 devs) have chosen to bypass it by issuing vague DMCA take-down notices to Steam and GOG," said the post, continuing by saying that Star Control: Origins contains no copyrighted work by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, the developers in question. It should be noted, however, that though Stardock owns the Star Control copyright, they may not have had the rights to use the series' lore, aliens, and such.
Previous buyers of the game will retain the ability to download and play Star Control: Origins via Steam and GoG, but the game can no longer be purchased at all, which prompted Stardock to note that layoffs may well be coming soon. Understandable, given how they will no longer be earning anything until (and if) Star Control: Origins is reinstated. One has to wonder how smart it was for Stardock to release a new Star Control title while the litigation is looming over their heads. Stay tuned for more as the situation develops.