Originally Posted by Bedwyr
I presume that the rights holder/s get the money.
Originally Posted by Gorath
IP & distribution rights don't simply disappear. They are bought, sold, sub-licensed, etc. There's always somebody willing to buy old IP for a small amount of money.
If a games company goes bankrupt its IPs are sold or auctioned off. See the THQ situation at the moment.
Sometimes there are time limits or certain conditions upon which "the rights" (whatever that specifically means) fall back to the licensor.
PB owns the Gothic brand and all rights for the first Gothic. Whoever sells Gothic 1 made a deal with PB.
Observation tells me that the publishing and distribution rights for G2 and G3 still reside with Nordic Games, who bought them when JoWooD went belly-up. Deep Silver seems no longer involved, although they were co-publisher for G3.
Originally Posted by Brother None
As others have said, rights holders. Interplay for Fallout currently, with Bethesda taking over in 2014. Hasbro is the rights holder and publisher of Planescape: Torment.