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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » JoWooD Reveals More Details about the Gothic Rights

Default JoWooD Reveals More Details about the Gothic Rights

June 9th, 2007, 10:39
JoWooD responded to an inquiry by print mag GameStar for a reaction to Pluto 13 / Piranha Bytes´ latest statement on the Gothic rights controversy.
Here is a brief summary. Please note that the legal terms used by JoWooD cannot be translated easily due to the lack of exact dictionary entries. It´s more than likely their German and / or Austrian meaning is different to that in your home country. I am not a lawyer. Please take the whole newsbit with a grain of salt.
JoWooDs´ writes:
  • JoWooD currently holds the exclusive usage rights for the "Gothic" brand. (1)
  • After the failure of the negotiations with Pluto 13 only JoWooD is allowed to produce the game Gothic 4 with another development studio and publish it worldwide.
  • Pluto 13 is not authorized to develop and release a Gothic game at the present time.
  • JoWooD owns the exclusive worldwide publishing right for conversions of Gothic 3 or Gothic 4 to other platforms.
  • JoWooD owns the exclusive worldwide publishing rights for Gothic 4 add-ons [plural; ed.]. Pluto 13 "will receive the first option" (*) to develop the add-on [singular; ed.] for JoWooD.
  • "With regard to a possible Gothic 5 Pluto 13 potentially has certain rights." (**) "But at any rate JoWooD has at least a first option right (*) and a last option right (**) to publish this game worldwide , too." (2)
Furthermore JoWooD refused to comment on the Gothic 3 add-on.
Comments and analysis:
(*) The terms "the first option" and "first option right" are not defined. They can mean, for example, the right of first (good faith) negotiation[s] about a development contract, or the right of first refusal. The former is relatively weak while the latter is strong because it usually requires a detailed offer for the other party to decide about. It´s not even clear both terms have identical meaning.
(**) "Last option right" sounds like the right of last refusal, also known as "matching right" in response to the best offer by a 3rd party.
(1) "Currently" does not mean indefinitely. It´s possible JoWooDs´ Gothic rights will expire sooner or later. "Usage rights" are not necessarily the rights to the brand itself. This sounds like Pluto 13 owns the Gothic brand and JoWooD can use it exclusively.
(2) Now it seems the situation is reversed. JoWooD has "at least" the two options, "Erstoptions- und Letztoptionsrecht" in the original source, and Pluto 13 "potentially has certain rights" on a possible Gothic 5. This implies that (a) Pluto 13 generally holds all rights for Gothic 5 and (b) it´s Pluto 13´ s decision whether or not a Gothic 5 will be made. JoWooD on the other hand is protected by the explained options, which will give them a good shot at the worldwide publishing rights for Gothic 5.
More information.
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June 9th, 2007, 10:39
Let Jowood develop and publish Gothic 4.

Then PB can do the same like the Dallas producers in 1986 - they decided that season 7 was only Pam's dream.

In the Intro of Gothic 5 the nameless one will get out of his bed and says: "What a nightmare - I should not smoke so much of this JoWeed blend".

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June 9th, 2007, 10:47
This is very confusinf indeed….

THis situation is best left to be handled by the lawyers, I think….

Personally, I don't think that PB ever will work on another Gothic game…
(but that's just me)
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June 9th, 2007, 11:31
Jowood needs to fire their PR manager. What on earth do they think they are going to achieve with these pathetic and desperate sounding press releases? Sometimes it is just better to stay quiet and let things blow over.

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June 9th, 2007, 14:13
What a mess !
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June 9th, 2007, 15:34
I like Hidden X's idea. But let me say that this HAS to be first - comparing PB devs to tv show Dallas' producers. Wow, that's some association matrix you have there mr. X!

But I also agree with Aries, I think PB is done with Gothic.

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June 9th, 2007, 15:35
the comments and analysis are quite good.

(*) definitely right of first negotiations (though the wording sounds like with the gothic 4 add-on it is "good will" by jowood)
(**) yea, right (correct legal term in germany and austria is "vorkaufsrecht")
(1) also correct
(2) makes (1) seem so correct. jowood only got the options on publishing here, no rights on production. they'd tell if they'd got them. someone has to have them and someone will have to negotiate with jowood. that'll be piranha. except: piranha will give up the rights completely.

completely unnecessary post, but maybe you'll feel better (or rather worse) if someone from austria with basic law knowledge tells you your translation's right.

oh i can already see the press-release
"jowood announces developer of gothic 4: we are proud to announce that the world's foremost rpg-gamestudio will develop gothic 4. bethesda softworks is best known for the elder scrolls series and bringing fallout to a new quality. gothic 4 will be released on ps3 and xbox360."
be afraiiiiid!
Last edited by espe; June 9th, 2007 at 15:59.
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June 9th, 2007, 16:59
Hey, it could also be Obsidian….



developing Gothic 4



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June 9th, 2007, 17:16
If Jowood can't afford PB, how could they come up with money to pay for those big tickets. My guess is that JW would turn EAST.

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June 9th, 2007, 20:35
i don't care what'll happen as long as gothic 4 turn out to be good. i just want a game like gothic 1 or 2. gothic 3 feel so… huh… empty in terms of storyline. what can i say? the lack of storyline was not due to jowood time pressure . it was a genuin PB decision. nothing will change this.
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June 9th, 2007, 20:38
The whole thing is a sad mess. What an end to a great game franchise! Whatever happens now, does anybody seriously believe a true Gothic successor will ever be made again?

It sounds like it will end up like 3DO, SirTech and other failed devs—maybe some really big fish like Ubi or EA will come and gobble up the rights someday and make a cross-platform graphics hog for the casual gamer, but that is hardly what even the most basic Gothic fan(like me) would want.

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June 9th, 2007, 22:24
Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
But I also agree with Aries, I think PB is done with Gothic.
No. They still have the rights of Gothic I, if I understood that correctly.

And by the way … the announcement only talks of the "brand", right ?
Could the same happen as with F.E.A.R. ?
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June 10th, 2007, 00:56
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
Hey, it could also be Obsidian….
Nope, they are only making sequels to BioWare games. That's the Truth, Codex posted it.

The interesting thing about this "clarification" is, Pluto/PB's information seems to be right. I would have thought of JW sending another "We have all rights to Gothic brand". Astonishing.

@Alrik: Do you think they will do another Gothic if they have to do it for JW again? If this passage about JoWood having the first option to publish G5 is correct… I don't think PB will do it. Maybe they hope Jowood to go bankrupt or to sell the whole rights for a lot of money to JoWood.

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June 10th, 2007, 04:43
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
No. They still have the rights of Gothic I, if I understood that correctly.
We don´t know this for sure. It´s also possible dtp got it when they swallowed up the remainings of their joint venture with Egmont Ehapa (Shoebox).

It´s quite probable their contract with JoWooD involves a con-compete clause though, which at least requires PB to stay away from the Gothic brand for now.

And by the way … the announcement only talks of the "brand", right ?
Could the same happen as with F.E.A.R. ?
No. What happened to F.E.A.R.?
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June 10th, 2007, 05:40
Originally Posted by espe View Post
the comments and analysis are quite good.

(*) definitely right of first negotiations (though the wording sounds like with the gothic 4 add-on it is "good will" by jowood)
(**) yea, right (correct legal term in germany and austria is "vorkaufsrecht")
(1) also correct
(2) makes (1) seem so correct. jowood only got the options on publishing here, no rights on production. they'd tell if they'd got them. someone has to have them and someone will have to negotiate with jowood. that'll be piranha. except: piranha will give up the rights completely.

completely unnecessary post, but maybe you'll feel better (or rather worse) if someone from austria with basic law knowledge tells you your translation's right.
Thanks for your post. I appreciate the feedback.

(*) I also think it´s ROFO (or maybe we should call it ROFN here ) for PB on G4 and add-ons. In the negotiations about the add-on PB would have to compete to the studio doing G4 - which they can´t.
But I´m not so sure about JoWooDs´ options for G5. Even negotiaitions in "good faith" can easily fail, so ROFO would only be a minor annoyance for PB. ROFR on the other hand would be a huge problem. If PB has to come up with a contract offer for JoWooD there is a risk they could be undersellling because PB has an information deficit. And even worse if their ROFR process has to be restarted for every new offer.
ROLR on the other hand is of course also not ideal, but at least PB will have the best deal available in their hands before they talk to JoWooD.
You know all this but some of the details might be new for some of our visitors.

(2) Thanks, I missed that JoWooD did not mention the right to produce G5.
It´s an important detail deserving to be pointed out clearly.
It´s certainly possible that PB sells their share of the rights to JoWooD. If the infos here are correct they are in a quite comfortable situation though - if they are able to survive without JoWooDs´ money. First they can lean back, let JoWooD make G4 and collect royalties. The two possible cases are that G4 is a success or not. In the first case the brand becomes more valuable and thus more expensive. A disadvantage would weaken JoWooDs´ position in the negotiations about G5.
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June 10th, 2007, 12:53
The whole problem with this (as we have discussed before) is that 'brand' 'rights' & 'trademarks' mean something different in different languages, or even in different countries.

My comment about Obsidian was meant as sort of joke - though - but I guess the comment about the Codex was meant to be the same . (since obsidian currently is developing a game for sega…)

My comment about PB being finished with Gothic was not a joke, though. I just think that PB/Pluto 13 thought to themselves ' it is not worth it anymore' so 'let's move on - into the glorius future'.

And that's why I'm guessing they are making another game than a Gothic game…
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June 10th, 2007, 13:56
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
The whole problem with this (as we have discussed before) is that 'brand' 'rights' & 'trademarks' mean something different in different languages, or even in different countries.
There's not really a problem here though . It doesn't really matter which terms you use. It's pretty simple, really. PB owns the trademark/brand/whatever. JoWood has the "usage rights", i.e. they have basically rented the rights to Gothic from PB for a certain time (or in this case: for certain purposes). In the press release above, JoWood has explained how they interpret their own rights to use the franchise. They've kept it rather simple luckily and it's pretty clear now how they view their own position. It remains only their (= JW's) own interpretation, of course, until PB acknowledges that JoWood is correct so we still don't know if this is the actual universal "truth".

What I'm really curious about and more interested in is what JoWood has not said. For example, is there a provision for when the full usage rights will automatically return to PB? After how many years? What happens if JoWood doesn't make use of any of their rights to Gothic IV + add-ons for a certain period of time? How long is that period? Does JoWood have to consider (a) Gothic IV add-on(s) at all? How many add-ons can JoWood do for Gothic IV? [note: For them it would theoretically obviously be best to just stick with Gothic IV forever and crank out add-on after add-on.] What happens if no one wants to do Gothic V? Great. JoWood owns the rights to be the first (and last) to yell "we'll take it" when it comes to publishing but what good does that do them if no one is ever gonna make a Gothic V? Does JoWood somehow have or acquire a right at a certain point in time or after a certain period has expired to become the active part that may actively look for a developer for Gothic V if no Gothic V is offered to them within a period of x months/years? And finally what about Gothic VI+?
Last edited by Moriendor; June 10th, 2007 at 14:15.
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June 10th, 2007, 14:52
Also: What about Gothic MMO rights?

@aries: Yes, it was a joke.

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June 10th, 2007, 20:49
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
o. What happened to F.E.A.R.?
I've got it (via another forum) from this page (scroll down or even better: use the page search function of the browser) : The developers own the contents of the universe, but NOT the name anymore !

So they've set up a contest for a new name …

Short article on that in Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.E.A.R…r_developments
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June 10th, 2007, 21:27
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
No. They still have the rights of Gothic I, if I understood that correctly.

And by the way … the announcement only talks of the "brand", right ?
Could the same happen as with F.E.A.R. ?
Whether PB stills owns Gothic 1 has nothing to do with mine or aries' comment. What was meant is that they are probably through with making any future games in the Gothic universe.

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