UPDATE #2 21/05/2014 7.32pm: It appears that this Sadness resurrection won't be a Sadness game after all as the rights to the IP aren't for sale.
Partial Sadness IP rights owner and Blooper Team CEO Piotr Babieno - who inherited a portion of the IP from his former days at Nibris - told Eurogamer, "I can confirm [to] you that [the] Sadness IP wasn't for sale."
"They contacted me after publication about 'Sadness' resurrection,'" Babieno said of HullBreach Studios and Cthulhi Games' wishful announcement yesterday. The partial IP-owner noted that he's not been involved in any negotiations regarding selling the property.
Hullbreach's Randy Freer told NintendoLife that the IP is for sale, but there's a bidding war for it that the two small indie teams can't compete with. "The Sadness IP is in the hands of a consortium with four studios currently fighting for the bid, and that while we at HullBreach and Cthulhi would like to make a competing bid and secure rights to Sadness, unfortunately we cannot at this time," Freer explained. "Sorry to fans for any inconvenience."
It sounds like the rights owners are wishy-washy about whether the IP is for sale or not, but regardless it's clear that Hullbreach and Cthulhi aren't going to be able to snatch them.
UPDATE 21/5/14 08.30am: Sadness' new co-developer Cthulhi Games has told Eurogamer that it is still waiting to hear from the game's original creators about its use of their IP - but will continue making the project regardless of the response.
"We very recently have contacted the old developers to obtain rights to the what little IP actually existed and their blessing," Cthuli's Jeremy Kleve wrote. "Should they work against us we are prepared to change the title of the game and drop any usage of their IP, this however will not slow us down in the least since most of their ideas were just ideas.
"Sadness had us intrigued since it began years ago, and we decided recently that we didn't want to let it die off completely. We would have acted sooner if we were capable back then, but as you know the consoles weren't as open to indies as they are now."
ORIGINAL STORY 20/5/14 10.45pm: Remember the Wii-exclusive horror game Sadness? Don't feel too bad if you don't as it never saw the light of day. In fact, it barely saw any light at all as the dreary monochromatic horror game only ever revealed a handful of leaked screenshots, despite being announced several times and even getting a release window at one point.
In spite of its oft-promised release, Sadness was eventually snuffed out of existence when its developer Nibris went kaput. But now, after several years, it's coming back.
Indie developers HullBreach Studios (of the browser-based Wii MMO HullBreach: Uncloaked) and Cthulhi Games (developing the Wii U 2D horror RPG Ex Oblivione) have confirmed to NintendoLife that they're collaborating on bringing Sadness back from the dead as a Wii U-exclusive.
Hullbreach's Randy Freer noted that the game would be re-invented as a 2D affair and will most likely be developed in Unity for a 2016 release. Cthuhi Games' Jeremy Kleeve added that mechanically it would be a completely different beast from the Wii remote-as-torch 3D survival horror game it was originally conceived as. "Since this is our own realisation of the game, it would not feel right if we did not start from scratch," he explained in an interview with NintendoLife. "Besides, we are introducing new elements that were never intended in the original brief, including RPG and puzzle-based mechanics."
While the gameplay will be drastically different from the original Sadness concept, a lot of the original characters, setting and plot elements will carry over in this rendition. "We really liked the Slavic Mythological concept represented in the original concept," Free explained. "The properties of fear that it would have imposed on players, using psychological methods rather than through mere violent mechanics. It will surely be a challenge to live up these expectations. We hope to include the iconic Sadness characters Maria Lengyel and her troubled son Alex into this new title as the child begins to suffer narcolepsy, nyctophobia and paranoid schizophrenia."
"Without a doubt, the original concept is a huge inspiration to us," Kleve added. "We will be sticking to the original idea pretty closely, but don't be surprised if there are some changes here and there in terms of characters, mechanics, and setting. Visually, the new Sadness will retain the Gothic noir scheme with a few exceptions."
Kleve stated that Sadness is "without a doubt" happening and Kleve said that it just needs to sort out the details regarding its gameplay before it can send Nintendo its concept submission form. That sounds dubious, but Freer said the pair had been "unofficially involved in Sadness across the last six years" and he was adamant that "this won't become the fiasco everybody remembers from years before!"
We've reached out to the new developer to inquire about how (or if) it acquired the trademark to resurrect this defunct property. We'll update as we find out more.