Canadian developers BioWare have announced that they have terminated their contract with Interplay to develop the eagerly anticipated role-playing game Neverwinter Nights. The move comes following BioWare's filing of two lawsuits against the defunct American publisher in recent weeks, alleging that Interplay sublicensed distribution of BioWare games without their consent, and that Interplay, their new French owners Titus and British off-shoot Virgin Interactive had failed to pay all of the royalties which they owed BioWare. Given the financial mess that Interplay got itself into and the bizarre spoiling tactics its board apparently employed to sabotage the company before Titus could take over, this is perhaps hardly surprising. What this all means for the future of Neverwinter Nights isn't entirely clear, although BioWare insist that the game will be released "on schedule" (and we use those words in the loosest possible sense) some time early next year. We have our fingers crossed, but the chances are that things won't be quite so straightforward. For example, what is the licensing situation? If BioWare hold the Dungeons & Dragons license for the game themselves then there shouldn't be too many problems, as long as it doesn't expire before they finish the game. But if Interplay were the ones with the magic paper, BioWare could end up being forced to go to another publisher which holds a license to release D&D based games. Unfortunately that would pretty much limit the field to Infogrames. Oh dear... No doubt all will become clear over the next few months. Related Feature - Neverwinter Nights preview
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