The chances of the cult classic Discworld game series being remastered is in the hands of the United Kingdom’s Monarchy, according to the game’s former studio designer and co-founder of Perfect Entertainment.
Gregg Barnett was integral to Perfect Entertainment and GT Interactive’s development of the three titles that took on the setting of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and the characters that roamed the cobble-stoned streets of Ahnk-Morpork.
Discworld, Discworld 2, and Discworld Noir were part of the pantheon of established point-and-click adventure titles in the 1990s. The latter is known for its slow jazz soundtrack and legendary H.P Lovecraft-meets-Casablanca vibes. They sat alongside the likes of LucasArt’s Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, as well as Broken Sword and Monkey Island, as the definitive narrative-driven video game tales of their time.
The Pratchett-verse titles have never seen a remaster like those other formative games that managed to grace consoles and platforms like Steam in recent years.
Barnett recently told Time Extension that a Discworld release is “on the cards. It may happen. And then it could advance to new versions of them.”
”May” is the Prefect Entertainment co-founder’s operative word, as there is a bit of mist for the missing part of the ownership rights. Fifty percent of the ownership rights have fallen into the lap of the UK Monarchy, so Barnett’s statement shows that a consultation with the Crown “may” be necessary for any remaster to happen and “may” take time.
Barnett continued on the topic of a remaster, saying, “There have been discussions, and something may be happening down the track — a rerelease or a remaster. But it’s obviously a complicated process when you’re dealing with the Crown.”
Barnett owns 50% of the rights to the three titles. Still, due to the expiry of the game’s licenses and the closure of Perfect Entertainment, the other half falls to agents of the British Crown when a company’s property becomes the flotsam and jetsam of the business world.
This department is known as the ‘Bona Vacantia’, which means vacant goods in Latin, the name given to ownerless property, which by law passes to the Crown.
According to the UK Government’s website “the Treasury Solicitor acts for the Crown to administer the estates of people who die intestate (without a Will) and without known kin (entitled blood relatives) and collect the assets of dissolved companies and other various ownerless goods in England and Wales.”
Pratchett Estate’s say
PC Gamer recently reached out to Terry Pratchett’s Estate and the daughter of the Discworld creator and much-loved British writing icon, Rhianna Pratchett.
Rhianna Pratchett is responsible for the intellectual property (IP) of the late great writer with the company Narrativa. She told PC Gamer, “we’d certainly love to see the old games re-released. It’s news to us if His Majesty owns 50% of the Discworld games. Who knows what might happen if that’s really the case? Maybe he’s a fan!”
Barnett’s dream may yet come true to work on the remaster for modern platforms and consoles, but for new titles, Rhianna Pratchett was clear about the IP rights and ideas that could be approved.
“We still own the IP rights… The reason why Gregg got the rights to do the games was that he came up with solid ideas that fitted the nature of Discworld. The simple reason that there’s never been a fully-fledged Discworld game since then is no one has come to us with the right ideas and the resources to actually make it happen.”
Fans of the Discworld setting and the wonderfully unique characters the legendary writer conjured will hope that the remasters go ahead and that new titles could take us back to the world of a mystical land perched on the back of four elephants riding on the shell of a giant space turtle.