An attempt by Night Dive to bring No One Lives Forever back to the PC marketplace has, sadly, ended in failure. Night Dive managed to untangle System Shock 2 from rights and ownership issues in 2013, but NOLF has proved to be a much trickier game to re-issue.
Speaking to Kotaku, Night Dive have confirmed that their attempts to get the game (and its sequel) a modern re-release have ceased.
NOLF was developed by the Warner. Bros-owned Monolith, and built on the LithTech Engine (also now owned by Warner. Bros.) However, the first game was published by Fox Interactive, giving 20th Century Fox or perhaps Activision (who merged with Vivendi in 2008: Vivendi purchased Fox Interactive in 2003.)
Night Dive have diligently attempted to ascertain who owns what, but even now remain unclear where the rights lie.
“With all the people that we dealt with, there wasn’t anyone at either Warner Bros., Activision, or 20th Century Fox who said, ‘Here’s a copy of the contract that we have, and as you can see, we own all rights.'”
Warner Bros. always appeared to be the most likely candidate, but according to Night Dive they were ultimately not interested in working with the company to get NOLF back out there (or in publishing the game themselves.)
Night Dive still own the trademark they picked up in April 2014, but since they don’t have a game they’re able to use it on, that trademark will now lapse once again.
Meanwhile, NOLF remains unavailable to buy (aside from places like ebay, or a local car boot sale) and trapped in corporate legal limbo.