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Court documents shed light on the mysterious disappearance of Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

The title looks to have been pulled from sale due a dispute between the IP holders and publisher Bigben Interactive.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 5, 2022

2 Min Read

The mysterious case of a disappearing sci-fi RPG called Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory might have finally been solved thanks to court documents that have been unearthed by Gamekult.

As reported by PC Gamer, which has obtained additional documents relating to the case, Paranoia was pulled from sale within weeks of its release on the Epic Game Store in January 2020 because the rights holders weren't aware the game had even launched.

According to a series of complaints involving publisher Bigben Interactive and Paranoia's rights holders Greg Costikyan and Eric Goldberg, the title was pulled after the pair filed a DMCA request with Epic after becoming aware it had not only launched without their knowledge, but was also littered with bugs.

For its part, Bigben claims the rights-holders breached a licensing agreement they signed with the publisher. In a counterclaim, however, Costikyan and Goldberg allege their issues with the publisher resulted from its decision to announce multiple launch dates without their approval, despite them voicing concerns about "advertising a potentially unrealistic release date."

They also claim Bigben issued a pre-release master of Paranoia for approval that contained "software bugs and inconsistent/poor user experience issues," ultimately pushing a product they felt was "significantly below commercial standards" with the potential to "tarnish the [Paranoia] brand."

Although Bigben reportedly agreed the game needed additional polish, it continued to announce revised release dates without Costikyan and Goldberg's permission, and eventually released Paranoia exclusively on the Epic Games Store without their knowledge.

At that point, Costikyan and Goldberg wrote to Bigben multiple times demanding the title be removed, before eventually sending a DMCA request to Epic.

PC Gamer notes the case between the IP owners and Bigben is ongoing, and was granted an extension according to a recent document dated April 1, 2022.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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