Nexuiz developer considering a free-to-play future, but game remains in limbo

When Nordic Games acquired "substantially all" of THQ's remaining intellectual property last week, the more than 150-title portfolio excluded Nexuiz, a game whose future remains unclear even to its developer.

In the April 22 bankruptcy court documents, all references to Nexuiz were marked as "removed" from the proposed sale. Polygon spoke to Chuck Brungardt, president of Illfonic, to find out the implications of that removal and what the developer has learned about its fast-paced first-person shooter available on Xbox 360 and Windows PC.

"The only info I was able to obtain was the buyer passed because of the cure costs being too high," Brungardt said. "Sounds like it could be owed royalties."

Illfonic entered into a licensing agreement with THQ Partners in 2011, which granted THQ timed exclusive rights to publish Nexuiz. In early February, after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of THQ's assets, Brungardt told us that the developer still had plans for the franchise and was working with a "small transition team at THQ."

By late February, Nexuiz's Xbox Live servers were shut down unexpectedly.

"THQ was [supposed] to keep our servers up but one of them went down and there is no IT guy at THQ anymore to reboot it," he told Polygon at the time. "The only way we can get the servers back up is if we were to take over control of the publishing rights. Its the server that sits between our title server (which holds the stats) and Xbox Live. So its [sic] one that we don't have access too."

Though Illfonic was interested in bidding on the publishing rights, the structure of the sale bundled Nexuiz in a lot with other licensed software like Costume Quest, Supreme Commander and nearly 40 other intellectual properties.

As the months have gone on, the situation has become more complex for Illfonic. Not only was the game excluded from purchase, but the developer's "main contacts are gone," he said.

In the meantime, Illfonic continues to pursue its game, and Brungardt told Polygon of its plans, provided Nexuiz's future can be sorted out.

"I've reached out to see if there is anything we can do to terminate the license, but I haven't heard back yet," he said. "If we do end up getting it back somehow, I think we would just make the game available for free."

We've reached out to Nordic Games to find out why the company chose not to pursue Nexuiz and will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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