Vanillaware’s beat-em-up Dragon’s Crown has disappeared from the European PlayStation Store, thanks to the end of publisher NIS America’s relationship with Atlus, which licensed the game to that company. The PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita title is no longer up for sale in those territories, with no word on when it will return.
It's unclear for how long Dragon's Crown has been missing. A Reddit user noticed that the game was gone yesterday, however, when the European PlayStation Blog announced a sale on Japanese games. Among the discounted titles, according the post, was Dragon’s Crown. Yet following the link to the game’s store page leads to an error message.
Today, NIS America confirmed on Twitter that an expired license was to blame for the removal.
"Sadly our license expired for Dragon’s Crown and we were forced to remove it from the PSN store," the company’s European branch tweeted. "Apologies for any inconvenience."
Those who bought the game prior to it being taken down will still be able to download and play it normally. For anyone else, however, they’re out of luck for now.
NIS America served as the longtime publisher and distributor of many Atlus games in European territories up until this spring. Sega, Atlus’ parent company, announced that it would be taking over publishing duties for the developer’s games in North America, but Europe is left stranded.
"We have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Atlus, and are very grateful for our past partnership with them," an NIS America rep told Polygon in April. "However, at this time that partnership no longer makes sense for our business."
A spokesperson for Atlus did not name a new distributor for the company’s games in Europe when we reached out back in April. We’ve contacted Atlus again about the future of NIS America-published games in Europe, inquiring as to whether more games, like the popular Persona titles, will soon disappear from digital marketplaces and if Atlus is working to reinstate them.
Update: NIS America clarified the removal of Dragon's Crown from the European PlayStation Store in a statement.
"With regards to our previous statements on Dragon's Crown for the European PSN, we must extend our deepest apologies to Atlus and European fans regarding the incorrect information about the removal from this store," it reads.
"The removal of Dragon's Crown from the European PSN was part of NIS America's and Atlus's mutual agreement on this title. We are happy to announce that Dragon's Crown will be available directly from Atlus in Europe through PSN."
NIS America said that the game will return "soon," although the company did not offer a timeframe.