Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory Video Game Released on Steam

Based on the Paranoia TTRPG, the game hits stores after disappearing from the Epic Store in 2020

The video game Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory, based on the satirical sci-fi RPG, was released on Steam and re-released on Epic today.

paranoia3.jpg

From the product description:
Paranoia is a CRPG that takes place in humanity's last idyllic refuge, Alpha Complex, which is controlled by Friend Computer. All citizens enjoy a life of joy, cheerfulness and cleanliness. Questioning the benevolence of Friend Computer is an act of treason. Having access to information beyond your security clearance is an act of treason. Refusing to drink your daily dose of Bouncy Bubble Beverage is an act of treason. Treason is punishable by summary execution.

Stay alert! Trust no one!
Traitors are everywhere, plotting to destroy The Computer, Alpha Complex itself, and our precious way of life. Identify them, report them – or eliminate them as the treasonous scum they are. Keep your laser handy!
You lead a team of Troubleshooters with RED security clearance. Your job is to find trouble – and shoot it. Friend Computer monitors your every move, alert for any sign of treason, and will undoubtedly reward you for prompt and heroic action in defence of Alpha Complex – or punish treasonable acts, possibly by assigning you to be used as reactor shielding.

A retro-futuristic world filled with technologies as wondrous as they are deadly
Create and lead a team of four Troubleshooters working for Friend Computer
Choose your specialisations from 9 available skills
Unique character progression through cloning (if you die, you progress!)
Real time tactical combat system with active pause, inspired by classic CRPG games
Original enemies, including malfunctioning robots, aggressive drinks dispensers and defective clones

The game has a rocky history as it was originally released as an Epic Store exclusive in December 2019 before being mysteriously removed from sale in January 2020. The brief release window saw the game hit with many negative reviews with the Metacritic average score from critics at 47/100 and users at 5.5/10. It's unclear if the game has changed since its original 2019 release. Mongoose Publishing, the current license holder for the rights to produce tabletop games for Paranoia, were not involved in the development of this video game.

French video game website Gamekult uncovered legal documents in 2022 explaining the removal: Publisher Bigben released the game in violation of its license. The agreement between Bigben (now known as Nacon) and the copyright holders to Paranoia, original designers Eric Goldberg and Greg Costikyan, required that Goldberg and Costikyan have final approval in advance of release. The terms were followed originally as the two did not approve the release based on the original build they were sent, alleging at least 74 major bugs. Nacon delayed the release from October to December to address the bugs, but when the second build was sent to Goldberg and Costikyan, it was still not to acceptable quality for the two who felt that the release would damage the Paranoia brand. Nacon released the game on the Epic Store regardless. When Goldberg and Costikyan demanded Nacon take the game down, the publisher refused. The two creators then sent a DMCA takedown request to Epic Games. Nacon then filed a lawsuit in 2021 against the two over the license. According to the Pacer index of documents filed, a settlement between the two parties was reached this past April and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Bigben Interactive/Nacon had an intellectual property rights dispute around the same time with developer FROGWARE over the title The Sinking City where FROGWARE alleges that Bigben/Nacon refused milestone payments for the game after release and continued selling the title without permission.

Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory is available for $29.99 from Steam and Epic.
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott




overgeeked

B/X Known World
Also, rumors on steam seem to be pointing at the game still being bugged, and not having been fixed in the downtime. Not bought it myself to be sure, but not sure why people would lie at this point?
If it’s still so buggy why would the rights holders sign off on its release?
 

Abstruse

Legend
If it’s still so buggy why would the rights holders sign off on its release?
I don't have a Pacer account to see if it's in the lawsuit documents and I'm not sure if it's even in there since it was a settlement and not a judgment, but the lawsuit was dismissed back in April. Which means they must have worked something out since it was Nacon who filed the lawsuit. Pure speculation with zero evidence to back it up, but a few possible situations: Nacon threw enough money at the creators to sign off on release, the creators realized they were going to lose (or couldn't afford to keep defending themselves) so offered to sign off on a release in exchange for dropping the suit, or after two years of getting dragged out both sides just wanted it over, or Nacon might have just done what they did with The Sinking City and just released the game anyway. We might never know for sure unless someone announces something because usually when there's an out-of-course settlement, there's also a gag order on both sides not to discuss the details.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I don't think that there has ever been a thread where my happiness and excitement at the title ("Yay! Santa delivered dad an early Christmas present!") and the let down after reading the post have ever been greater. Maybe there will be reviews that will change my mind, but this feels like a strong skip. I'm very picky with video games and love Paranoia the TTRPG, I don't want to spend $30 for a big let down.
 

Cyanide/Nacon has often very cool IPs, but very sucky implementations. If their actions are no deterrent, you should just look at their old catalogue and see how well those were received and how well they were supported long term...
Ah, so Cyanide is a subsidiary of Nacon. That makes sense as Cyanide made various video game versions of Blood Bowl and all have been full of bugs.
 


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