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Adult Swim Games and Red vs Blue studio Rooster Teeth are the latest affected by Warner Bros. Discovery’s cost-cutting measures

Part of a recent pattern that has seen films canceled and numerous series pulled from its streaming service.

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Image credit: Rooster Teeth

As Warner Bros. Discovery continues to cut back on content, two more company-owned entertainment offerings are feeling the brunt: Adult Swim Games and Rooster Teeth.

According to various developers, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) contacted studios this week with notices stating it was pulling Adult Swim Games-published from online stores due to business changes.

The delisting will take at least 18 games offline, and developers are scrambling to gain control over their IP.

News of WBD’s plan came to light on Wednesday when solo developer Owen Deery of Fire Face Corp. announced their surreal adventure puzzler for PC and PlayStation, Small Radios Big Televisions, would be retired in 60 days. Deery subsequently made the game available as a free download for PC on the Fire Face website.

Another indie developer, Matt Kain of Team2Bit, commented on an Ars Technica article that the studio’s Adult Swim Games-published beat ‘em up Fist Puncher would also be retired. The studio asked WBD to transfer the game to its Steam publisher account, a request the mass media conglomerate refused.

The company claimed a “lack of resources” for such tasks, leading to the universal decision not to transfer games back to the original studios.

“The transfer process literally takes a minute to initiate, but their rep claimed they have simply made the universal decision not to transfer the games to the original creators," Kain wrote on Steam.

“I'm not entirely sure what will even happen if the game gets delisted, but it makes me sick to think that purchased games will presumably be removed from users' libraries. Our community and our players have 10+ years of discussions, screenshots, gameplay footage, leaderboards, player progress, unlocked characters, Steam achievements, Steam cards, etc. which could all be lost. We have Kickstarter backers who helped fund Fist Puncher (even some who have cameo appearances in the game) who will eventually no longer be able to play it.”

Kain said the studio “continues to press” WBD to transfer Fist Puncher back, and if not, the studio will likely re-release it under its owned account due to still owning the game and the IP.

Speaking with Polygon, another developer in the same situation, Studio Bean’s Michael Molinari, was told by WBD that a transfer of ownership wasn’t possible due to “logistical and resource constraints.” The representative Molinari spoke with stated Studio Bean was welcome to republish its rhythm action bullet hell hybrid Soundodger+ on Steam; however, the developer said doing so would “erase all my wishlists, reviews, community guides, and forum discussions, along with not allowing new and old owners of the game to compare achievements and trading cards.”

WBD also informed Molinari that should the game be republished, due to legal requirements, the studio would need to remove any mention of Adult Swim Games from the credits sequence, including the names of Adult Swim Games team members.

“I’m a huge supporter of games preservation, and this is a direct blow to properly crediting the people that worked on a game,” said Molinari.

Whether WBD will eventually close Adult Swim Games is unknown; however, since it hasn’t published a game since 2020, it’s possible, especially considering the multimedia company continues to cancel titles and pull popular shows and animation offerings off its streaming services. In 2022, the company famously canned the Batgirl movie despite its $90 million production cost. That year, it also scrapped the film Scoob!: Holiday Haunt.

In late 2023, WBD decided not to release its $70 million live-action hybrid Coyote vs Acme. Starring John Cena and Will Forte, the company gave the filmmakers permission to shop the movie, but the company ultimately rejected offers it received from Amazon, Netflix, and Paramount.

The trend continued this week when news broke that Red vs Blue studio Rooster Teeth was shutting its doors.

Formed in 2003, over the years, the company expanded from live-action into animation, games, podcasts, and other media ventures. The company changed hands a few times since its inception before landing with Warner Bros. Discovery and faced controversy more than once with allegations of sexual harassment, discriminatory practices, and fostering crunch culture.

After news of the studio’s fate surfaced, the Rooster Teeth website posted a memo written by general manager Jordan Levin, stating that the “challenges facing digital media” alongside “fundamental shifts iin consumer behavior, monetization across platforms, advertising, and patronage” ultimately led to the closure.

WBD is seeking outside interest in acquiring various Rooster Teeth assets and the Roost Podcast Network.

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