As a result of Telltale’s closure, several of its titles have disappeared from digital storefronts. In the case of Minecraft Story Mode, its Minecraft-themed adventure game, things are going one step further, with the game disappearing from online servers entirely. Even if you have purchased the game, it will soon become totally impossible to re-download. Anyone who owns the game is urged to download it soon.
This puts it in a different category to many other games, where even if they disappear from stores, they can still be downloaded by people who have bought them. This is happening for all versions of the game, for both last-gen and current-gen consoles, PC and mobile devices. An update on the official Minecraft website put the game’s final date as June 25, although the link no longer seems to work.
This re-emphasises the gaming industry’s terrible record at preserving its history. More than most other media, video game availability is tied to technology and rights holders. It wasn’t too long ago that Konami released, and then subsequently pulled P.T. from digital distribution. Since then, the horror teaser for Silent Hills has become almost impossible to access in its original form anymore.
Other cases involving licensing, such as Alan Wake, and comic book properties such as Deadpool and some of the LEGO games, where games have been suddenly removed from shelves. Sometimes they can return when rights issues are renegotiated, but some games just disappear for good.
This has led to gamers flocking to free online emulators to preserve old games. Many modern publishers, especially Nintendo, have cracked down on ROMS, despite them being the best available way to access gaming history.
It’s rather sad to see Telltale’s games disappear with the studio. Although the reasons the company closed down are numerous, it left its mark on the narrative adventure game genre with many acclaimed titles. It would be a shame if future generations can’t experience some of Telltale’s amazing stories because of rights issues. Skybound is finishing its Walking Dead series, but they have not bought the rights to Telltale’s other titles.
Although the video game version of Minecraft Story Mode is going offline, the Netflix interactive adaptation of Minecraft Story Mode doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. If you already own the game, you should probably download it soon. If you haven’t played it before, maybe now is the time to check it out; you might not get another chance.