Warner Bros. seemingly reverses course on delisting Adult Swim games

Posted on May 11, 2024

Warner Bros. Discovery has changed its decision announced earlier this year to delist (or “retire” them, to use the company’s euphemism for it) over a dozen games published by Adult Swim from online storefronts. Warner Bros. Discovery will now be transferring ownership of some of those games back to the indie developers that made them, seemingly as a result of the (deserved) barrage of criticism the company has faced for the cold, anti-art corporate decision back in March.

The confirmation of this change of decision was first announced by Owen Deery, a developer behind puzzle-adventure game Small Radios Big Televisions, which was originally confirmed to be a casualty of the mass-delisting. “Update: Game will not be ‘retired’,” he announced on Twitter/X. “Ownership and store listings will return to me.

Landon Podbielski of Corpotron, developer of Duck Game, also confirmed on Twitter/X that the game “is safe!!“, and that it is being returned to the developer, with its store pages on all platforms not going away. Many other developers have privately confirmed to Polygon similar direct assurances from Warner Bros. Discovery that their games are no longer set to be delisted. That said, at time of writing, not all developers originally set to be impacted have verified that their game rights have been transferred to them.

Warner Bros. Discovery is yet to make a formal announcement regarding its final decision regarding the delisting. However, it’s hard to deny that the company’s reputation has taken many high-profile hits in recent years as a result of ghoulish corporate decision-making which has provoked disdain from fans and creatives alike. From doubling down on unpopular live-service titles despite losing hundreds of millions on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League to delisting popular animated shows from its streaming service and cancelling completed and high-anticipated movies such as Coyote vs. Acme for a tax write-off, Warner Bros. was getting a not-undeserved reputation as a cold-hearted corporation whose goals are antithetical to the artists who work there.

Obviously, granting the distribution rights for these Adult Swim back to the developers rather than canning them so they never see the light of day is the right move for the company, and is fantastic news for the affected developers. With Warner Bros. yet to make a formal announcement regarding the decision, it is unclear if this offer will be made to all of the developers, or only some of them. It might be too little, too late to fully rehabilitate the company’s image anytime soon, but it is certainly a good first step if Warner Bros. wants to assure developers and other creatives that their works are safe under its ownership.