As previously reported, BioWare recently canceled its Neverwinter Nights publishing contract
with Interplay after filing numerous lawsuits against the company. BioWare had alleged that Interplay
breached its contract by sub-licensing distribution of its games to third parties without the company's
consent. The company also alleged that Interplay had failed to pay royalties for previous software.
While BioWare assured the media that Neverwinter Nights would see an early 2002 release,
licensing issues have become a major roadblock for publishing the title. Anthony Valterra, business manager
for Wizards of the Coast, maintains that Interplay, license holder of the Dungeons & Dragons trademark, owns the
rights to publish the game while developer BioWare does not. According to Valterra, "BioWare has developed a nice
game with Neverwinter Nights. But we don't have any other rights to sell to BioWare." A possible recourse
for BioWare might be Infogrames, the only other company reported to hold all the D&D rights. Interplay, however,
still owns exclusive rights to publish Neverwinter Nights at this time. Though unsure about the longevity
of Interplay's D&D contract, Valterra believes it is good for a couple of years and may even have a renewal clause.
This is certainly not good news for BioWare, as Valterra asserted that, because Neverwinter Nights uses
3rd Edition D&D systems and gaming rules, the company cannot go through any publisher without licensing rights.
Although prospects of a Neverwinter Nights release continue to look grim, BioWare remains firm in its resolve
to see the game published; the company has recently re-designed its Web site and is currently working on a new section
for the highly-anticipated game.