Update: A follow-up from Sega confirms that it was an expiration of music rights that led to the game being delisted. "Due to the expiry of music rights in Alpha Protocol, the title has been removed from Steam and is no longer on sale," says a Sega spokesperson in a new statement.
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Those who have yet to experience Alpha Protocol are likely losing their chance today. The cult classic spy thriller has been delisted from Steam and other storefronts, making it unavailable for purchase at the request of publisher Sega.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Sega told us the rights have expired. "Following the expiry of SEGA's publishing rights for Alpha Protocol, the title has been removed from Steam and is no longer on sale," says the spokesperson.
We've asked whether those who own Alpha Protocol can still download their copies from the storefronts after the delisting, and they have confirmed that those who currently own the game can still re-download it. I was able to re-download my Steam copy just now, but a cursory glance at the PlayStation and Microsoft online storefronts don't have a listing for the PS3 or 360 versions. (We've reached out to confirm these platforms, and will update when Sega gets back to us.)
Alpha Protocol is a tactical espionage RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, who you probably know better from games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 or Fallout: New Vegas. It was its stab at a more action-oriented role-playing game, and while it didn't vibe with everyone, those who did enjoy it built up a sort-of cult following behind it.
It's been a bad year for delisting games, especially for Telltale Games fans who have seen series like Minecraft: Story Mode disappear following the company's bankruptcy. It's on the rights holders to decide whether it's worth keeping the licenses alive, but still, it's a shame to see Alpha Protocol become dust in the wind with so little warning. Alpha Protocol is an odd mix of systems, like the recent run of Mission Impossible movies by way of Mass Effect, and I love it. Now, I'll just have to cherish the fact that I picked it up on Steam while I still could.