Since 2013, the team at Nightdive Studios has put out a deluge of updated releases and ports of beloved titles, ranging from the System Shock games to Humungous's Freddi Fish and Putt-Putt titles. As work continues on the studio's System Shock remake, Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick says there's still one series in particular he'd really like to bring forward: Monolith's No One Lives Forever, which he unsuccessfully tried to license years ago.
Kick brings up No One Lives Forever in a newly released interview with Danny O'Dwyer of Noclip. Released in 2000, The Operative: No One Lives Forever received critical acclaim and went on to receive a sequel and a spin-off. Monolith was acquired by Warner Bros. in 2004, and the spy FPS series has been abandoned ever since. As Kick tells it, the rights to No One Lives Forever "have just been split across the four winds."
No One Lives Forever was actively in Nightdive's sights early in the studio's existence—back in 2014, after starting talks with Warner, Fox Interactive, and Activision to try and put together the rights, Nightdive actually filed new trademarks for the series. As Nightdive's Larry Kuperman told Kotaku in 2015, that move prompted a "scary letter" from a Warner lawyer, and after more talks with the three companies about the rights were met with disinterest, the effort fizzled.
Nightdive has gone on to work on increasingly ambitious, high-profile re-releases like those for the early Turok games and Doom 64 in the years since, but Kick says he's still determined to make No One Lives Forever happen. "It's been a real challenge to get all the parties together to talk about why we should do this, and how we can do it," he tells Noclip. "It's difficult. There's still a lot of conversations we need to have, but I'm never going to stop. They'll happen one way or the other."
The next big Nightdive releases planned for 2020 are the System Shock remake and a remaster of Westwood's classic Blade Runner adventure game. A new Alpha demo of the rebooted System Shock project was released for PC earlier this year, and Blade Runner's "Enhanced Edition" is targeting a launch on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
As our sister site Rock Paper Shotgun pointed out a few years ago, there are unofficial fan re-releases of both No One Lives Forever games and the spin-off, Contract Jack, that work on modern PCs. In 2020, the series still exists in this strange abandonware limbo, but it sounds like Kick is still determined that it won't live that way forever.