No-One Lives Forever and its sequel are two brilliant first-person shooters from the pre-Call of Duty era.
Blending witty, well-written storytelling with fast-paced gunplay, optional stealth, levels you could approach in a variety of different ways and more gadgets than Bond could shake a Martini at, Cate Archer's adventures would be well worth replaying even today -- if you could get your hands on copies, that is.
The No-One Lives Forever series has been held up in rights limbo for a number of years now, which has prevented a rerelease on Steam, GOG.com or any of the other digital distribution platforms out there. Originally developed by Monolith and published by Fox Interactive, the rights to the series subsequently passed indirectly to Activision via Fox Interactive's acquisition by Vivendi, which subsequently merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard. Somewhere along the line, someone seemingly lost track of who actually owned the intellectual property at any one time, which meant these great games were, at least temporarily, lost in time and space to anyone who didn't still own original disc-based copies. Former Activision community manager Dan Amrich explained the situation thus:
Amrich suggested that the rights could well be with another company who were keeping quiet about them, waiting for the right time to republish the games for a modern audience. Siliconera reports that he was right: the company in question is Night Dive Studios, a company best-known for resurrecting Ken Levine classic and BioShock precursor System Shock 2 for modern PC, Mac and Linux systems around this time last year.
To be clear, the filings Siliconera uncovered were trademarks rather than the copyright itself, though it seems relatively unlikely that Night Dive Studios would hold onto the trademarks for the series -- "No One Lives Forever," "The Operative" (prefix to the original game's title), "Contract J.A.C.K." (a spinoff title between the two main games) and "A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way" (the sequel) -- without also holding the rights to the intellectual property, too.
Night Dive is, sadly, keeping tight-lipped about the situation, explaining to Siliconera simply that "our team has a great fondness for these games, and our hope is that they will one day be re-released."