Beloved Shooter Game, ‘Spec Ops: The Line,’ Removed From Online Retailers Due To Licensing Issues

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line

On January 30, fans of Spec Ops: The Line discovered that the game was no longer listed on Steam, causing a stir online over its delisting.

Following this discovery, theories emerged regarding the possible reasons for the game’s removal, the most credible one being that the licenses for the music used in the game were soon to expire.

When asked by Kotaku, the game’s publisher, 2K, had stated that several of the partnership licenses will be expiring soon, however, no further details were given regarding their statement. With music from artists like Jimi Hendrix, Martha and the Vandellas and Mogwai, many fans are speculating that any of these music licenses could be the cause of the game’s removal.

The 2012 game follows Captain Martin Walker, who faces the horrors of a war-torn Dubai within a fictional conflict inspired by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Although released over a decade ago, the game’s narrative and immersive storytelling have led to a cult following that held strong into the 2020s despite being considered a commercial failure for the companies involved due to low sales and gameplay criticism, alongside a ban from the United Arab Emirates for the game’s depiction of the country.

When it was first revealed that the game was no longer on Steam, gamers found that the game was briefly available still on the Xbox Store and GoG until the next day, when it had also been removed.

2K stated that players who had previously bought the game would still be able to download and replay it. However, new purchases will not be available on digital marketplaces.

Spec Ops has previously been awarded for its narrative by both the Inside Gaming Awards and IGN’s Best of Awards in 2012, with it also receiving a nomination by The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences for the 16th Annual DICE Awards for its story.

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