See here, the official teaser for Faceless, a game previously known as Slender: Source. It’s got a complicated lineage: inspired by another game, which was in turn inspired by an internet meme.
Despite popularity on Valve’s new Steam “Greenlight” crowdsourced game initiative, Faceless can’t get itself onto Steam. Joystiq takes a look in a new article, speaking with Faceless developer Justin Ross about how Valve has blocked the game’s move to steam, citing copyright concerns.
Despite the fact that Ross has gotten permission from the creator of Slenderman, who goes by the internet handle Victor Surge, as well as the fact that a similar Slendermanish game called The Intruder has already been Greenlit, Faceless languishes in Valve-imposed purgatory.
Valve writes to Ross, “The permission from Victor Surge/Eric Knudsen is fine but since he has an option holder we’ll need their permission too.” An option holder is not the trademark holder, but owns the contract on an IP and is able to licence it out for a film, TV, book, video game, or other endeavour. Ross is currently in communication with the Slender Man option holder, and it looks like he’ll have to sign a handful of documents to push Faceless through Greenlight.
It tracks that there might be more interested and possibly legally involved parties than just the Slenderman’s creator, and it’s understandable that Valve would want to be absolutely sure they aren’t opening themselves up to a lawsuit before greenlighting the game.
It sounds as though the main mistake the Faceless team made was to start off calling their game Slender: Source, and to link it so explicitly to the existing meme. But it also sounds as though, so far, no one with any rights to the Slenderman has any real objections to Faceless, and that with some time, emailing, and maybe paper-signing, everything will work out.
I’m certainly intrigued by the premise of Faceless — it’s hard to pull off a multiplayer horror game, but the way they describe it sounds like it could work. Hopefully everyone will cross the necessary t’s and dot the requisite lower-case j’s and we’ll get to find out.