Warner Bros. is now erasing games as it plans to delist Adult Swim-published titles

Warner Bros. is now erasing games as it plans to delist Adult Swim-published titles

Warner Bros. Discovery is telling developers it plans to start “retiring” games published by its Adult Swim Games label, game makers who worked with the publisher tell Polygon. At least three games are under threat of being removed from Steam and other digital stores, with the fate of other games published by Adult Swim unclear.

The media conglomerate’s planned removal of those games echoes cuts from its film and television business; Warner Bros. Discovery infamously scrapped plans to release nearly complete movies Batgirl and Coyote vs. Acme, and removed multiple series from its streaming services. If Warner Bros. does go through with plans to delist Adult Swim’s games from Steam and digital console stores, 18 or more games could be affected.

News of the Warner Bros. plan to potentially pull Adult Swim’s games from Steam and the PlayStation Store was first reported by developer Owen Reedy, who released puzzle-adventure game Small Radios Big Televisions through the label in 2016. Reedy said on X Tuesday the game was being “retired” by Adult Swim Games’ owner. He responded to the company’s decision by making the Windows PC version of Small Radios Big Televisions available to download for free from his studio’s website.

Polygon reached out to other developers who had worked with Adult Swim Games as a publisher. Two studios responded to say that they’d received a similar warning from Warner Bros. Discovery, but they are still in the dark about what it means for their games.

Developer Michael Molinari, who released Soundodger+ through Adult Swim Games in 2013, told Polygon he received a warning from a Warner Bros. Discovery rep earlier this week that his game would be “removed from Steam” within the next 60 days.

“I don’t know if they’re delisting it or deleting it,” Molinari told Polygon in an email. “I pleaded with the rep to transfer ownership to my company, as I still retain all IP and game rights. I sent him a link to Steam’s transfer page and explained clearly that it takes literally three clicks to transfer ownership to me. He rejected my request.”

Molinari said the Warner Bros. Discovery representative said the decision not to transfer ownership back to developers “stems from logistical and resource constraints” and “the limited capacity of our team.” (One developer Polygon spoke with said the current Adult Swim Games team consisted of a “skeleton crew.”) Molinari expressed frustration that WBD’s planned removal of his game and others would lead to “over a decade of downloads, community guides, reviews, and patch notes […] suddenly vanishing.”

According to Molinari, Warner Bros. Discovery informed him that he’s allowed to republish Soundodger+ on Steam, but that option presents its own issues. Doing so “would erase all my wishlists, reviews, community guides, and forum discussions, along with not allowing new and old owners of the game to compare achievements and trading cards,” Molinari said.

“The other legal requirement for republishing the game myself is to remove any and all mention of Adult Swim Games,” Molinari said. “I asked for clarification, and he even wants the credits sequence altered to remove the names of the [Adult Swim Games] team. I’m a huge supporter of games preservation, and this is a direct blow to properly crediting the people that worked on a game.”

Matt Lewandowski, co-owner of studio Team2Bit, the developer behind the Adult Swim Games-published Fist Puncher, told Polygon that he’d also been contacted by Warner Bros. Discovery with a similar warning. Lewandowski said that a rep blamed the impending removal of Fist Puncher on “internal business changes.”

“We requested that they transfer Fist Puncher back to our studio,” Lewandowski said. “Their response was that they ‘cannot transfer the game’ due to the fact that they ‘made the decision not to transfer ownership due to logistical and resource constraints.’”

Lewandowski said Team2Bit remains hopeful that WB Discovery will give Fist Puncher back to the studio.

“It’s been out for 11 years and we built a community around it through Steam,” he said. “We also had an incredible experience working with Adult Swim over the years. The original team that helped us get Fist Puncher on Steam was passionate about elevating interesting and unique games from small studios.

“That said, if we do not get the current release of Fist Puncher transferred over to us, then we will likely re-release it under our own account. We still own the game and the IP so a re-release is certainly possible. And as someone who is passionate about preserving game history, I hate to see any game get lost to corporate red tape.”

Polygon reached out to 10 studios and solo developers who had their games published by Adult Swim Games to see what they’ve heard. Some say they haven’t been contacted by WB Discovery, but they expect to. “From what I’ve heard from others, I will probably be hearing from them soon,” developer Andrew Morrish, who published Kingsway and Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe through Adult Swim, told Polygon. “It’s not looking good.”

Molinari said that if and when his game Soundodger+ is pulled from Steam, he’ll republish it there “with as little downtime as possible between the two versions.” The game is also available from Molinari’s itch page.

“As an aside, I am beyond delighted I chose to self-publish Soundodger 2,” Molinari added, “as I’d be devastated to have my two best-selling games on Steam removed with such short notice.”

Polygon has contacted Warner Bros. Discovery reps for comment on the company’s plans to remove Adult Swim Games’ catalog and will update when the company responds.