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The Real Reason You Still Can't Play The Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Game

On Aug. 13, 2020, fans celebrated the 10th anniversary of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Based on the graphic novel series of the same name, the film is widely regarded as funny and is readily available through stores and streaming services. However, the video game developed to promote the movie is a lost classic since it is no longer available on any digital storefront.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was a retro beat-em-up throwback to titles like Double Dragon and River City Ransom. Not only did the game's art style recreate the graphic novel in pixel format, its soundtrack was developed by the popular chiptune band Anamanaguchi. This combination of solid gameplay, retro aesthetic, and earworm music helped the game burrow into gamers' hearts. To celebrate the game's 10th anniversary, Anamanaguchi and Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O'Malley took to Twitter. There, they reminded everyone the game is still delisted, and asked fans to beg Ubisoft for its resurrection.

You may be wondering — why isn't Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game on sale anymore? The answer, as it turns out, may not be all that complicated.

Licensing got in the way ... probably

Even though Ubisoft developed and published Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, it's difficult to determine who owns the game's rights. Since Bryan Lee O'Malley is asking Ubisoft to bring the game back, we can probably rule him out. So, where does that leave us? With game publisher/developer Ubisoft, the graphic novel's publisher, Oni Press, and Universal Studios – the company that distributed the Scott Pilgrim movie. Whoever owns the rights controls the game's fate and will ultimately decide if it ever gets to return to digital store shelves.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game was delisted from digital stores on Dec. 30, 2014, and nobody ever provided an official explanation. The running theory is Ubisoft rented a license to publish the game and licensing renewal issues/fees got in the way (and still do), but without any definitive answers, it's only a theory. The only way to play the game is to own an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 that has the title on its hard drive since downloading it is now out of the question.

Though potential licensing issues may have delisted the game once, things don't have to remain that way. Lately, games such as River City Girls and Streets of Rage 4 have demonstrated a sizable market and demand for old-school beat-em-ups. And, Ubisoft has responded to O'Malley's tweets with a "considering" emoji. This doesn't mean Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game will grace digital storefronts once again, but it doesn't mean the game will remain delisted forever, either.