The Myth behind Mythora
We’ve bleated enough about MIRRORS a game from EDGE for the moment. Although just to add a point there, the box was changed again after our last article was posted. We’re bored of that game now, we want to play something new. Something we can actually physically play with. In our hands, an real actual GAME!
I know you’re all thinking that we’ve gone nuts, cause Edge Games don’t actually release games.
We’ll that’s not true because we have an actual real copy of Mythora, box n’ all!
So what now? Do we eat our hat? Do we shut up shop now that we’ve received proof of physical product?
Of course not. Now the fun begins. It’s time to find out what lurks inside this “Edge Games” release.
Let’s start with the box.
The Edge Games Online Store claims:
Mythora is an older product in our range, launched in 2004. It does not currently have up to date video or sound card drivers and thus may not work on all current PC systems. We are endeavoring to add video card and sound card support and will announce such new support as and when it is available. But in the meantime,when purchasing this product please be aware it is an older game.
This information tallies up with the specs printed on the back of the box, and also the copyright year of 2004. So it’s clear that this is old stock saved from it’s original 2004 release yes?
Let’s look at this further.
Mythora is listed on the box as being a TM. So with that we should be able to trace this trademark back on the http://uspto.gov website:
That’s good, the trademark does exist. But something is odd. The Filing Date reads September 1, 2009. The very same day that Mythora was posted on the Edge Games website store, and the same day that this copy was ordered from that website. Incidentally it’s also the same day that the box art image was uploaded to the Edge Games store as well.
Let’s move on to the box blurb.
Well it’s plentiful that’s for sure. It’s also slightly odd to post such a large amount of text on the box, all in one single drawn out long paragraph no less. To attempt to read that in a shop as a way of convincing to purchase would quickly put you to sleep.
So why did Edge Games go to all the effort of adding such a lengthy write up, and one that includes a spoiler to the end of the game (If you can’t be bothered reading it, just look at the last line). Well, lets look to where the text could have come from as we’ve established the fine idea that Edge Games loves to release things found on the internet.
All examples include the world EXILE wrote in capital letters as well as following basically the same storyline. This concludes two things then, the text is from 2003/4 and is linked to EDGE Games. It still would have made more sense to release the game with a more punchy sounding bit of box blurb, but that’s by-the-by. It does help us link EDGE Games and NAWAR.
The following image is taken from the open letter posted by Edge Games regarding the Mobigame case, which shows that there was an ‘Agreement’ between Edge Games and Vivid Design (The creators of Mythora). In the statement Edge Games make it clear that they own the rights to Mythora / Banita, so not the name of the game but the game itself. The truth is an Agreement could be regarding anything, and that bit of ‘proof’ isn’t worth the website it’s printed on.
Focusing on NARWAR’s site for a while longer, they actually launched a Mythora page around the start of 2004, stating EDGE Games as the title’s publisher, continuing with the notion that EDGE were set to publish the game upon its release.
In March 2004 WithinGames.net published an interview with NAWAR studio head Marcin Michel and Mythora lead programmer/Lead Designer Dominik Libek. It’s an interesting read and brings forward a few points which are worth repeating:
(14) When will the game be released? Have you already any publishing-deals and will there be a localized version for the german market?
Marcin Michel: The game is ready and it is waiting to be launched. If we find a distributor for the German market, the localized version of the product will certainly be issued. For now I have to solve the problems with currently signed contract, but I can estimate the German version release date at the end of April 2004.
Now we can only speculate what the situation of the contract was back then in, the only information we have is the news that followed the March interview.
In June NAWAR launched a new page dedicated to Banita, which was the very same page and game as Mythora, but listed without publisher or release date. A Guess here could be that the deal with EDGE and Mythora fell apart, so NAWAR took to renaming the game and offering it back out to new clients. This might not be the exact case, but we hope it’ll become clear in the future.
Soon after this NAWAR shifted it’s focus and a FRONTLINE took over as the brand for game development.
Formal Incorporation of the FRONTLINE Studios™ Poland, as a subsidiary company of NAWAR, dedicated exclusively to the development of video games, NAWAR focuses exclusively on business applications and technology research.
Despite a massive search on the internet and through many years of archives, no reference can be found showing the release of Mythora by EDGE Games until the opening of the EDGE store on 1st Sept 2009.
Frontline Studios updated their website in 2005 with a page dedicated to The Banished, along with a copyright, with no mention of EDGE Games or Mythora.
RPGCodex also list the announcement of Mythora, followed by the announcement of Banita (The Banished), which follows the line that the game took a different direction from its early announcement.
Marcin Michel, Head of Frontline Studios was contacted regarding this confusing matter of ownership. Although we cannot print all of what he said, here’s a snippet that gives enough information for people to go on.
“FRONTLINE / NAWAR do not confirm Tim owns any rights, and official statement will be posted after discovery is completed by our attorney”.
This information was actually given to Tim Langdell, to which he responded with:
I am certain that if Marcin wrote that to you he did so before he received a copy of the actual contract. Since he has since confirmed Edge owns the rights and Edge and Frontline are in talks about an amicable resolution of the situation that Vivid created.
Again, please stop talking as if you have deeper knowledge of Edge Game’s affairs than Edge itself has. It only makes you look even more foolish than you already do.
Marcin has been contacted since and we can state that Tim’s message doesn’t comply with the response from Marcin. So that looks like another potential legal wrangle in the making.
So what exactly do we have in our hands then? This is certainly a copy of Mythora, the box says so, as does the disc. We can only continue all see what else can be found.
On the back of the box are four screen shots of the game. Looking closely at these screen shots reveal a red mark in the top left corner, like a water mark.
Taking a trip back to GamersHell website, which hosted information about Mythora, we find the same screenshots as the box, we also find what looks to be the red mark which sits in the top left corner.
So it seems that EDGE aren’t just in the market for taking their artwork from Deviantart pages, they’re also taking what they claim to be their own artwork from game news sites.
The rest of the box focuses on printed all claimed trademarks that Edge Games have ever wished to have.
There’s no rules to state that you have to register trademarks, it’s just more helpful if you do. Still, it might be worth looking at Edge Games in 2004 to see how this information fits with the box we have.
- The “Masters of the Game” Trademark was registered by Acclaim, and went through a dispute with EDGE Games over ownership. Acclaim eventually got the Trademark. EDGE Games claimed it back after Acclaim went bankrupt. The Trademark registration expired in 2002.
- “Gamer’s Edge” Trademark was applied for on the 5th of February 2006 and is part of a long legal dispute with Velocity Micro over the ownership of the Trademark.
- The Edge was applied for back in 1996 but wasn’t registered until Jan 2009. The application was actually suspended throughout 2004 because it conflicted with other trademarks.
- Edge Interactive Media was suspended in April 2004, until the 16th of June 2008.
- Edge Games Inc. wasn’t incorporated until the 17th of November 2005
- http://www.mythora.com was registered 23, Oct, 2008, not bad for a game that was ‘released’ in 2004
Registrar..: gkg.net (http://register.gkg.net/)
Domain Name: MYTHORA.COM
Created on…………..: 23-OCT-2008
Expires on…………..: 23-OCT-2009
Record last updated on..: 23-OCT-2008
Enough of the box, what about the disc, the very media that holds the game we’re dying to play.
Nothing too bad looking at the initial glance, however like everything EDGE related, a closer inspection reveals.
A Memorex CD-R, a standard CD blank that can be picked up from any shop. Not commonly the work of a publisher, using an official pressing plant to cut the thousands of required discs that are used to fill the shelves of game shops the country over.
Can you believe we’ve gone this far and not actually got onto the game yet? Shocking.
Here’s a video of the game booting up, and a list of the all important game credits!
The game does begin with the Edge logo! There’s no denying that (Well the Future Publishing Magazine EDGE Logo, but EDGE Games have been using that one for long enough now), but it’s not irrefutable proof of ownership. The Logo is a BMP graphic file and there are ways of retro fitting elements like that into games without great difficulty.
The Credits are more of an important feature of the video. It’s a fairly long list and produces names of all disciplines, but no mention of Tim Langdell, EDGE Games, EDGE Interactive media, Masters of the Game, or anything else close to it.
The box lists it’s own version of the Credits and happily lists Tim Langdell, EDGE Games and Edge Games, but bless, I don’t think anyone is taking an inkjet quality CD box with screenshots taken from a gaming news site as absolute proof of ownership.
So that’s what we have at this moment. We’re hoping that some new sleuthing will bring more information regarding the whole Myth of Mythora, so stick with us and we’ll certainly be back again.
Please don’t forget, using the donation button on the right hand side of the website and passing on a small monetary gift will help the fight and enable the increasing number of developers that are stuck in a legal wrangle that they didn’t ever intend to be in.
Until next time.
More time has been spent looking at the files on the CD in hope to find information regarding the date of their creation.
Files are date stamped when they’re created, so it’s often easy to tell when a file was from by simply checking the date label.
Most of the files on the CD are dated 2003, which lines up with the games release in 2004. In fact the EDGE logo file, ‘L_Edge.bmp’ is dated 27th November, 2003. This either means that the copy of the game is one created for Edge Games, or it has been doctored to look as though it is. We are edging on belief that this copy of the game was generated for EDGE Games by NARWAR during their ‘Agreement’ in early 2004.
NAWAR stated that the game’s production was completed in 2003 before finding a publishing deal, so it’s fair to assume that during this time a version of the game was generated for EDGE Games.
There are other files on the disc which, lead us to believe that the disc itself wasn’t actually created till 2009. In fact, not actually created till after the game was ordered.
A thumbs.db file has the date 30th Aug, 2009 (The day before the EDGE Store went live)
The MSI installer file was created 2nd Sept, 2009 at 6:19AM, which was the day after the order was placed.
The most recent date on the disk is on a Autorun file, 4th Sept, 2009, 1:02AM. At 11:07AM that very same day EDGE Games emailed to say that the game had shipped. That indicates the disk was burned that day the very day it was posted.
Looking at those time and dates it seems that EDGE Games weren’t ready, prepared or maybe even expecting someone to come along and order a game from their famous and industry leading store. Here’s hoping that Nintendo or EA have a better system than this cause it sounds like quite an inefficient way to server all those many thousands of customers. Although there’s no denying that it there’s a great feel of a personal touch.
This was briefly mentioned earlier in this article, but it’s worth highlighting again.
On the Mythora box it states that the game is (c) 2004 The Edge Interactive Media. Also on the EDGE Games online store it clarifies that date of 2004.
(note: Mythora is an older product in our range, launched in 2004. It does not currently have up to date video or sound card drivers and thus may not work on all current PC systems. We are endeavoring to add video card and sound card support and will announce such new support as and when it is available. But in the meantime,when purchasing this product please be aware it is an older game).
What we mentioned before was that Edge Interactive Media was suspended from operations from April 2004, till at least June 2008.
The legal standing of this is quoted here:
Revive a Suspended Corporation
When a corporation’s status is suspended, the corporation has lost all its rights and privileges as a corporation and cannot legally operate. California Corporations can achieve good standing status but first, they must be revived. Two powers have the authority to suspend and revive a corporation. The first being the California Secretary of State’s office and the second being the California Franchise Tax Board.
If Edge Interactive Media was suspended from April 2004 and NAWAR’s website in April 2004 still shows the game as not yet released. Then either the game was never released by Edge Interactive Media or it was, illegally. However as we can find no evidence that during 2004 Edge Interactive Media sold any copies of the game, then we can only lean on the former idea. Edge Games never released Mythora.