Third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line has been removed from sale from Steam due to expiring “partnership licenses”, according to a representative for 2K Games.
“Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring,” said a 2K Games rep in a statement shared with several outlets.
“Players who have purchased the game can still download and play the game uninterrupted. 2K would like to thank our community of players who have supported the game, and we look forward to bringing you more offerings from our label throughout this year and beyond.”
Before the official reasoning was given, speculation surrounding the delisting had focused on the game’s soundtrack and the possibility that music license have expired. The soundtrack features songs by Jimi Hendrix, Alice In Chains, and Björk, among others.
At the time of writing, Spec Ops remains available from GOG and Humble, but given the mention of “online storefronts” rather than simply Steam in the statement, I suspect it won’t last on either store for long.
“Makes no sense – especially because the themes portrayed in @SpecOpsTheLine are more relevant now than ever. Why has this happened @2k @Steam?” tweeted game director Cory Davis earlier this morning.
Originally released in 2012, Spec Ops: The Line is fondly remembered for being a military shooter with something to say about war beyond “fuck yeah, humvees!”. Much like a pleasant stroll on a warm spring day, it left Alec feeling “abjectly awful”, as he expressed in his review – although in Spec Op’s case, it was intentional.
It is not uncommon for games to disappear from sale, particularly for licensing issues. If I was to grieve the loss of a sun-and-sand odyssey into the heart of of man, I’d shed tears for Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast before Spec Ops: The Line, but your heart may be full of different stuff than mine.
This story has been updated to include the statement from 2K Games.