Delta Force: Exploring The IP’s Troubled Past And Uncertain Future

Left behind in the dust because of NovaLogic's unfortunate decisions.

Story Highlights

  • The Delta Force games were a series of tactical shooter games developed by NovaLogic.
  • NovaLogic could not manage itself as a company, and this franchise suffered.
  • Tencent Games gave the franchise new breath with a trailer released in 2023.

The first-person shooter genre has been one of the most active and popular video game genres ever since it dawned upon the industry. Even to this day, many gamers still hold some of the old, classic, golden-grade shooters quite close to their hearts, but unfortunately, not many of the OG titles are still with us, nor have their respective developers revived them to any extent.

The Delta Force IP is one such proponent of the thought, having disappeared a fairly long time ago with no future in sight. The story of this series’ fall is one of the more interesting ones, though. The DF games were fantastic, and the players were competitive but still wholesome.

And let me tell you this: The death of this beloved franchise was solely the result of its creators, NovaLogic, who did little to ensure that Delta Force would end in an honorable way.

What Were The Delta Force Games?

If you were into shooting games in the mid-2000s, then there is a high chance you’re already more than familiar with this franchise. Simply put, the Delta Force franchise was a series of tactical shooters. In these games, you assume the rules of a Delta Force operative from the US Military and go on missions for your country.

Delta Force Gameplay image
Upscaled Delta Force 2 Map Visuals | Source: Mod DB

The franchise has about 11 titles, the most popular being Delta Force 2 and Delta Force Xtreme. Although many of the titles were not well received by critics, the player scores usually leaned towards praising the title, leading to a higher player-based review. A classic example is Delta Force Black Hawk Down, which was very well received by players but gutted by the critics.

Delta Force Review
The Delta Force scorings by players and critics | Source: Metacritic

The Team Behind Delta Force

The masterminds behind Delta Force were part of the studio NovaLogic. NovaLogic was one of the big boys in the 2000s, primarily because of DF (Delta Force). The studio specialized in many war-based games that followed the same style. Other than DF, some titles it is known for include the Armored Fist game series and the Joint Operation games.

A key part of NovaLogic’s success was its use of the Voxel Space engine. In the 90s, large environments in video games were huge selling points, and NovaLogic tried its best to capitalize on that. Naturally, their first few games were a massive hit. NovaLogic also worked on improving the engine and their games but failed to realize that releasing games is just as important as making games.

The Fall Of NovaLogic And Delta Force

The fall of Delta Force was not due to Delta Force’s fault but rather NovaLogic’s. Sure, the title evokes deep nostalgia in some of its players, but no one cared enough about the games for long, and that’s only because NovaLogic forgot they needed to release games, too.

NovaLogic’s demise was based on several factors, but the one tied directly to this franchise is that while they were producing games, they did not release any of them for extended periods. After a spree of releasing 11 DF titles and other games, they failed to continue that spree due to poor decisions and low funding.

I made the chart below to show the release frequency, which slowed down with time and completely stopped by 2009.

Delta Force Release Plot
The chart showing how frequent DF releases | Source: eXputer

Even if releasing games wasn’t the issue, NovaLogic was in much legal trouble. The most notable one is the infamous NovaLogic vs. Activision lawsuit, in which NovaLogic sued Activision for allegedly abusing copyright law tied to Modern Warfare 3. Concern was held over using the term “Delta Force,” certain graphics, and the narration of the games. NovaLogic lost the case based on the case summary.

NovaLogic lawsuit
NovaLogic vs. Activision Lawsuit | Source: Call Of Duty Fandom

While this was no cheap case to fight, NovaLogic was rumored to be fined $153,500 for allegedly using pirated software to develop their games. Although I could not find any official sources for the fine amount or the report, the fine is reported by third-party sites to be around that figure. This was the first stop towards NovaLogic defuncting in October 2016.

NovaLogic Pirated Software hit
NovaLogic found guilty of using pirated software for making products | Source: Quarter to Three 

What The Future Holds

The future of Delta Force is both good and bad. Before NovaLogic ended, THQ Nordic acquired all its franchises, including DF. In the hands of this new company, the title saw no real progress other than the studio asking for revival ideas, but no real progress was made on that front.

However, there is still hope for the DF games. In 2023, during Gamescom’s opening night, Tencent, of all companies, revealed a trailer in collaboration with IGN focused on reviving this franchise from the grave. It is inspired by the movie “Black Hawk Down” and will provide the franchise with a fresh single-player campaign mode.

It is not fully known how Tencent claimed ownership of the franchise other than a few rumors, but I think it’s safe to say that the future of the DF seems to be in responsible and competent hands.

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Ibrahim Akhtar is a guides & features writer at eXputer. He uses his passion for gaming to provide insightful takes in his articles. Ibrahim spends most of his time defending Baldur's Gate from the forces of the Absolute. He has accumulated more than 15 years of gaming experience, having 1000 hours in The Witcher 3 and twice as much on Skyrim V. Ibrahim has previously worked at TopTierList. You can keep up with his Steam account to stay up to date on his latest explorations.

Experience: 1+ Years || Previously Worked for TopTierList || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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