Update [Wed 31st Jan, 2024 09:15 GMT]: In a statement given to Game File's Stephen Totilo, 2K has stated that Spec-Ops the line will be removed from all digital storefronts (not just Steam). This is, as speculated, because of the expiration of several partnership licenses.
Here's the full statement regarding the game's removal:
"Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring. 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."
Original Story [Tue 30th Jan, 2024 12:30 GMT]: 2K and Yager Studios' third-person military shooter Spec-Ops: The Line has unexpectedly been delisted from Steam, making it impossible to buy directly from the storefront.
As a result, if you head over to the Steam page for the game now, you will simply be greeted by a message stating "Spec-Ops: The Line is no longer available on the Steam store" where the option to purchase the game had previously been. It's unknown at present why the game was removed, with some fans online speculating that it could have something to do with its soundtrack (which featured licensed tracks from artists like Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Björk, and Mogwai, among others).
Just to give you some added context, Spec-Ops: The Line was first released for Windows computers, the PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 back in 2012, where it received mostly positive reviews from critics but achieved less-than-expected sales for Take-Two (2K's parent company).
Since then, it has gone on to become a cult classic, with many praising the game for its unrelenting depiction of war and its meaningful handling of controversial subject matter such as the use of chemical weapons on civilian populations.