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Activision suing Brütal Legend developer

Activision suing Brütal Legend developer

Activision was the original publisher for Brütal Legend, but was abandoned after a merger with Blizzard.

Activision has launched a lawsuit against Brütal Legend developer, Double Fine Studios, to try and prevent the game from being released as it claims the title has caused "irreparable harm" to the company according to reports.

Activision claims that Double Fine had previously failed to deliver on crucial development deadlines and that the team requested more funds and time to complete the title - another $7 million in funds and a nine month extension, to be exact. The publisher and studio apparently tried to negotiate a new deal, but were unable to find a solution that worked.

Fast-forward from there a little bit and Activision merges with Blizzard and Brütal Legend doesn't appear to be a title that Activision is taking with them, with the publisher presumably under the impression that the game was cancelled, it seems. Double Fine is still continuing with the game however and then sells the rights to Electronic Arts, presumably under the impression that Activision doesn't want the game. That's a lot of presumption perhaps, but at this stage it's not entirely clear how it happened that EA ended up buying the rights to a title that Activision claims it still owns.

The claim filed by Activision is now alleging that the company suffered irreparable harm as a result of all this, losing not only the rights to the game and the profits that it might bring, but also the potential profits that might have resulted from Activision selling downloadable content for the game. It's also interesting to note that the lawsuit singles out Double Fine Studios, but not EA in any way.

When asked for a comment on the lawsuit and how it might affect the game, Double Fine founder and Day of the Tentacle designer Tim Schafer said only that "if Activision liked it, then they should have put a ring on it."

"Oh great, now Beyonce is going to sue me too," he continued.

If you want to know what we think of Brütal Legend then you can check out our Brütal Legend preview for more information. If you want to know what it was like meeting Tim Schafer and getting him to sign a copy of Grim Fandango then you can check out Joe's blog. Anything else, head to the forums.

14 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
[USRF]Obiwan 5th June 2009, 11:13 Quote
What a confusing story. So Double Fine makes game, Activision funds them, Activision merges with Blizzard, then Activision presumes Double Fine canceled the game development, but Double Fine still continues anyway, then Double Fine Sells the game to EA and Activision want money for that.

eh?
remixme 5th June 2009, 11:15 Quote
I'm confused. Surely if Activision paid Double Fine Studios $15 million, they have a right to get something in return for that?

I cannot see how the lawyers would allow it to be any other way. Unless there some clever clause in the small print.
CardJoe 5th June 2009, 11:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by remixme
I'm confused

Me too.
Jenny_Y8S 5th June 2009, 11:27 Quote
Showing my age, this is a bit like how Atari lost the Amiga. They paid for a chunk of initial development but then pulled out and in stepped Commodore.

It'll all come out in the wash, there's be some small print in contract A which contradicts contract B and the highly paid lawers will sort it all out soon enough.
I-E-D 5th June 2009, 11:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by remixme
I'm confused

Me too.

Me three
Skiddywinks 5th June 2009, 12:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by I-E-D
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by remixme
I'm confused

Me too.

Me three

Me four :P

What always get's me with lawsuits though, is how big the timeframe between when what the party is being sued for happens, and when the party actually gets sued.
azrael- 5th June 2009, 15:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
Quote:
Originally Posted by I-E-D
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by remixme
I'm confused

Me too.

Me three

Me four :P
I'm not confused.

I'm baffled...
CardJoe 5th June 2009, 15:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-
I'm not confused.

I'm baffled...

Now I'm downright confuzzled.
azrael- 5th June 2009, 15:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Now I'm downright confuzzled.
It's kind of brütal, isn't it?

I'm pretty sure all will turn out well in the end, though. It has to be! I'm in serious need of a Tim Schafer fix and right now GF won't do it as I've only just played it again (again).
evanbraakensiek 6th June 2009, 04:10 Quote
I suppose it would depend on the specifics of the contract Activision made Double Fine Studios sign. A failure to meet development deadlines would give Activision the upper-hand, though, it again would depend on the reasons why the developer has failed to meet their deadline. Regardless of the merger I would assume Activision own the rights to the game since they have successfully upheld their financial obligations, and I doubt that the contract stipulated a return of rights over such a short period of time, allowing the studio to approach EA legitimately. Though, it must be said that Activision's demands are ridiculous.
remixme 6th June 2009, 17:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by evanbraakensiek
Though, it must be said that Activision's demands are ridiculous.

I've noticed most lawsuits seem to have some ridiculous demands, it's kind of like bartering, they start out from a higher position, knowing that some things will get turned down. It's probably also an intimidation tactic to show that they mean business.

That said, I remain confused ;-)
Mithyx 6th June 2009, 23:29 Quote
All I know is it better not delay the game. Rocktober better happen as planned :)
King of Heroes 7th June 2009, 01:52 Quote
Quote:
It's also interesting to note that the lawsuit singles out Double Fine Studios, but not EA in any way.

No surprise there. Activision probably realizes they'd be no match at all for EA's legal department.
Mentai 7th June 2009, 02:04 Quote
Surely EA's legal department would step in? If they're trying to delay the release it does have a direct effect on EA's profit. I imagine they want to make sure they get it out before Modern Warfare 2.
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