Roberts Space Industries and Cloud Imperium Games, developers of the crowdfunded space game Star Citizen, are being sued by game engine maker Crytek in for copyright infringement and breach of contract.
In the suit filed earlier this week, Crytek is seeking damages and an injunction against further use of CryEngine software in connection with Star Citizen. In response to Crytek’s allegations, Star Citizen’s developers have claimed “[t]his is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”
Star Citizen’s developers also noted that “CIG hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard.” This change of game engine software, however, is specifically at issue in this suit. Crytek claims that the decision to switch from CryEngine to Amazon’s Lumberyard violates contractual agreements between Crytek and Star Citizen’s developers. Some have noted the irony of this particular change, as Lumberyard itself is based on a version of CryEngine.
Crytek also claims that Roberts Space Industries and Cloud Imperium Games have failed to appropriately display Crytek logos in promotional materials and that they have improperly modified the CryEngine software.
Further, Crytek claims that the use of CryEngine software in connection with two games set in the Star Citizen universe, Star Citizen and Squadron 42, exceeds the scope of the General Licensing Agreement in place between the parties. Crytek’s complaint notes that “Section 2.1.2 of the GLA contained a promise by Defendants to use CryEngine for the development of only one video game” and that “[d]uring the negotiation of the terms of the GLA, Crytek made it clear that the game license would not cover anything more.”
Additionally, Crytek has questioned the fairness of the General Licensing Agreement considering that Cloud Imperium co-founder and general counsel Ortwin Freyermuth, who was responsible for negotiating this license agreement on behalf of Cloud Imperium, had previously represented Crytek in similar agreements. Moreover, during these same negotiations Crytek was represented by Carl Jones, who later left Crytek to join Cloud Imperium.
Star Citizen has been in development since 2012, and has since that time raised over $173 million, the largest amount of crowdfunding obtained by any video game to date. Both companies responsible for the development of Star Citizen were co-founded by Chris Roberts, the creator of the Wing Commander franchise. As Star Citizen progresses towards an anticipated alpha build general release, it is unclear how this lawsuit will affect the launch of the game.