It turns out that Activision Blizzard was serious several months ago when it threatened to throw a lawsuit out of its pram: the former publisher of Brutal Legend has just sued the game’s developer, Double Fine.
According to The Escapist’s research, the whole publishing fiasco had a little more to it than we first thought. Apparently Double Fine missed their 2008 target that was advertised in the original trailer, and requested an extra year plus $7 million to finish the game — something Activision clearly wasn’t happy with after already investing $15 million.
As Double Fine supposedly retained the rights to its game all along, it was free to find a new publisher for its game. Activision wasn’t interesting in continuing to fund development, so the options were pretty much either Double Fine finds a new publisher or the project dies.
Double Fine did find a new publisher, and a fantastically supportive one at that which allowed the developer to truly realise its vision for the game. Now Activision has seen what it missed out on, and clearly wants some of the glory.
I guess we’ll have to let the courts decide who is in the right here. I’d say its very likely Activision won’t be able to claw the game back from Electronic Arts, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it does manage to get some kind of settlement out of this. Activision kind of funded the majority of Brutal Legend‘s development, and is going to get absolutely nothing out of it — it’s not hard to see how the court might have some sympathy.
[June 5th, 2009 at 9:15am GMT+1] Brutal Legend designer Tim Schafer has responded with a brief statement:
“Hey, if Activision liked it, then they should have put a ring on it. Oh great, now Beyoncé is going to sue me too.”
Unfortunately things like this can’t be settled by wits alone, so Double Fine will need a legal team that’s just as sharp!