Crytek seems to love courtrooms and legal dramas, like a multinational corporation version of my mum, so it should come as little surprise to see it’s attempting to sue Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) for Copyright Infringement and Breach of Contract.
The issue stems from CIG licensing the CryEngine for the development of a single game - Star Citizen. Within the last couple of years, CIG announced that its single-player Squadron 42 component would be sold as a standalone product, with Crytek arguing this makes it a second separate game that was never part of the licensing deal.
Further complications arise when Crytek allege a deal was inked wherein Cloud Imperium Games could use the CryEngine at a reduced rate in exchange for putting Crytek logos on the splash screens and within the menus of Star Citizen. Last year, CIG moved engines from CryEngine to Amazon Lumberyard, an offshoot of CryEngine that was licensed from Amazon after Amazon acquired the rights to use and modify CryEngine for its own needs in a $70 million deal.
After changing engines, CIG removed all of Crytek’s logos from the game, potentially violating the agreement. Crytek also alleges that assets created in CryEngine have been re-used in Lumberyard without compensation. Crytek says it has “invested significant time and expense in creating impressive demonstrations and proofs-of-concept that were used to persuade the public to contribute financially to a “crowdfunding” campaign to support the development of [Star Citizen].”
On the surface, it seems Crytek may actually have a case here, although it’s something that’s sure to rumble on in courts for a long while to come. The full filing of the federal breach can be seen here, although beware it doesn’t exactly make for light reading.
CIG has responded swiftly to the allegations, issuing the following statement:
“We are aware of the complaint having been filed in the US District Court. CIG hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard. This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”
Should Crytek actually win this case, then this could have huge ramifications for Star Citizen. Crytek would be entitled to an upfront licensing fee and a proportion of the revenue, revenue which has no doubt already been invested in additional development.
What are your thoughts on Crytek’s move here? Is it a legitimate claim? Has CIG knowingly breached the contract? Let us know your thoughts!