Crytek, the company behind CryEngine, is suing Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and Roberts Space Industries (RSI), the developers of Star Citizen, for breach of contract. The lawsuit was filed to the Central District Court of California on Tuesday the 12th of December.
Crytek signed a contract with the duo of developers in 2012 in which they
- promised to use CryEngine exclusively for the purpose of developing Star Citizen,
- would feature the engine and promote it within the game,
- collaborate with Crytek on engine development,
- and protect the source code of the engine itself.
According to the lawsuit, CIG and RSI has “utterly failed to follow through on those promises” and are thus being sued for more than $75 000 in damages as well as the removal of Crytek material from the game.
Firstly, the developers have announced the development and separate sale of Squadron 42 – a single player dog-fighting game. Crytek claims this violates the first clause: that their engine would only be used for the development of Star Citizen itself.
In addition, CIG and RSI have since the agreement switched to using Amazon Lumberyard and thus new builds of the game do not promote CryEngine and the developers are no longer cooperating with Crytek on engine development.
Finally, the lawsuit argues that the developers’ “Bugsmashers” videos in which they discuss bugs in the code of the game violate the fourth clause. By showing the code publicly, they are not taking adequate steps to protect the copyrights of Crytek. Additionally the source code was supposedly shared with other third party developers without permission.
Of course, this is only the plaintiff side and the breaches may not be as bad as they are presented.
CIG has since the lawsuit issued the following statement to Massively OP:
“We are aware of the Crytek 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.”
It appears that the developers do not believe they have acted against the contract and will fight back against the claims. If they were to lose the lawsuit and be forced to rewrite all CryEngine code, it could be an enormous setback for the largest crowd funded video game project of all time.