Crytek vs. CIG: Motion to dismiss partially granted
Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games has apparently achieved a great success in the lawsuit against Crytek. Meanwhile, supporters continue to reward CIG’s work with hard currency.
Note: Jurisprudence is extremely complex everywhere and even in German (the author’s native language) often confusing or a matter of interpretation. Therefore, the following text can only serve as an overview. Any interpretations that go along with this are the author’s opinion based solely on current information.
About a year ago CryEngine developer Crytek made headlines when they filed a lawsuit against Star Citizen maker Cloud Imperium Games (CIG). Among other claims, Crytek argues that CIG is obliged to use the CryEngine and share improvements with Crytek. In addition, CIG allegedly aimed at an illegal competition towards CryEngine with StarEngine. The switch to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine later on was a breach of contract. In addition, CIG is not licensed to develop two games, as they do with the MMO Star Citizen and the single player campaign Squadron 42.
Crytek tried, among other things, to get CIG to release all relevant development data, including the program code of Star Citizen, with a request for total disclosure. The reason (which seems ridiculous from our point of view) at the time was, that Crytek should have the opportunity to check the code to find the evidence for their accusations. For this reason, we already suspected that the financially troubled engine developer was not primarily interested in money, but in insight into the work of Crytek’s former and CIG’s current engine developers.
Lawsuit over Star Citizen: Loss for Crytek
It appears that some parts of the complaint in the preliminary hearing have now been ( temporarily ) rejected by the judge. At this point we quote the apparently very precise summary of the decision of reddit user Bribase:
- CIG weren’t “engaging in the business” of selling StarEngine, so Crytek have no reason to say that they were “designing, developing, creating or promoting” an engine which competes with Cryengine.
- Their GLA permits adapting Cryengine to suit CIG’s needs.
- The GLA only prohibits CIG from licensing to a third party, not licensing from another party (i.e: Lumberyard, Amazon)
- CIG aren’t obliged to promote Cryengine. The promotion of Lumberyard is not sufficiently evidenced.
Crytek may appeal against this decision until 27 December 2018, in order to possibly present facts supporting its position. However, since Crytek has so far apparently failed to provide evidence, it is highly unlikely that a complaint will succeed. Nevertheless, Crytek’s attorneys are likely to file a complaint anyway, if only to demonstrate their view of the legality of their claim.
Lawsuit between Crytek and CIG not abandoned yet
While the court decision has already been celebrated by Star Citizen fans as a victory throughout the line, the lawsuit is not yet over. For example, it is likely that the dispute over the development of two games will be dealt with in court.
Nevertheless, Crytek’s chances of success are clearly dwindling. This is not particularly surprising, as several lawyers had already questioned the sense and structure of the lawsuit in the past. The suspicion that Crytek actually only wanted to access Star Citizen’s program code was at the top of our own list of possible motivations for the lawsuit, at least since the judge decided to exclude fines from CIG.
210 million dollars: Star Citizen’s success continues
Completely unaffected by Crytek’s efforts, CIG continues to generate millions in private funding. The $200 million mark was recently passed. Of course, the release of the first planet in the universe, Hurston, played a major role in this.
The enormous dimensions of the game so far are one thing, but much more important is something else: It is becoming increasingly clear how the puzzle pieces of the ambitious project slowly but surely assemble into the image of a full-fledged game. A look at the roadmap for Star Citizen underlines this. The critics, who have always doubted that CIG could achieve its ambitious goals, are becoming increasingly quiet – and the trolls screaming “scam” are no longer taken seriously.
CIG has proven with the release of Update 3.3.5 that they are trustworthy and are working hard to deliver on their promises. The supporters are rewarding this with more money. This is even more important for a crowdfunding project of this scale than the partial dismissal of a lawsuit with Crytek.