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Stardock sues marketer over poor Elemental reception

Company alleges that former employee destroyed promo materials

Stardock has filed a lawsuit against former marketing manager Alexandra Miseta, accusing her of destroying promotional materials for Elemental: War of Magic. Stardock says the destruction of the materials hurt the quality of the game's launch, leading to its poor reception. The lawsuit was filed in Michigan Eastern District Court last month and court documents show that Stardock is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Miseta worked for Stardock for four years and quit in August of 2010, three weeks prior to Elemental shipping. Stardock says that promotional items and analytics data destroyed by Miseta when she left the company forced it to scramble to create new promotional materials. This lack of resources affected the programming and polishing of Elemental, leading to its poor launch state.

Stardock also accuses Miseta of taking her company laptop with her when she left and running a side business during work hours.

Elemental: War of Magic was hit hard by critics when it was released. The game sits with a score of 53 on Metacritic with many critics slamming the game for its lack of polish.

[Via Gamasutra]

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Latest comments (6)

Jack Lee4 years ago
Look, I love Stardock and really respect what they try to do in general, and maybe Miseta wronged them and they are right to seek damages, but I seem to remember Elemental being poorly received because it was a buggy, nigh-unplayable mess that even Brad Wardell thought shouldn't have been released as it was. I understand why they frame it like this for a legal suit, but blaming the reception squarely on rushed marketing efforts strikes me as disingenuous.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
Isn't the argument that they would have spent more time polishing, but they instead had to spend the time working on marketing materials because Miseta destroyed the ones they would have otherwise used?
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
I doubt that the three weeks prior to shipping would've made a lot of difference. It certainly wouldn't have made any difference to the initial launch game, considering it would've gone gold by that point. Whether it would've made any difference to Day-0 patches and updates is questionable - surely the creation of new analytics and marketing material wouldn't have diverted that many resources from the programming side of things? They're two separate departments, and I'd be surprised if they were struggling to fund both marketing and programming at the time. The budget would've taken a battering, but this is why projects have a degree of overspend factored in, right?
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises4 years ago
If at first you don't succeed. Sue, sue, sue again!
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis4 years ago
Erm...
"This lack of resources affected the programming and polishing of Elemental, leading to its poor launch state."

I'm not sure how they are set up but the destruction of promotional material would not/should not affect game development unless the programmers were also doing art work for the promo materials?
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 4 years ago
This is a bit weird. Why the delay in sueing? Or were they trying to settle privately first, I wonder?

Anyway, I agree with the premise that better marketing materials being present would not have materially affected the quality of the game at release...
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