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Stardock sues marketer over poor Elemental reception

Stardock sues marketer over poor Elemental reception

Wed 15 Aug 2012 8:55pm GMT / 4:55pm EDT / 1:55pm PDT
Legal

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]

7 Comments

Jack Lee

62 6 0.1
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.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

564 278 0.5
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?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,019 0.7
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?

Posted:A year ago

#3

Craig Page
Programmer

381 216 0.6
If at first you don't succeed. Sue, sue, sue again!

Posted:A year ago

#4

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

337 103 0.3
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?

Posted:A year ago

#5

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

730 410 0.6
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...

Posted:A year ago

#6

Tom Pickard
Lead Environment Artist - Campaign Map

308 382 1.2
This is a scary thought that the destruction of early PR work meant the entire team who should be fixing bugs till release were rushed into making PR material from a newer build and it was still be poorly recieved.... This sounds like incredibly poor managment of the marketing team (maybe the entire team) by Stardock. And trying to shift blame for a rushed product being buggy and unplayable because of PR work required. Im sorry but 1 good 2d artist and some screenshots to touch them up maybe? Also 3 weeks before release!!! if your marketing isn't in full swing months before release then your not going to make much of a dent without spending massive bucks.

Posted:A year ago

#7

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