Engine provider Crytek has filed a lawsuit against the two companies behind crowdfunding success Star Citizen, accusing the developers of breaching their contract in multiple ways.
The suit is against both Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries and was filed in the US district court of California, Polygon reports. The main crux of the allegations is that Crytek believes the studios are still using its CryEngine technology.
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Last year, CIG and RSI announced they were dropping CryEngine 3 in favour of Amazon Lumberyard - which is, in fact, built on CryEngine after the retail giant signed a licensing deal that saved Crytek from its financial struggles. (Interestingly, Cloud Imperium's decision to switch engines came amidst similar financial turmoil for Crytek last year).
Crytek claims that marketing materials for Star Citizen show lives of code on a screen that indicate the game is still powered on CryEngine 3 - or at least part of it still is.
The firm also alleges that CIG and RSI has removed the CryEngine logo from the game's start-up sequence - improperly so if the game is still running on its tech - and that the team has modified the engine without properly disclosing this to Crytek as part of the original licensing agreement.
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Finally, since CIG and RSI has begun selling Star Citizen as two separate games - the single-player Squadron 42 campaign and the multiplayer Star Citizen Persistent Universe - Crytek is alleging that this is a further breach of contract as it constitutes as using the engine twice.
Crytek is suing for damages, both direct and indirect, and a permanent injunction to prevent both companies from continuing to use CryEngine.
A representative of CIG and RSI sent the following statement to Polygon: "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."
Nonetheless, the lawsuit could have a serious impact on the development of Star Citizen - particularly if Crytek's claims prove to be true. The game has already been in development for five years, raised more than $173m in backer funding, and has still yet to deliver much of what was originally promised.
Crytek itself, or at least one of its studios, is also facing its own lawsuit when its former Istanbul head of game operations demanded his unpaid severance package.