Gearbox responds to Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit

"Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money"

Gearbox has mounted its defense in the ongoing class-action lawsuit that alleges it and Sega are guilty of misleading the public with their advertising and demos of Aliens: Colonial Marines. It also reveals details of the company's financial dealings with Sega, claiming it paid substantial sums to see the game finished.

"Gearbox never belonged in this lawsuit," attorneys for the developer stated in a court filing reported by Polygon.

"Gearbox is a video game software developer. It was neither the publisher nor seller of the video game at issue. For more than a year, Gearbox has quietly abided the plaintiffs' claims so that Sega, the game's publisher and the party responsible for the game's marketing and sale, could assume the defense of this lawsuit. Gearbox has honored its publisher's request in spite of plaintiffs' highly-publicized-and highly-misplaced-claims against Gearbox. At this point, however, Gearbox is obligated to pursue its rightful departure from this case."

"Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game"

Steve Gibson, Gearbox

The filings were made on Wednesday to the Northern District of California and asked that four of the claims were dropped and that whole suit lose class-action status.

"During the development process, Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game; Gearbox's contributions to A:CM totaled millions, none of which was ever repaid," Gearbox's Steve Gibson stated in a deposition as part of the filing.

"The game's sales were insufficient to trigger any sales-based payments to Gearbox and, as a result, Gearbox has not received any additional monies from Sega for the sale of the game. Gearbox only received the milestone payments made by Sega during the game's development."

The class action lawsuit against Sega and Gearbox began in May 2013 and was brought by law firm Edelson LLC on behalf of Damion Perrine, who is currently in jail awaiting trial on assault charges.

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Latest comments (5)

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 3 years ago
Christian, I'd say that that's a possibility.

My concern, is that the definition of who the publisher of the product is is definitely blurry. If Gearbox have co-financed the project then they may be held as responsible. It's entirely their decision to not be diligent enough concerning how that money was spent but no matter how much responsibility they decided not to take, it's entirely possible that they still are accountable.

I find their motivation highly dubious. I can't see a logical angle behind ploughing significant amounts of cash into a project that they must have been aware that was being misrepresented. The fact that they were essentially outsourcing the project adds to that feeling.

Ah well, I'm sure it will yield a hilarious headline at some point.
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Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions3 years ago
Given the usual flow of development I'd say Gearbox funded Colonial Marines to get it done having ploughed Sega money into Borderlands earlier in development. That's not a slight, it's just the way things happen. The law suit is ridiculous, they made a shitty game and some people bought it - this has happened quite a few times in the industry's history.
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 3 years ago
gearbox seems to suck in lawsuits.....whats up really?
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada3 years ago
Richard, it's not that the game is bad, it's that it was allegedly misrepresented in marketing materials, including video.
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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance3 years ago

Yup. The trailer was in no way representative of the quality of the final product, yet appeared to be in-game footage. Hence the lawsuit, though I reallycan't determine whether or not it is frivolous. I think it's a gray area.

I am certain however, had Aliens: Colonial Marines been a commercial success, that Gearbox would have gotten their piece of the money. It seems they are only concerned about their responsiblity for a title when it's a successful title. Let's keep in mind they also passed the buck on Duke Nukem Forever after the hate erupted on that soul-sucking monster.
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