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Cloud Imperium Games responds to Crytek suit

Star Citizen studio calls CryEngine maker's complaint misleading and scandalous, saying it "sacrifices legal sufficiency for loud publicity"

Last month, Crytek sued Star Citizen developers Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries, alleging that the developers violated numerous terms of their CryEngine licensing agreement last year when they dropped the Crytek tech in favor of Amazon's CryEngine-based Lumberyard. At the time, CIG and RSI said they would defend themselves vigorously, and followed through on that this week with a response and motion to dismiss the suit.

"This action never should have been filed," reads the first line of the motion, before saying the Crytek suit "sacrifices legal sufficiency for loud publicity."

To support their case, CIG and RSI filed a copy of the game license agreement they signed with Crytek, saying it refutes a number of their points. Two of the biggest points of contention are whether the agreement covered development of Star Citizen and the single-player Squadron 42 campaign, and whether RSI and CIG were obligated to use CryEngine for those games, or had the option of switching.

The CIG and RSI motion to dismiss includes a copy of the license agreement, which clearly states they were licensing the CryEngine for both "Space Citizen" [sic] and "its related space fighter game, Squadron 42."

As for bring required to use CryEngine, the agreement states that Crytek granted CIG a world-wide license "to exclusively embed CryEngine in the Game..." RSI and CIG call Crytek's interpretation of that line "tortured," saying, "Crytek contorts the word 'exclusively' to argue that the word means that CIG somehow is required to use the Engine in the Game. The plain language of the GLA where the grant of rights to CIG appears, plus the well established concept of an exclusive license, instead establish that the word 'exclusively' simply means that CIG's right to use the Engine in the Game is exclusive to CIG and Crytek may not give that right to anyone else."

CIG and RSI also raised an issue about "immaterial, impertinent, scandalous (and false) allegations" in Crytek's complaint. The engine developer's original lawsuit noted that Cloud Imperium Games co-founder Ortwin Freyermuth originally negotiated the licensing agreement with Crytek. Freyermuth was previously a Crytek employee who had represented the company in similar deals, and the lawsuit alleged that he had never resolved that conflict of interest.

However, as CIG and RSI pointed out, Crytek had provided them with a written waiver for Freyermuth's participation before the agreement was negotiated. The Crytek suit also noted that the person who negotiated the deal from the Crytek side has since gone on to join CIG, implying but not actually alleging wrong-doing. Crytek amended its lawsuit when presented with the waiver, omitting the factual error about the conflict of interest, but leaving the rest of the information about Freyermuth and the Crytek negotiator.

Finally, the motion to dismiss specified that the licensing agreement was struck between CIG and Crytek, adding that since RSI was not a party to the agreement, it should not be a defendant in this case at all.

The total CryEngine licensing fee for the project was to be €1.85 million ($2.21 million), or €2 million ($2.39 million) if they opted to release mod tools for the game.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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