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Webzen sues Red 5 Studios over FireFall dispute

Korean publisher responds to arbitration attempt, claims breach of contract

Korean publisher Webzen is suing Red 5 Studios for breaching its contract regarding the online shooter Firefall, Gamasutra reports.

Last month, Red 5 filed for arbitration in California, where the company is located, claiming that Webzen's new management team had failed to market the game as agreed in its original contract.

"We do not feel the new management of Webzen has honored their obligations towards Firefall, particularly in Asia," wrote CEO Mark Kern in an open letter published on Firefall's forum. "The current management of Webzen is a stark contrast to the original CEO and executives who were once so excited to work with us on the game."

"We regret that Webzen's actions, or lack of actions, are causing undue stress among Firefall fans in Asia and elsewhere. By seeking a termination of the agreement, we hope we can find a better way to ensure that Firefall reaches everybody in Asia in the manner that gamers deserve."

Webzen is now suing Red 5's Korean office, citing numerous delays and breaches of its publishing contract over the game's 5-year development, despite an investment of nearly $25 million.

Webzen's points of dispute include an offline test organised without the company's permission, and an unauthorised press release revealing author Orson Scott Card's involvement with Firefall's script.

"We have been preparing to reveal [the details] at G-star 2011, but we heard Red 5 Korea is trying to attend G-star 2011 independently with FireFall," a Webzen representative told the Korean site ThisIsGame. "So we decided to take a legal action."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.