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Double Fine Countersuit: 'Activision Will Not Kill Brutal Legend'

Double Fine counters Activision's Brutal Legend lawsuit with allegations that the publisher is trying to kill its game, in a competitive conspiracy to protect Guitar Hero sales.

Leigh Alexander, Contributor

July 22, 2009

1 Min Read

The legal contention over Double Fine's Brutal Legend continues, as today the developer answers Activision's lawsuit with a counter-suit of its own. According to the Associated Press, Double Fine alleges Activision's lawsuit, filed in June, is part of a conspiracy to block the game's release for competitive reasons. Specifically, the developer says Activision tried to kill the game in order to protect sales of Guitar Hero. Activision's earlier suit maintains it still has a valid contract to release the high-profile title, and claims it invested $15 million in the game -- $7 million of which is due, it says, to Double Fine's failure to meet milestones. The Tim Schafer-led San Francisco developer's response includes the allegation that these delays were due to changes Vivendi itself requested prior to the publisher's merger with Activision, like securing vocal talent such as Jack Black and expanding the single-player mode. Activision also says it still owns the rights to Brutal Legend, despite the fact that primary rival Electronic Arts now plans to publish the independently-developed title this October. Brutal Legend was among several titles discarded in the merger between Activision and Vivendi Games. After several months of uncertainty, Electronic Arts emerged as the game's new publisher. In February of this year, reports emerged suggesting that Activision was considering seeking some form of compensation related to Double Fine's relationship with EA. "Now that we've found a publisher and the game is getting sensational coverage, they want to stop its release," Double Fine COO Caroline Esmurdoc wrote in an official statement. She added: "Double Fine's countersuit is a demonstration of our intention to fight for this game — Activision will not kill Brutal Legend.'"

About the Author(s)

Leigh Alexander


Leigh Alexander is Editor At Large for Gamasutra and the site's former News Director. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Slate, Paste, Kill Screen, GamePro and numerous other publications. She also blogs regularly about gaming and internet culture at her Sexy Videogameland site. [NOTE: Edited 10/02/2014, this feature-linked bio was outdated.]

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