Crytek sues Star Citizen devs for breach of contract

UPDATE The complaint stems from a number of incidents surrounding the development of Star Citizen, the devs' online space exploration game which used CryEngine for the bulk of its development.

Crytek has filed a lawsuit against Star Citizen developers Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries, accusing the development duo of both breach of contract and copyright infringement. 

The complaint stems from a number of incidents surrounding the development of Star Citizen, the developers' in-development online space exploration game. Star Citizen hit Kickstarter in 2012, raising a record $2.1 million during that campaign. Since, the game has raised a total of $173 million through crowdfunding.

While the game was originally developed using Crytek's CryEngine, CIG and RSI swapped development over to Amazon's Lumberyard engine in December 2016, which itself was built around an earlier version of CryEngine but developed with online games in mind. 

That 2016 switch from CryEngine to Lumberyard is where the bulk of Crytek's allegations stem from since, according to the court filings, the game license agreement signed between Crytek and the Star Citizen developers required exclusive use of CryEngine for the game's development.

Among other things, that game license agreement required CIG and RSI to "prominently display Crytek's trademarks and copyrights notices" in Star Citizen and associated marketing and use Star Citizen's development to provide bug fixes and optimizations to CryEngine on an annual basis, while barring them using CryEngine in a standalone, non-Star Citizen game and from sharing CryEngine source code with third parties.

Between the jump to Lumberyard, the announcement of the now-delayed standalone game Squadron 42, and creation of the 'Bugsmashers' video series involving Star Citizen's development, Crytek alleges CIG and RSI violated all of those previously mentioned terms.

As such, Crytek is now seeking damages from the two developers, including direct damages that it estimates are in excess of $75,000 in addition to assorted indirect, consequential, and special damages as well. Additionally, Crytek is seeking an injunction against CIG and RSI that would prevent the developers from using, possessing, or infringing on Crytek's copyrights.

UPDATE: A Cloud Imperium Games rep has responded with the following statement to Gamasutra: "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."

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