Up till this month, it was simple to get enthusiastic about the way forward for Star Control. After 20 years of false begins, we have been getting not one however two successors to the traditional house romp. The authentic designers, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche, have been engaged on a direct sequel to Star Control 2, Ghosts of the Precursors, whereas Stardock was engaged on a prequel, Star Control: Origins, set in a unique universe. Now the 2 video games are lamentably a part of an more and more public dispute between Ford, Reiche and Stardock CEO Brad Wardell. It’s getting ugly.
It all kicked off — not less than in public — on December 1 with a blog post from Ford and Reiche. “Unfortunately there appears to be a growing legal conflict between us and Stardock,” it started. The points largely encompass the sale of the unique Star Control video games. In 2013, Atari offered the title, trademark and sure parts from the Star Control collection at public sale, which Stardock bought. The pair contend that Stardock has no rights to the primary three video games, nor ought to it be capable of promote them.
Stardock at present sells all three of them on Steam.
One of the issues that stands proud is that this line: “It’s our opinion that Atari’s rights to publish our earlier games terminated over a decade before the auction.” On the floor, it seems like Atari agreed, not less than at one level. In 2011, Atari began promoting the collection by way of GOG with out permission, prompting Ford and Reiche to get in contact. According to them, Atari conferred with its legal professionals, confirmed mistake had been made and apologised. This led to GOG making a take care of the unique creators for the sport license and Atari for the trademark so they may proceed to characteristic within the retailer.
The implication from that is that Atari knew that it didn’t have permission to promote the video games, and Stardock couldn’t have bought these rights after they purchased the trademark in 2013.
The subsequent day, Stardock’s Brad Wardell hit back with a weblog put up of his personal.
First, as many individuals know, the traditional Star Control video games have been obtainable on the market lengthy earlier than Stardock acquired the rights from Atari 4 years in the past. For everything of the time now we have held the rights, they’ve been getting paid for these gross sales. If they’d an objection to the video games being offered that is one thing that would and may have been addressed earlier than we have been ever concerned.
Wardell additionally famous that, when Stardock acquired Star Control from Atari, additionally they received publishing agreements to the franchise. “The short version is that the classic IP is messy,” he added. Wardell additionally responded to Ford and Reiche’s declare that Stardock was utilizing their “aliens, ships and narrative” with out permission, as Star Control: Origins is ready in a unique universe earlier than the primary recreation.
The dispute carried on yesterday, when Ford and Reiche printed a second blog post relating to the sudden determination to take away the unique video games from GOG. It was on this put up the place they relayed the story of how the Star Control video games ended up on GOG and their take care of Atari. The pair appear to now need Star Control to be expunged from all shops.
In October of this yr, historical past repeated itself when Stardock started promoting our video games on Steam and elsewhere (even bundled with theirs), once more with out getting our permission. This time we couldn’t come to an settlement, so we requested that Stardock cease bundling and promoting the video games. They refused, so we’ve determined to finish our 2011 distribution settlement with GOG as a primary step to having the video games pulled down.
Bradwell then updated his authentic put up with one other response and a problem.
Paul and Fred proceed to make unsubstantiated claims relating to the DOS-based Star Control video games. If they’ve any documentation to supply proof to their assertions, now we have but to see them.
He went on to allege that Stardock has “perpetual, exclusive, worldwide licensing and sales agreement” that got here from Atari, and earlier than that Accolade, and consists of the signature of Paul Reiche. He additionally criticised their tone in earlier correspondence from after they first introduced Ghosts of the Precursors, claiming that they have been obscure and filled with calls for.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like something goes to be settled amicably.
“With all due respect to Paul and Fred, they really should talk to competent legal counsel instead of making blog posts,” Wardell wrote in his weblog put up.