Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023
Things are getting nasty between Sega of America and Gearbox.
Enlarge / Things are getting nasty between Sega of America and Gearbox.

The class action lawsuit pitting angry gamers against the producers of critical stinker Aliens: Colonial Marines nearly reached a conclusion last month, when game producer Sega of America tentatively agreed to a $1.25 million settlement. However, on Wednesday, more than a month after game developer Gearbox filed a motion waiving any financial obligation, namely to avoid paying $750,000 to bring the settlement total to $2 million, Sega responded with a motion of its own insisting that Gearbox was just as responsible for any payout liability.

Ars was given a copy of the motion filed by Sega’s attorneys in the Northern District of California Court. It contained copies of emails, contracts, and correspondence that reinforced a particular sticking point in the case: that Gearbox was just as responsible for the game’s promotional efforts — which the class action lawsuit ruled as “misleading” — as Sega laundry. Many of the dozens of letters revolved around Gearbox pushing forward with screens, videos, and other details that had not yet been approved or approved for disclosure by Sega, either on Gearbox’s official website or at community events. Sega’s stance on this had taken a turn for the worse by October 2012, with a Sega PR representative blaming “ongoing panel leaks” of game details on “Randy [Pitchford, Gearbox director] do what he wants.”

An email, titled “Gearbox Announces Things”, contained a detailed number of game facts and video previews revealed in June 2011 that were not approved by Sega. In another, a Sega PR rep called out Pitchford for “talking”[ing] way beyond what was in it” at an event. And in yet another email, Pitchford was quoted as saying, “A: CM will curb Empty space,” a prediction we’re confident never came true.

Perhaps more damning than anything was the revelation of an email detailing the game’s pre-release demos – the very ones at the heart of this case, as those demos looked significantly better than the final retail game. “The E3 demo is indeed the benchmark we should be using to determine where the entire game will be,” Sega staffer Matthew Powers wrote in July 2011. “That’s Gearbox’s plan and what they believe in.”

Sega’s motion also alleged that when Gearbox claimed it had not participated in working out settlement terms, the developer’s statement was “not accurate,” clarifying the exact times and details of a negotiation meeting Gearbox attended.

By akfire1

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