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Gearbox Responds to Aliens: Colonial Marines Lawsuit

July 31, 2014 Written by Jason Dunning

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You may recall a class-action lawsuit that was laid against Gearbox Software (filed back in April 2013) that claimed they, as well as publisher Sega, falsely advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines by showing a much better looking game at trade shows than what the final product actually was.

This week, attorneys for Gearbox have filed motions with the Northern District of California court to have four claims against the developer dropped in the lawsuit, while another requests to have the entire suit lose its class-action status, arguing that it doesn’t meet the requirements.

In the claim, the attorneys argue that Gearbox shouldn’t be included in the suit because they were simply the developer, while Sega was the publisher and had final say on the game and how it was marketed:

Gearbox never belonged in this lawsuit. Gearbox is a video game software developer.  It was neither the publisher nor seller of the video game at issue. For more than a year, Gearbox has quietly abided the plaintiffs’ claims so that Sega, the game’s publisher and the party responsible for the game’s marketing and sale, could assume the defense of this lawsuit. Gearbox has honored its publisher’s request in spite of plaintiffs’ highly-publicized-and highly-misplaced-claims against Gearbox. At this point, however, Gearbox is obligated to pursue its rightful departure from this case.

Gearbox Vice President of Marketing Steve Gibson gave the developer’s side of the Aliens: Colonial Marines story in a deposition, revealing that Gearbox paid millions towards the game:

During the development process, Gearbox supplemented Sega’s development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game; Gearbox’s contributions to A:CM totaled millions, none of which was ever repaid.

Gibson then confirmed that Aliens used the Unreal engine throughout development:

To develop the software, Gearbox utilized the Unreal ‘game engine’ licensed from Epic Games; this was the only game engine Gearbox used in the design and development of the game. Contrary to what some believe, the pre-release demonstrations were not made using different game engines.

Finally, Gibson said, “The game’s sales were insufficient to trigger any sales-based payments to Gearbox and, as a result, Gearbox has not received any additional monies from Sega for the sale of the game. Gearbox only received the milestone payments made by Sega during the game’s development.”

If any more relevant information comes to light regarding this lawsuit, we’ll let you know.

[Source: US District Court, Northern District of California (1), (2), (3), (4) via Polygon, Game Informer]