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SEGA Responds to Aliens Colonial Marines Lawsuit

September 3, 2014 Written by Jason Dunning

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Through the whole Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit saga, we’ve heard Gearbox’s response and learned of the potential $1.25 million settlement, and now, SEGA has responded to the lawsuit in a September 2 filing obtained by Polygon.

Whereas Gearbox said they “never belonged in this lawsuit” because SEGA had final say on the game and how it was marketed, SEGA’s attorney responded to that by saying Gearbox participated equally in terms of marketing, and in some cases, Gearbox overstepped its bounds or kept SEGA in the dark about certain decisions.

The motion continues by revealing how SEGA was contractually obligated to consult Gearbox on all marketing activities, adding, “The parties had to mutually agree to the ‘precise particulars of marketing assets’ delivered by Gearbox. Gearbox’s participation — Randy Pitchford’s, in particular — was a key element in the [Aliens: Colonial Marines] marketing strategy from the beginning.” The reason Pitchford was highlighted as being a big factor in the marketing is because he’s a “respected development celebrity” and the worldwide press would have used him as headline material.

Elsewhere, SEGA addresses the infamous E3 2011 demo, saying that it was created completely by Gearbox. In an internal email by SEGA of America Senior Producer Matt Powers, he says, “During one of my conversations with Gearbox today I verified that the E3 Demo is indeed the bar that we should use to determine where the entire game will be.”

With SEGA listing eight other times where Gearbox made Colonial Marines announcements without their approval, the filing reveals an email from Matt Eyre of the PR team, after he spoke with Gearbox’s Steve Gibson about the leaks in October 2012:

I spoke face to face to Gibson about their persistent panel leaking.

Effectively — it’s Randy [Pitchford] doing whatever the fuck he likes. Apparently he did it twice on [Borderlands 2] also, against, against all plans and despite the fact they asked him not to. I think our best result here is that we have no more panel sessions…

Finally, regarding Gearbox’s claim of never recouping any of the money they contributed to development, SEGA says they gave Gearbox millions in advance royalties in the form of milestone payments, and when SEGA recoups those royalties, Gearbox will receive a percentage from each sale of Colonial Marines.

With the next hearing scheduled for October 29, expect more information on this lawsuit shortly after that date.

[Source: Polygon, Game Informer, United States District Court]