Crytek Sues Star Citizen Developer Over Copyright Infringement

As first reported by PC Gamer, the suit alleges that Crytek originally licensed its engine for use in the game at a below market rate in exchange for prominent display of its trademarks in Star Citizen itself which was obviously off the cards when the development switched engines in December 2016. "During the negotiation of the terms of the GLA, Crytek made it clear that the game license would not cover anything more".

For their part, Cloud Imperium Games has denied these claims, saying in a statement to Gamasutra that the lawsuit is "meritless" and that "we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter".

Crytek claims that the licensing agreement was "extensively negotiated", on behalf of CIG by co-founders, Ortwin Freyermuth.

Cloud Imperium Games has called Crytek's case "meritless" in a statement to Polygon, as the company "hasn't used the CryEngine for quite some time" since switching. Star Citizen is still in development. Shortly after this, the Crytek trademarks were removed from the game. Crytek then chased this again in November 2017 and received nothing from CIG according to the filing documents.

Star Citizen's lengthy and heavily crowd-funded development has been marked by numerous changes to the project's direction and scope, including a move from Crytek's CryEngine to Amazon's Lumberyard in late 2016.

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The claim also goes on to include Crytek being awarded actual damages and disgorgement of CIG's profits with interest and legal fees.

CIG's response to the complaint is understandably short and to the point. In that Agreement, Defendants promised, among other things, (i) to use the CryEngine game development platform exclusively and to promote that platform within the video game, (ii) to collaborate with Crytek on CryEngine development, and (iii) to take a number of steps to ensure that Crytek's intellectual property was protected.

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Crytek claim that CIG and RSI are in breach of these promises thanks to its "Bugsmashers" series - a run of videos where CIG developers talk about how they fixed bugs in Star Citizen - because "the videos contain excerpts of information from CryEngine that were confidential". The agreement with Crytek was to only cover one game and therefore CIG would now be breaching the initial agreement. "This was entirely in breach of the GLA".

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