Sega offers $1.25 million to settle Aliens: Colonial Marines lawsuit, but Gearbox fights on

Andy Chalk at

The Aliens: Colonial Marines legal saga may be stumbling toward at least a partial conclusion, as Sega has tentatively agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the lawsuit against it. The publisher hasn't admitted to actually doing anything wrong, of course, but the expense of litigation and the uncertainty of the outcome has left both sides anxious to grab what they can and split without a fuss.

The terms of the agreement, dug up by Polygon, state that Sega will pay $1.25 million for a "full release of all claims related to Aliens: Colonial Marines." Of that money, $312,500 will cover the plaintiff's attorneys' fees, a maximum of $200,000 will go to KCC Class Action Services for administration fees, the actual plaintiff in the case will get $2500 and eligible members of the class—that is, people who bought the game on or before February 12, 2013 and fill out a three-question claim form—will divide up the rest, with payments to individuals not to exceed the purchase price of the game.

If approved, the settlement will extricate Sega from the lawsuit, but not Gearbox. The filing states that following a failed mediation session in January, the parties involved "later reached the principal terms of a compromise settlement agreement that would have resolved all claims against Sega and Gearbox in exchanged for the creation of a $2 million settlement fund with a partial reverter of $750,000." That agreement ran into trouble, however, when the court "expressed certain concerns with some of the terms," specifically regarding the "reversionary aspect" of the settlement, which would have allowed part of the money to go back to Sega or Gearbox if certain conditions were (or were not) met.

Following that, the plaintiff was able to negotiate the current settlement with Sega, which explicitly states that "no amount of the fund will revert" to it, but not with Gearbox. Thus, "litigation will continue as to that defendant with the prospect of further recovery." If any money is left over from the Sega settlement, it will be donated to the National Consumer Law Center and Consumers Union.

The lawsuit was filed in 2013 not because Aliens: Colonial Marines was so bad, but because the actual game did not live up to what was promised in pre-release promotional trailers. Unlike Sega, Gearbox appears more inclined to fight the suit rather than settle it: In July, it filed a motion seeking to be removed from the action, stating that it neither published nor sold the game and thus "never belonged in this lawsuit" in the first place.