Cloud Imperium responds to Crytek's Star Citizen lawsuit

Last month, Crytek filed a lawsuit against Cloud Imperium Games. The suit alleged that CIG breached the game license agreement (GLA) that allowed the company to use CryEngine in Star Citizen at a below-market rate. According to Crytek, CIG tried to undersell the CryEngine’s impact, used it in two games, Star Citizen and Squadron 42, without permission, and finally ditched it in favour of Amazon’s Lumberyard. CIG has now responded to each of the allegations. 

In a document serving as support for a motion to dismiss (posted by Liudeius on Reddit), CIG says that the suit “should never have been filed” and that it “sacrifices legal sufficiency for loud publicity”. The majority of Crytek’s allegations cite the GLA, but it doesn’t look like the agreement actually supports all of the claims -- something CIG’s lawyers have been quick to latch onto. 

CIG produced the GLA, and it doesn’t look like it quite backs up Crytek. For instance, Crytek claims that CIG used CryEngine in two games, but the GLA treats Squadron 42 as part of Star Citizen in exhibit 2 (page 24). At a glance, there isn’t anything to suggest that CIG had to use CryEngine, either. It gave the studio the rights to use it, but didn’t stop them from switching to another engine. 

As for the allegations that CIG hasn’t promoted Crytek or CryEngine enough in the game, CIG argues that—as Crytek itself points out in the suit—it’s not even using Crytek’s software, so there’s no need to display trademarks for it. 

The suit also notes that ClG co-founder and general counsel Ortwin Freyermuth previously represented Crytek, which should have made him recuse himself instead of negotiating the GLA on CIG’s behalf. However, it doesn’t look like Crytek asked him to recuse himself and even signed a waiver allowing him to negotiate on CIG’s behalf (Goldman declaration 9).

“Contrary to the false statement contained in paragraph 15 of the Initial Complaint, Mr. Freyermuth’s law firm had obtained a written conflict waiver signed by Crytek prior to negotiating the GLA on behalf of CIG.”

Some of the allegations, like Crytek’s claim that CIG did not provide any bugfixes for CryEngine or that confidential source code was shown to the likes of Faceware, were not touched on, so there might still be a case there, though many of the claims now look a bit flimsier than they did a month ago. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.