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Crytek sues Star Citizen developer over copyright issues

CryTek has been encountering major income and reputation issues in the course of recent months/years. They are coming up short on cash and their current games haven’t been reviewed all that well. Developers weren’t paid for months and Crytek declared bankruptcy last year only to be saved by Amazon. Now Xrytek is suing Star Citizen‘s developer over copyright issues. A spokesperson of CIG had the following to say.

“We are aware of the Crytek complaint having been filed in the US District Court. CIG hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard. This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”

CiG stopped using Crytek updated years ago because of the lack of response or the number of issues that we’re reported got too big. CIG was making considerable updates to the engine. One major example is moving from 32bit to 64bit, also examples like the illustration- and rendering tech are considered to be big improvements.

Here’s a comment from 2013 that shows CIG bought out the engine years ago:

We did an outright buyout of the engine last year and have the source code, so while we hope all the noise about Crytek blows over, as they are great partners and friends to the project, if the worse happened we would be ok, as we’ve already branched the engine and have a large team that is adding features and supporting it every day here at CIG. So even in the worst case scenario we should be fine, but obviously we hope it does not come to that.

Star Citizen and SQ42 have not ever been really delivered or been finished, and CIG moving over to Lumberyard, they may regard that their work with CryTek is done other than a couple of commitments. In the meantime Amazon gets a huge amount of significant updates and moves up to the engine which CryTek won’t have. This presumably added salt to the injuries.

The Irony in all of this

Ex-Crytek Crytek legal counselor Ortwin Freyermuth managed CIG to get Cryengine to work on the game.  CIG then buy a Crytek permit to do what they need to develop Star Citzen. Crytek is not doing well and stopped paying their employees and some of them switch jobs at Cloud Imperium games. Now comes Amazon to save Crytek and buys them out to use their tech for Amazon Lumberyard. It gets even funnier because CIG switched over to Lumberyard which has Cryengine support. Crytek doesn’t like this move and complains about the switch. It seems like all involved have prior connections to Crytek.

Now there are some legit concerns like CIG stopped giving bugfixes to Crytek and removed their logo from the Alpha game. Last year CIG split the game in two where the contract states the engine could only be used for one game. It’ll be interesting to see what will come of this.
It might be possible that creditors are pushing Crytek to liquidate assets and save what they can. Before Crytek finally goes under they want every penny they can possibly get. This isn’t something that never happened before and if they can sue, they will.

Star Citizen 2.6 loading screen

A rough ride

Once this game is finally released its development cycle the story is going to be one for in the books. The game is funded by gamers, yet mainstream media, legitimate developers, and illegitimate developers try to take it down. Could this be a case of tall poppy syndrome?


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