Back in late 2017, we told you about Crytek’s lawsuit against Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games over an “exclusive” license to use CryEngine in its titles. Now, over two years (and one failed settlement attempt) later, the two companies are fighting over how exactly that lawsuit should be dismissed.
The actual allegations and counter-allegations between Crytek and Cloud Imperium get pretty labyrinthine pretty quickly. But a core part of Crytek’s argument is that its original agreement with Cloud Imperium only covered the use of CryEngine in Star Citizen and not the single-player Squadron 42 spin-off (Cloud Imperium disputes this characterization of the original license).
Technically, though, any supposed breach of Crytek’s license won’t actually take place until and unless Squadron 42 is actually released. And with that game’s “staggered development” beta test recently pushed back to the third quarter of 2020, Crytek this month filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its own lawsuit “without prejudice to re-filing those claims upon the actual release of Squadron 42.” In essence, this “dismissal” would just delay the trial from its currently planned June start date to October 13 (if Squadron 42 has indeed come out by then).
Cloud Imperium also wants the lawsuit dismissed, but permanently and with Crytek shelling out at least some of the $900,000 Cloud Imperium says it has already paid in court costs.
In a blistering court document filed late last week, Cloud Imperium used some vivid language to describe Crytek’s alleged recklessness in this matter:
Crytek should not be allowed to aim its car at CIG’s storefront window, stomp the accelerator, smash through, do doughnuts for years, then back out and drive away to maybe circle around and crash CIG again another day. Crytek richly deserves having its keys taken away for all time, so that CIG can conduct responsible business without further interference from Crytek or its series of lawyers.
The only reason Crytek is seeking a dismissal without prejudice now, Cloud Imperium argues, is to “hobble towards the exit” and avoid the “inevitable reckoning” of “a near-certain adverse ruling.”
Cloud Imperium also continues to argue that the lawsuit is no longer relevant given the company’s move to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine in 2016. The company notes that Amazon has confirmed its deal includes access to prior versions of CryEngine. Crytek, meanwhile, argues that, despite public statements, Cloud Imperium actually hasn’t switched engines at all and still needs to provide fair credit to Crytek’s engine in its games.
With both parties seeking a dismissal of the case (and a pending summary judgement deadline still approaching in March), we may finally get a resolution to this long legal saga before much longer. Whether we’ll get Squadron 42 or a fuller release of Star Citizen any time soon still remains to be seen.