The lights are on
In April last year, disgruntled consumers filed a lawsuit against Sega and Gearbox over the critically panned Alien: Colonial Marines. The suit alleges that the title was falsely advertised via demos at trade shows, including PAX and E3.
In a statement that was filed along with a request for summary judgment, Gearbox says that sales of the game were not enough to trigger any additional payments. The company received its contracted disbursements at each development milestone.
Specific amounts and the finer points of the agreement between Sega and Gearbox have been redacted from the public record. However, Gearbox says that it spent millions of its own money to finish the game, none of which has been reimbursed or compensated through royalties.
On July 30, Gearbox filed a motion to strike plaintiffs Damion Perrine and John Locke’s class allegations, essentially short-circuiting the case before a judge determines if class action is warranted. The motion suggests that the class would be too broad, as many of those that purchase the title never saw the demonstrations in question. This means that some included individuals wouldn’t have been harmed under the parameters of the plaintiffs’ accusations.
Further, Gearbox says that the class is too varied. The suit claims that people purchased the game for a variety of different reasons, making any specific, pinpoint reasons for dissatisfaction different for each member of the class. The suit would also lump in people who were pleased with the game, too.
In an odd twist, the case is down one of the two plaintiffs. The attorneys handling the case have filed documents indicating that Damion Perrine became unresponsive to his attorney’s attempts at communication.
It turns out that Perrine is currently incarcerated in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. His attorney has requested that Perrine be removed as a class representative for this matter and that his individual complaints be dismissed.
The court has not yet ruled on summary judgment or Perrine’s dismissal request. We've reached out to Sega for comment regarding Gearbox's claims of investment in the title and will update should we receive a response.
[Source: US District Court, Northern District of California (1), (2), (3), (4) via Polygon]
Our TakeIt seems likely that this case is headed for summary judgment in favor of Gearbox. I can’t imagine giving the diversity and breadth of the class that this will proceed any farther than it already has.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.