You may remember the class action lawsuit against Gearbox and Sega that was filed in April 2013 by Roger Damion Perrine and John Locke stating both companies falsely advertised Aliens Colonial Marines at various tradeshows. When the game was released in February 2013, critical reception was extremely negative and the graphics were extremely poor compared to how it looked at tradeshows. There were all sorts of rumours flying about that Gearbox outsourced the game to Timegate Studios, who subsequently filed for bankruptcy in May 2013, and that Gearbox spent the money they received from Sega on developing Borderlands 2.
This week, Gearbox have finally given their side of the story in a motion filed this week to drop the class action lawsuit against them. They state that Sega contracted Gearbox in 2006 to make a game based on Aliens and Sega had approval on “all of the game’s subject matter, content, gameplay mechanics and technical specifications”. With regards to the budget, they have indicated that they actually spent millions of their own money supplementing Sega’s budget and Sega never repaid any of that money back to them. Gearbox stated that the same Unreal game engine was used in demonstrations and the final game. Gearbox goes onto state they never received any bonuses from Sega post-release because Aliens Colonial Marines didn’t sell enough copies.
The motion comes after an agreement was reached between Sega and the plaintiffs at the end of June to settle the lawsuit but Roger Damion Perrine had disappeared. It was revealed that he was in jail in Pennsylvania awaiting trial for three charges including simple assault and terroristic threats. There was a separate filing from Gearbox to have him removed from the class action lawsuit leaving only John Locke.
So what does all this mean? Well, the lawsuit isn’t quite over yet. Basically Gearbox have shifted the blame onto Sega with regards to the lawsuit as they were the publisher and marketer of Aliens Colonial Marines. Gearbox was just the developer. They do paint a very different picture of what they did with game’s budget but they still didn’t explain why they outsourced most of the game to Timegate Studios. We’ve still yet to hear Sega’s version of events though. While the lawsuit is kinda pointless, I do applaud the two guys for standing up for themselves and not letting big companies get away with murder. It always sort of surprised me how Sega haven’t filed their own lawsuit against Gearbox but I guess there is still a lot more to this story left to tell…