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Activision, Double Fine Settle Over  Brutal Legend  Dispute
Activision, Double Fine Settle Over Brutal Legend Dispute
August 6, 2009 | By Kris Graft

August 6, 2009 | By Kris Graft
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The saga of Brutal Legend's release appears to be over, as the title's previous owner Activision and the game's developer Double Fine reached a settlement that paves the way for Electronic Arts to publish the game, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

In June, Activision filed suit against Double Fine -- the independent developer also behind the cult classic Psychonauts -- demanding that a court place an injunction against the release of the game. In July, Double Fine delayed his ruling, tentatively siding with Double Fine.

The drama surrounding Brutal Legend is rooted in the $18 billion merger between Activision and Vivendi Games. Just prior to the merger announcement, Vivendi subsidiary Sierra said it would publish Brutal Legend. But when Activision reviewed Vivendi's game portfolio, it showed no interest in Double Fine's game, and opted not to publish it.

Later, Activision rival Electronic Arts picked up the publishing and distribution rights to the game under its EA Partners label. With the suit settled, EA can release the game during calendar Q4 as planned. EA CEO John Riccitiello has expressed high hopes for the game this holiday.

One of the prominent selling points of Brutal Legend is the voicework of funny man Jack Black.

The AP said a judge was to hear Activision's argument for an injunction this morning, but the hearing has since been canceled.


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Comments


Tomer Chasid
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woweee, no one saw this coming... not!

Maurício Gomes
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Awesome! This totally aweomse game will not be cancelled!

Lo Pan
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Some type of money must have changed hands (EA to ATVI). I am willing to bet at least a couple million.

Bob Stevens
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I'm glad Brutal Legend is getting released but this feels like an anticlimax. I'd really like to know the details of the settlement, just because this is like watching a dramatic movie with no resolution.

Cordero W
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I would have been pissed if this game got its release stopped.

Kale Menges
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Phew.....I can sleep at night now......kinda.......This is one of the few games this year that I am absolutely stoked about playing. Can hardly wait.

Thomas Loefgren
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I loved Tim Schaeffer's original response to the lawsuit:



"Hey, if Activision liked it, then they should have put a ring on it," Schafer said. "Oh great, now Beyoncé is going to sue me too."



(from kotaku)

Peter Dwyer
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We all pretty much knew this would happen given that the judge only delayed his ruling to give Activision time to come to their senses. He more or less said that he's going to rule for Double Fine given that the arguments against their release were pretty stupid.



The only good thing to come from this is that Activision are assasinating their own reputation with seemingly gay abandon!

Aaron Casillas
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Wasn't there a counter suit?

Bob Stevens
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"We all pretty much knew this would happen given that the judge only delayed his ruling to give Activision time to come to their senses. He more or less said that he's going to rule for Double Fine given that the arguments against their release were pretty stupid."



Unfortunately neither of those sentences are factual. He delayed his ruling due to his case load as was clearly stated in the AP article, and he thought Activision's arguments were good enough to potentially win the case, but was leaning towards the view that they weren't good enough to grant a preliminary injunction which requires demonstrable harm to the party if not granted and a likelihood of success in the impending litigation. Or put another way, he found Activision and Double Fine's arguments to both be of nearly equal merit, as evidenced by the judge's quote "This is going to be a close one."



The second part required a few minutes of research to figure out. Unfortunately very few gaming journalism sites actually did this research.



The part that intrigues me is the settlement. Did the hearing the other day make Activision more willing to settle or make EA more willing to settle? Or were they on a cruise course to settling regardless? We'll never know who "won" or "lost" this, unfortunately.


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