Pernell Harris, owner of independent game company Virtual Jam, has sued Electronic Arts over features in the software giant's Madden NFL 06, according to a Reuters report. Harris claims that EA is in breach of an "implied in fact contract" and a confidentiality agreement by using certain of his ideas in the game without compensation. Harris is seeking unspecified damages in the suit, as well as attorney's fees and restitution.
The specific feature in the game that Harris has laid claim to is the NFL Superstar mode, which allows players to take control of an NFL player of their creation both on and off the field. Harris says that the mode is derived from a game he pitched to EA in late 2003 called Heart of a Champion, which also has players controlling the day-to-day life of a football player, though Harris' pitch began in high school ball.
"We have read the complaint and the allegations are completely without merit," an EA spokeswoman commented to Reuters. Information regarding Harris, his company Virtual Jam, or Heart of a Champion is relatively scarce, with no official website for any of these products, but many software firms will not entertain unsolicited game ideas, particularly relating to existing licenses, to avoid situations such as this.