UK publisher Codemasters has filed a civil complaint against Gazillion and its NetDevil studio with a San Francisco federal court over the delayed release of sci-fi MMORPG Jumpgate Evolution.
Originally scheduled to ship in early 2009, Jumpgate Evolution is the sequel to NetDevil's 2001 game Jumpgate: The Reconstruction Initiative. Codemasters signed a licensing agreement for the follow-up and paid NetDevil 1.4 million in advance for its development and art assets.
Codemasters alleges that the defendants failed to ship Jumpgate Evolution on or before February 29, 2009 as agreed. NetDevil announced in May 2009 that it was delaying the game to polish and improve the title based on feedback it had received, but it has yet to say when the MMORPG will release.
The publisher also says NetDevil was supposed to enter into an agreement with an escrow agent and deposit its source code with that agent. Codemasters alleges that NetDevil has "failed and refused to enter into the mandated escrow agreement and has failed and refused to deposit the source code into any escrow."
As a result, the UK firm filed a complaint against Gazillion and NetDevil for breach of contract, listing in its damages the $1.4 million it paid in advances and for art assets, external costs (e.g. localization, marketing, hardware game servers, data center costs), and internal costs (e.g. production, quality assurance).
According to documents posted by Courthouse News and first reported by Massively, Codemasters is seeking damages for the breach of contract, or in the alternative, a rescission of its agreement with NetDevil that will require the developer to return all of the funds it received for Jumpgate Evolution.
"The allegations in the complaint are clear and self-explanatory and address issues related to the development of Jumpgate Evolution," said a representative for Codemasters in Jumpgate Evolution's online forum. "... On the advice of Codemasters' US attorneys, Codemasters has no further comment at this time."