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SimBin Studios Threatens Over Slightly Mad Statements

SimBin Studios Threatens Over Slightly Mad Statements

February 18, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

February 18, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
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Swedish developer SimBin, developer of the GTR series of realistic racing games, says it's considering legal action against the UK-based Slightly Mad Studios, developer of simulation-format Need For Speed: Shift.

"SimBin is taking legal advice and considering to also take legal actions against Slightly Mad Studios,
as a result of certain statements made by Slightly Mad Studios that we find to be incorrect, misleading
and has a negative impact on our reputation as well as business negotiations," says SimBin EVP Magnus Ling in a statement sent to Gamasutra.

Ling apparently refers to claims made in Need For Speed Shift's announcement that former SimBin designers are now closely involved in the development of Electronic Arts' new franchise title, promising it "replicates the true feeling of racing high-end performance cars like never before."

London-based Slightly Mad's says, in a statement on its official website, that its staff "formed the core development team [italics theirs] on the critically acclaimed and multiple award-winning GTR - FIA GT Racing game, its successor GTR2, and the classic sports car racing game, GT Legends."

Similarly, the official EA press release says that Slightly Mad "...includes developers and designers that worked on the critically acclaimed games GT Legends and GTR 2."

All of these titles were developed or co-developed by SimBin, according to official credits, although it's clear that staff at Slightly Mad Studios (called Blimey! Games in a previous incarnation) were involved in these games' creation in some way.

As Need For Speed Shift is billed as the same sort of simulation-level racing title that SimBin exclusively covered, it's possible that the studio sees a conflict. However, it's unclear exactly in what way Slightly Mad Studios is making legally actionable claims.

"These potential [legal] actions are a result of Slightly Mad Studios and EAs announcement of a cooperation where SimBin games are referred to by Slightly Mad Studios in a misleading way," adds Ling.

Gamasutra has reached out to Slightly Mad Studios for comment on the allegations, and will update with any we receive.

[UPDATE: Gamasutra has received a statement from Slightly Mad Studios head Ian Bell on the allegations, as follows:

"Mr. Ling's suggestions are utterly absurd.

More than 25 of Slightly Mad Studios' current staff worked on and are actually credited in GT Legends and GTR2 including the majority of the core development team.

They worked on these titles whilst at Blimey! Games Limited - who was involved in the development of GT Legends and actually developed GTR2 itself.

As you may know Blimey is now in administration but we recently purchased certain of its business and assets and took on all the jobs of its excellent team. That team deserves the credit for its work.

It saddens me when fellow developers make inappropriate statements like this in public, but I think the fact that the first I heard of it was from a gaming journalist says everything you need to know about the credibility of the claims. Had there been any merit to them I am sure I would have heard sooner.

Best,

Ian Bell
Head of Studio
Slightly Mad Studios."]


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