An argument has erupted between two developers that could jeopardise successful Early Access title Ark: Survival Evolved.
As detailed by Kotaku, Dungeon Defenders developer Trendy Entertainment has alleged that one of its former employees, Jeremy Stieglitz, breached his non-compete clause by secretly working for Studio Wildcard on the development of Ark.
In turn it is seeking not only damages but also an injunction against its rival.
Trendy alleges that Stieglitz attempted to poach members of its staff to launch Studio Wildcard, which again would have been in breach of the clause. Among the accusations is the claim that he took technology and trade secrets from Trendy to help in the launch of Ark, all of which had a devastating impact on Trendy's business".
His wife is also one of Wildcard's founders.
It's also worth noting that the relationship between Stieglitz and Trendy was the subject of debate before Wildcard was even formed, with Kotaku previously reporting on claims of unhappiness among Trendy workers and the subsequent removal of Stieglitz from his team. He subsequently threatened to leave and asked for the non-compete clause in his contract to be reduced.
Wildcard has countered by arguing that Stieglitz was not a key Dungeon Defenders developer and accused the claims of being "irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous" and saying that the argument "reads more like a salacious tabloid story than a short and plain statement of the ultimate facts".
The first court date is April 27th. Should Trendy's request for an injunction be granted, not only might development need to be paused but the game itself could possibly be pulled from sale.