Two developers have engaged in a heated legal battle over the creation of hit PC survival game Ark: Survival Evolved.
As discussed in detail over on Kotaku, Trendy Entertainment, which created tower defence title Dungeon Defenders, has filed a lawsuit stating that its former creative director Jeremy Stieglitz has been helping develop Ark at dev Studio Wildcard – thus breaching his non-compete contract. It’s worth noting that Stieglitz’ wife, Susan, is a co-founder of Wildcard.
Trendy has also levelled claims that Stieglitz broke further contractual obligations, including an agreement not to “solicit Trendy employees”.
Wildcard argued for the case to be dismissed, calling the allegations “irrelevant, immaterial and scandalous”. Co-founder Jesse Rapczak added that Stieglitz had only served as a ‘consultant’ for the game.
If the case against Wildcard goes ahead, Trendy has said that is seeking “injunctive relief and damages” as compensation for the “devastating impact” the Ark studio’s “tortious interference” with Stieglitz’ contractual agreements has had.
Stieglitz previously clashed with his former employer over working conditions in 2013, with the game designer ultimately asking to leave the company if other employees, specifically named by Stieglitz, couldn't be fired.
As part of his exit, Stieglitz asked Trendy to reduce his non-compete from three years to one, in return for a 20 per cent interest on his work to Trendy investor Insight. That clause would have ended in the middle of last year – several months after Trendy believes Stieglitz started working on Ark.