Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III, creators of classic sci-fi title Star Control, have claimed in a statement that they are in "legal conflict" with development and publishing outfit Stardock, who they accuse of publishing their earlier games without permission.
Stardock picked up the rights to Star Control from Atari during a bankruptcy auction back in 2013. However, Ford and Reiche allege that Atari's rights to publish the earlier games terminated "over a decade" before the auction occurred.
"Atari’s rights to publish our earlier games terminated over a decade before the auction and we contend that Stardock has zero rights to our games, including any code and other IP we created." reveals the statement.
Stardock's president and CEO Brad Wardell responded to the duo's statement saying: "for the entirety of the time we have held the rights, they have been getting paid for those sales. If they had an objection to the games being sold this is something that could and should have been addressed before we were ever involved."
Wardell's post doesn't claim refute the claim, but he does claim that "many assets were transferred to us including the various publishing agreements to the Star Control franchise. The short version is that the classic IP is messy."
The conundrum only really reared its head when the duo came to make a successor to open-source Star Control II port The Ur Quan Masters, only to be told, allegedly, by Stardock that they would need their permission to proceed. Wardell denies this in his forum post, claiming that Stardock were "nothing but supportive" of the project and wishes them the best.
It's not clear how this legal conundrum will unravel, but storefront GOG.com has announced that it will remove Star Control 1-3 from its storefront today, Tuesday December 5