Gearbox Software is fighting against a lawsuit with SEGA, which claimed Gearbox funneled money for Aliens: Colonial Marines into other projects. Documents obtained by Polygon detail the ongoing drama's next steps.Last year, plaintiff Damion Perrine filed a class action lawsuit against Gearbox and SEGA, saying that the pair "falsely advertised Aliens by showing demos at trade shows like PAX and E3 which didn't end up being accurate representations of the final product." According to the lawsuit, Gearbox and SEGA "never told anyone—consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters—that their 'actual gameplay' demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers." At the time, Gearbox told us that the lawsuit was "beyond meritless" and "frivolous."
Yesterday, Gearbox acted on those arguments for the first time when it filed a motion requesting to be dropped from the lawsuit. "For more than a year, Gearbox has quietly abided the plaintiffs' claims so that SEGA, the game's publisher and the party responsible for the game's marketing and sale, could assume the defense of this lawsuit," Gearbox stated. "Gearbox has honored its publisher's request in spite of plaintiffs' highly-publicized-and highly-misplaced-claims against Gearbox. At this point, however, Gearbox is obligated to pursue its rightful departure from this case."
Gearbox mainly argues that, as the software developer, it shouldn't be part of the lawsuit because it had no control over the advertising. "Gearbox is a video game software developer. It was neither the publisher nor seller of the video game at issue." In a document supporting Gearbox's claims, Gearbox VP of Marketing Steve Gibson asserts that SEGA retained "absolute discretion over the game's marketing, advertising, and sale."
Gibson not only denies the claims that Gearbox used funds for Aliens: Colonial Marines in other projects, he suggests that it actually sunk millions of its own funds into the game without any repayment. "Gearbox never received money from SEGA's A:CM purchases, nor has Gearbox received a single royalty," said Gibson. Because of lackluster sales, Gearbox never received any bonuses and only received pre-set payments during the game development.
In a separate motion, Gearbox argued that, even if the case continues, it shouldn't continue as a class action because of the potential plaintiffs who would unwittingly be swept into the class, including those who purchased and enjoyed the game. "Plaintiffs' net was cast too wide," argued Gearbox.