Hey... um... could you not sue me? Please?

Hey... um... could you not sue me? Please?

So, it’s come to this. Brütal Legend, the heavy metal brainchild of Tim Schafer (the mind behind one of the Xbox’s true gems, Psychonauts), is coming under fire by Activision, the game’s original publisher.

It’s been a long and uncertain road for Brütal Legend. In fact the original idea for the game popped into Schafer’s head over 15 years ago while attempting to come up with a game that was a polar opposite to the The Secret of Monkey Island. Upon viewing the movie School of Rock, released in 2003, Schafer was immediately reminded of Brütal Legend. The pieces started falling together and Vivendi was ready to publish the game.

In 2008 when Activision merged with Vivendi and Blizzard to become Activision Blizzard, the game was still in development and still had a 100% backing from the newly synergized company. Not too long after the merger however, Activision Blizzard decided to re-evaluate things, and in the end Brutal Legend was left in the dust. EA picked it up after a bit and things appeared to be back on track.

That was until Activision started to realize what they’d lost and wanted a slice of the legendary pie. It’s hard to believe that Brütal Legend was much different in 2008 than it is now, just one year later, but evidently it wasn’t as impressive as it is now. Or perhaps the fact that Brütal Legend is getting overwhelmingly positive press in the past few months has something to do with it. Nah, I’m sure that can’t be it.

Activision is now suing to stop the release of Brütal Legend with the claim

How could Activision not have known they had gaming gold? How!?!

How could Activision not have known they had gaming gold? How!?!

that it still has a contract with Double Fine Productions (Tim Schafer’s game studio) for Brütal Legend. One would assume the contract became null-in-void once they kicked Brütal Legend to the curb, but evidently they believe otherwise. After investing $15 million into the game, it’s easy to see why Activision wants to see some kind of return, though like I said, they should have thought about that before letting Brütal Legend fall into limbo, and then into Electronic Arts’ pocket.

It should be noted that Activision claimed they would sue back in February, but EA didn’t believe it. Their quote was quite frankly borderline perfect:

That would be like a husband abandoning his family and then suing his wife for meeting a better looking guy. -EA Rep.

Of course, court never has been and never will be about what’s right and wrong, it’s strictly about the law. I can’t claim to know how this’ll turn out but I will say this: If I were Tim Schafer, I wouldn’t want to go back to the people who literally left me out to dry. What’s your opinions? Don’t be afraid to comment, we don’t bite.

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