Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries – the makers of Star Citizen – are being sued by Crytek over a licensing issue related to Star Citizen‘s use of the CryEngine.
The situation is complicated and messy, but it dates back to Cloud Imperium and Roberts Space Industries’ initial Kickstarter campaign. At that time, the developers reached an agreement with Crytek regarding the use of the CryEngine. The basic agreement stated that CryEngine could be used for the development of Star Citizen for a below-market fee in exchange for said-fee and some promotion of the engine within the game.
The problem is that the Star Citizen team eventually decided to break Star Citizen into two games (the single-player game is now referred to as Squadron 42). Crytek didn’t approve the use of that engine for two separate games, which could mean that the Star Citizen team broke their agreement.
This issue is further complicated by the fact that the Star Citizen team actually moved from CryEngine to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine last year. As such, they are no longer promoting CryEngine within the game itself. There are also reports that the Star Citizen developers agreed to use CryEngine throughout the game’s development.
Cloud Imperium has released a statement to Polygon in which they claim that these charges are “meritless.” However, from an outsider’s perspective, it does seem that Crytek might have a point depending on the language of the original agreement.
So what happens next? Well, that depends on how the two sides are able to work this out. The best case scenario for the Star Citizen team at this point is that they’re able to reach some kind of agreement with Crytek or are able to prove that they did not violate any policies beyond a reasonable doubt.
If this case is taken to its limit, though, then Crytek could file an injunction which could theoretically spell the end of Star Citizen‘s development for the foreseeable future. Given that the game is rumored to be close to its “Early Access” period, that would be devastating.