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Star Control Lawsuit Settled Amicably, Both Parties Will Collaborate on Current and Future Games

Over a year since the lawsuit started, Stardock and original Star Control creators Paul Reiche and Fred Ford have come to an amicable settlement.

Both parties have reached a settlement, which actually initially happened via a phone call from Reiche to Stardock boss Brad Wardell. Reportedly, the conversation included talk of bees, and related matters with the dispute.

Reiche and Ford explained that when everything was looked at, “the distinction between the most likely winning and losing scenarios was probably going to be relatively small.” Furthermore, it just wasn’t worth pursuing under those prospects.

“We’d tried court-managed settlement with no progress and private mediation was also proving to be as elusive as the Questing Beast. So we decided to throw a bit of a Hail Mary pass and just call Brad Wardell directly—something he’d actually suggested more than a year earlier—but first, we needed to find some kind of common ground which turned out to be… bees.”

Both parties quickly got into the core issue.

“Our perspective was this: we don’t like fighting, but we love creating, so can we step waaay outside the box and settle our dispute through positive, creative actions rather than continuing to beat each other up?” they noted. “Brad listened and agreed, and this became the basis for settlement.  Our lawyers are all smart, professionals with their client’s best interest in mind, but it’s worth considering that it was only when we communicated directly with each other that we made progress.”

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell also noted practically the same thing. He noted, “We figured out what we wanted in just a couple hours of talking. The rest of the time was the lawyers smithing out exact, agonizingly precise, verbiage. That took much longer. Usually these things claim to be amicable but it’s just both sides trying to spin things. In this case, it really was amicable.”

Wardell added a very tongue-in-cheek bit, as expected: “We added a section in which I’ll be working with Paul on beekeeping. He’s going to send me some meade, I’m going to send him some honey. I don’t think the lawyers were particularly enthusiastic about us incorporating some of this into the agreement. I did a tutorial video on beekeeping I was going to send over but got stung in the video, so thought better than to actually send it.”

The actual settlement is meant to be confidential, however both parties wanted it to be seen by the public. Here’s the rundown:

  • Stardock will have the right to make new Star Control games in the future, while Reiche and Ford will make new Ur-Quan Masters games
  • Stardock has dropped all alien name and character trademarks, and both sides have dropped their opposition to the other’s trademarks
  • Each side agrees not to challenge the other’s trademarks in the future
  • Ghosts of the Precursors will be renamed to something “a little less generic”
  • No money changed hands

Stardock also noted, “In addition, the trademark and copyright questions were put to rest with the agreement spelling out the copyrighted IP that Reiche and Ford care about along with the trademarks that Stardock cares about, with each party agreeing to respect these boundaries in their use in the future.”

One of the coolest parts is that both parties have agreed to cooperative on developing Star Control projects, current and moving forward. Reiche is going to create new alien races for Star Control: Origins, and Stardock is going to help Reiche and Ford with new technology. Reiche is going to start working with Stardock on a brand new Star Control game later this fall. Also, all original Star Control games will be made available for sale on all platforms, with royalties split between both parties, equally.

Stardock also put a big note that Reiche and Ford are wholeheartedly the creators of Star Control, while Reiche noted he’s a big fan of Star Control: Origins. “We are honestly very, very happy with the way everything has settled,” Reiche and Ford added.

Stardock teased that more info is coming in the future, but Reiche, Ford, and Wardell all met up at this year’s E3 to have beers and hang out,

Star Control: Origins is now available for Windows PC. In case you missed it, you can find my thorough review for the game here (I highly recommend it!).

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.