Last year a class action lawsuit was filed against Gearbox and Sega alleging that Aliens: Colonial Marines was falsely advertised as its impressive press demo at E3 didn't resemble the final retail release. At the time Gearbox and Sega sought to fight this lawsuit and now Gearbox has filed a motion stating exactly why the accusations are baseless and that the developer should be removed from the lawsuit entirely.
One of the most interesting reasons is that Gearbox claimed that it sunk millions of dollars of its own capital into the game's development.
"During the development process, Gearbox supplemented Sega's development budget with its own money to help Sega finish its game; Gearbox's contributions to A:CM totaled millions, none of which was ever repaid," wrote Gearbox vice president of marketing Steve Gibson in the motion filed 30th July 2014 (obtained by GameInformer). "Gearbox never received money from Sega's A:CM purchasers, nor has Gearbox received a single royalty from any such sales by Sega."
The developer said that sales of the game were small enough that it received no bonuses from Sega and that the only money it made was from "milestone payments" to fund the project throughout its development. "Gearbox only received the milestone payments made by Sega during the game's development," Gibson stated. "Those milestone payments were pre-set before any games were sold and the milestone payments to Gearbox were not tied to the number of units of the game that Sega ultimately sold."
Gearbox also noted that Aliens was a "work for hire" project with Sega at the helm and that the developer bore no responsibility in how the game was marketed. Furthermore, Gearbox said that Sega was satisfied with the project as it was being developed. "Sega approved every milestone submission from Gearbox throughout A:CM's development. Gearbox eventually completed and delivered the software in accordance with Sega's specifications, which Sega vetted, approved and accepted," Gibson stated.
Another claim Gearbox found completely unfounded was the speculation that the pre-release footage was developed with a different engine. The developer was adamant that Epic's Unreal Engine was the only one ever used through Colonial Marines' development.
So that's Gearbox's defense against the most damning claims, but there's more: Gearbox's attorneys think the suit itself doesn't merit the requirements to maintain a class action.
The primary reason for this is that it's impossible to know how many users even saw the press demos that allegedly led to the game's sales. "[The] plaintiffs' proposed class is impermissibly overbroad because it includes putative class members who were never exposed to, and who therefore never viewed, the allegedly misleading game demonstrations on which the class-wide claims are premised," Gearbox's attorney's wrote. "[The] plaintiffs' net was cast too wide."
"Worse still, those customers who were satisfied by the video game would be swept into plaintiffs' proposed class," the attorneys added.
Furthermore, of the lawsuit's two plaintiffs, Roger Damion Perrine and John Locke, one of them had to withdraw their involvement.
Midway through the proceedings Perrine became difficult to track down. It took a detective agency to realise why: he was incarcerated in Pennsylvania.
"Mr. Perrine expressed that he could not proceed as a class representative due to his legal troubles and his inability to stay in contact with his counsel due to his incarceration," the plaintiffs' attorneys stated.
As such, that just leaves Locke as the sole plaintiff attempting to turn this into a class-wide issue.
We've contacted both Sega and Gearbox to see if either company would like to comment on this issue further.