Eurogamer.net

Planet Coaster dev Frontier sues RollerCoaster Tycoon World maker Atari

Over unpaid royalties.

Frontier Developments, the maker of Planet Coaster and Elite Dangerous, is suing Atari, the company behind RollerCoaster Tycoon World.

TMZ, which broke the news, reports Frontier claims it's owed $2.2m in royalties by Atari over 2004's RollerCoaster Tycoon 3.

Frontier said it amended its contract for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 after Atari went bankrupt in 2013, and "another website", perhaps SteamSpy, revealed higher sales figures than previously thought. So, Frontier worked out it should have received $3.37m in royalties from Atari, but got only $1.17m. And, Frontier says, Atari delayed when it was asked for an audit of its sales report.

"Frontier got fed up and is now suing to get the rest of their dough," TMZ said. In a statement to Eurogamer, Frontier confirmed the action.

Here's Frontier chief operating officer David Walsh:

"We can confirm Frontier is currently pursuing a complaint against Atari. We have attempted to resolve this issue without legal action since April 2016. We have so far been denied our contractual right to audit by Atari, and we are unfortunately left with no other way to resolve our concerns. We are unable to offer any further comment while the matter is subject to due legal process."

The lawsuit comes after Frontier went head to head with Atari late in 2016 when it released Planet Coaster, which is very good, in direct competition with RollerCoaster Tycoon World, which is very bad. For many, there was only one winner.

It's worth noting that the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise is not owned by Atari, but by designer Chris Sawyer, who created the first two much-loved games in the series. Sawyer owns the RollerCoaster Tycoon IP and trademarks, and licenses to Atari the rights to create and market new RollerCoaster Tycoon games.

Back in 2007, Atari and Sawyer were embroiled in a lawsuit that involved Frontier. It was said that Frontier had developed an enhanced version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, which it intended to license to a third-party purchaser. Atari claimed Sawyer was in breach of contract by assisting Frontier in this, and sued Sawyer for damages. The dispute ended with an out of court settlement.

Perhaps this one will go the same way.

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