The makers of Star Citizen - Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries - are being sued by Crytek over misuse of CryEngine.

Cloud Imperium Games has dismissed - in a statement on Polygon - the claims as "meritless" and said it will "defend vigorously" against them, but they may prove hard to wash away.

It boils down to what was agreed upon in a General Licensing Agreement between the two parties in 2012, back before nearly 2 million people pledged a combined $174m towards development of the game.

One major problem, according to the the court documents, is Cloud Imperium Games separating the single-player story, Squadron 42, into a standalone game. This was done "without permission", Crytek said.

"Section 2.1.2 of the GLA contained a promise by Defendants to use CryEngine for the development of only one video game," said the court documents. "During the negotiation of the terms of the GLA, Crytek made it clear that the game license would not cover anything more."

Crytek's other major beef is the removal of the company's trademarks and logos from Star Citizen marketing material - something Crytek wanted in return for letting CIG licence CryEngine at "a below-market rate".

Cloud Imperium presumably removed the CryEngine logos because it switched to Amazon's Lumberyard engine last year. CIG pointed this out in the statement sent to Polygon. "CIG hasn't used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon's Lumberyard," it said.

But Crytek said CIG promised to use CryEngine exclusively to develop the Star Citizen game.

Jump to 12 minutes for a look at what's next for Star Citizen.

Crytek seeks damages as well as a permanent injunction to prevent CIG "from continuing to possess or use the Copyrighted Work", which sounds like it could be messy.

Crytek has been dogged by reports of financial trouble in recent years, forcing unpaid wages and studio closures. In addition to CryEngine, the studio is currently making a multiplayer first-person shooter and monster hunting game called Hunt: Showdown.

Star Citizen, meanwhile, edges closer and closer to a general roll-out of alpha build 3.0, which is largely considered to be akin to an Early Access release and therefore a major milestone for the game. A Star Citizen holiday livestream will update us on Squadron 42's whereabouts, and when, we hope, it will likely release.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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