City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios has responded to reports that Marvel is suing it and CoH publisher NCsoft by describing the comic giant's allegations of copyright infringement as "meritless".
"As reported by The Associated Press, Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Marvel Characters, Inc. have sued NCsoft Corporation and Cryptic Studios," the developer confirmed on its website. "The complaint is meritless. Cryptic Studios is confident that the District Court will reject all of Marvel's claims and fully vindicate Cryptic Studios in all respects."
On Friday Marvel announced that it planned to sue Cryptic and NCsoft after learning that characters in the duo's City of Heroes MMORPG could be customised by players to look similar to Marvel properties - naming the Hulk and Wolverine specifically in its litigation.
The ramifications of a guilty verdict for the games industry would be quite severe, as it would almost certainly lead to restrictions - whether legal or self-imposed - on the use of customisable content in games, something that most major publishers including Activision and Electronic Arts have long considered a key aspect of franchises like Tony Hawk and The Sims.