Star Citizen is back in the news, and not because it’s got a launch date (because it’s probably never getting a launch date). This time, it’s because Crytek is suing developer Cloud Imperium Games and its CEO’s own company Roberts Space Industries over an alleged breach of contract for use of CryEngine 3. Expect delays. Again.
At this point in its forever ongoing development, Star Citizen is technically two games – a persistent online multiplayer game, and a single-player game called Squadron 42. This is important later. Both games were built with Crytek’s proprietary CryEngine 3.
Sometime in 2016, CIG and RSI decided (… maybe, this is also important later) to move over to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine instead. Fun fact, Lumberyard is actually based on CryEngine’s architecture, and licensed from Crytek. Awkward.
According to Crytek’s lawsuit, the CryEngine 3 licensing agreement is for one game only, not two, and both games are still using CryEngine 3. And even if they weren’t, the contract included an exclusivity clause precluding the use of a different game engine, anyway. The lawsuit also claims that the CryEngine 3 logo has simply been removed from the game’s loading screen, and that CIG and RSI made undisclosed modifications to the engine.
“We are aware of the Crytek complaint having been filed in the US District Court,” a CIG and RSI rep told Polygon. “CIG hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time since we switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard. This is a meritless lawsuit that we will defend vigorously against, including recovering from Crytek any costs incurred in this matter.”
In the meantime, CIG and RSI have banked over $150 million from pledges since the game was announced in 2012, but Star Citizen isn’t out, and Squadron 42 isn’t out. You can buy polygons of virtual planet space, though.