The ongoing battle over the fate of Brütal Legend has taken a new twist as developer Double Fine Productions has counter-sued Activision, claiming the publishing giant is trying to kill the game to protect the Guitar Hero franchise from competition.
Despite apparently dropping the game in the wake of its acquisition by Vivendi, Activision launched a lawsuit against Double Fine in early June, claiming it had never given up its right to publish the game and that Double Fine's subsequent deal with Electronic Arts is invalid. Activision therefore wants the release of Brütal Legend halted, saying it will suffer irreparable harm if EA is allowed to publish the game.
But Double Fine is pushing back with a lawsuit of its own, claiming Activision's real goal "is not only to cancel Brütal Legend, but to kill it completely." The counter-suit alleges that Activision is attempting to hurt both the game and Double Fine Productions itself as part of a conspiracy to protect its Guitar Hero franchise from competition. In fact, Double Fine claims in the suit that Activision pulled the plug on the game after it tried and failed to convert Brütal Legend into a Guitar Hero sequel.
"Now that we've found a publisher and the game is getting sensational coverage, they want to stop its release," said Double Fine CEO Caroline Esmurdoc. "Double Fine's countersuit is a demonstration of our intention to fight for this game - Activision will not kill Brütal Legend."
Claiming that its very survival depends upon a successful release of Brütal Legend, Double Fine is seeking a judgment declaring that Activision did actually terminate its agreement with the developer and that it was free to sell the game to EA as a result. A hearing into Activision's original lawsuit, meanwhile, is scheduled for July 30.