Jumpgate Evolution publishers sue developers

A couple of years ago, we got very excited over an interstellar MMO packed full of amazing space combat. That game was Jumpgate Evolution, and the year was 2007.

We checked it out again at the studios of developer NetDevil in 2008, and the game looked better than ever, even if they were still considering it to be in “pre-alpha” stage.

Jumpgate Evolution Box Art

...will we ever see this on shelves?

In 2009, NetDevil boss Scott Brown announced that the game would be delayed, explaining:

“The only thing worse than waiting is being rewarded with a product that does not live up to its potential. We’ve always had one goal while developing this game which we’ve stated over and over. That goal is to make a great, and most of all fun, space combat game. Until we, and you, are happy that the game fully meets all of those requirements we won’t release it.”

It seems they still haven’t met their requirements – and that, apparently, has upset Codemasters, the European publishers attached to the game.

It’s now 2010, NetDevil has experienced some major staff changes, and the company is now a subsidiary of Gazillion. And now, Codies are taking them to court, seeking US$1.4 million in costs from NetDevil for failing to honour their contract to deliver the game on or before February 24, 2009.

Codemasters have now explained the situation through their Jumpgate forums, to bring everybody up to speed regarding the court filing and, of course, the game itself.

Following some time without an update from Codemasters regarding Jumpgate Evolution we would like to present you with the following official statement:

Codemasters has filed a Complaint with the federal court in San Francisco against Gazillion and NetDevil. This is a public document readily available to the press. The allegations in the Complaint are clear and self-explanatory and address issues related to the development of Jumpgate Evolution. During the course of the litigation other documents will become part of the court’s public records further detailing the respective positions of the parties. On the advice of Codemasters’ US attorneys, Codemasters has no further comment at this time.

Codemasters invested a large chunk of cash into the project – $1.1 million in advances, nearly $300,000 in “Art Assets costs”, plus “external costs” including marketing, travel and accommodation and hardware, according to court documents – and now they want it back. In exchange, they are offering NetDevil any “rights, claims, or interest” to Jumpgate Evolution – basically reverting everything back to the way it was before the publishing deal was signed.
[img_big]center,3103,2010-11-19/jumpgate-2009-01-23-12-09-0.jpg,Pew pew pew![/img_big]

Nobody’s quite sure what will happen now. Perhaps NetDevil had their hands a bit full with the recently-released LEGO Universe and weren’t quite able to keep up with Jumpgate development… perhaps now the block-building MMO’s out, they’ll be able to return to space with a vengeance… or perhaps this is just how one of the most promising space games since Descent bows out.

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