The Dungeon Defenders developer was the plaintiff
Ark: Survival Evolved has found success on both PC and Xbox One since its summer 2015 Early Access launch. However, recent legal matters threaten to heavily cut into those profits, especially if today’s purported development proves to be true.
It’s being reported that Studio Wildcard co-founder Susan Steiglitz exchanged messages on Twitter with a fan of the game. In those messages, she mentions that Studio Wildcard settled its lawsuit with Trendy Entertainment, developer of the Dungeon Defenders franchise, for $40 million. The fan posted portions of that conversation to reddit, while redacting much of the rest of it.
In the lawsuit, Trendy alleges that Jeremy Steiglitz, Susan’s husband and top creative director at Trendy, violated a non-compete agreement by leaving and forming Studio Wildcard. It’s further alleged that he poached employees from Trendy and developed Ark in secret.
While the truncated conversation is somewhat suspect, Susan Steiglitz’s recent Twitter activity corroborates the story. She mentions that mediation was set for this past Wednesday, and later states that the defendant was asking for $600 million — likely Trendy’s initial offer in its mediation brief. It’s unknown if the settlement of $40 million came with any additional terms, such as a non-disclosure agreement. If so, Steiglitz may already be in violation of that.
Other unknowns are how this settlement will affect that development of Ark. Presumably, Trendy is no longer seeking an injunction to prevent the game from being worked on or sold. However, $40 million is a lot of money and the loss of those resources could adversely affect the finished product. As of right now, Ark: Survival Evolved is set for a June 2016 retail release; we’ll see if that’s still the case in the coming months.
Lawsuit UPDATE! [reddit]