I reported last week that Turbine is currently suing Atari over fraud and extortion claims. If you’ve forgotten the gist of the lawsuit, Turbine has sued Atari, claiming extortion and fraud. Atari is claiming owed royalty payments over the MMO Dungeons and Dragons Online, while Turbine is claiming that not only are royalties being paid in advance, but Atari has planned to set this situation up, in order to terminate Turbine as the developer, and to go further and possibly shut down Dungeons and Dragons Online to make way for a rumored Neverwinter Nights MMO.
Atari’s response, sent to Shacknews:
Last week, with no warning, Turbine filed what can only be viewed as a frivolous lawsuit against Atari. This action can ultimately do a great disservice to D&D fans and to the MMO community at large. TurbineÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s actions also appear intended to divert attention from the contractual obligations that Turbine owes to Atari. In response, today Atari served a motion to dismiss the entirety of Turbine’s lawsuit. Atari also filed a separate complaint to recover monies owed to Atari resulting from an independent third party audit of Turbine. While Atari hopes for a quick and fair resolution, it remains fully committed to the D&D communities worldwide and will vigorously protect the franchise and its own integrity in this matter.
Lawsuits between publisher and developer never end well, anyone who remembers the problems Valve got into when Half Life 2 was released can attest to this (The publisher sued Valve claiming Steam was stealing sales). If Turbine wins this lawsuit, in addition to whatever monetary gain they will receive, they will also keep their recently renewed license for DDO, that lasts until 2016 (Most likely long after DDO shuts down). If Atari wins, you can probably expect Turbine to be axed at the first opportunity Atari gets. With a lawsuit like this, undoubtedly there is going to be bad blood between the companies.
Again, more information as this lawsuit unfolds.