Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard has been hit by a lawsuit which may threaten the game’s future.
A survival game set in a world of dinosaurs, Ark has become one of the most high-profile Early Access success stories for both Steam and Xbox One.
But there’s a twist in this reptilian tale – surrounding game designer Jeremy Stieglitz.
Court documents dug up by Kotaku have revealed that Stieglitz is now being sued by his former employer Trendy Entertainment.
Long story short: after leaving Trendy in August 2014, Stieglitz agreed not to engage in any “competitive activities” for a year or encourage any other Trendy employees to join him in leaving. Trendy says he did both.
Ark developer Studio Wildcard lists Stieglitz’s wife as a co-founder, using her maiden name, and lists a half dozen staff formerly employed by Trendy.
There’s also a big question mark around what involvement Stieglitz had in Ark’s inception. Trendy claims Stieglitz copied technology from his time at Trendy to use within Ark itself.
Studio Wildcard’s response is that Stieglitz has simply “consulted” on Ark to date, although unnamed industry employees have suggested he has been far more involved.
The lawsuit is ongoing, with another hearing date set for 27th April. Trendy has filed for “injunctive relief and damages” and is pushing for development on Ark to be paused – and the possibility of the game removed from sale – until the legal issues are settled.