Home / Software & Gaming / Star Citizen developer responds to Crytek’s lawsuit over misuse of its CryEngine

Star Citizen developer responds to Crytek’s lawsuit over misuse of its CryEngine

Developers of ambitious space simulator Star Citizen, Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries have responded to Crytek’s legal action taken against the teams for misuse of its CryEngine. This won’t be the only legal battle that Crytek is embroiled in, as it already has a former employee suing over lack of paid wages.

Back in 2016, Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) stated that it was moving away from CryEngine 3 in favour of Amazon’s Lumberyard product, but according to Crytek, Star Citizen continues to use the engine in some capacity. This is evident in marketing material for the game, which shows lines of code belonging to none other than CryEngine 3.

The lawsuit details that CSI “improperly removed” the CryEngine logo from the game’s initial loading and that both CSI and Roberts Space Industries (RSI) failed to disclose modifications to the engine as per the original agreement.

Moreover, Crytek states that since Star Citizen has been split into two games since 2016, with its multiplayer component and single-player Squadron 42, this counts as two separate uses of the same engine, and therefore is an even further breach of contract.

Cloud Imperium Games has called Crytek’s case “meritless” in a statement to Polygon, as the company “hasn’t used the CryEngine for quite some time” since switching. CIG also goes on to say it will not only “defend vigorously” against the claims, but it will also attempt to recover any costs that are a result of the lawsuit.

KitGuru Says: Considering Crytek has reportedly been in financial trouble across recent years, not to mention the clashes with former employees, it does look like the company could be looking for a way out. That being said, perhaps there is a basis for these claims. We will find out when the more-than-likely-long and arduous legal process finds some answers.

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10 comments

  1. Crytek must be desperate if they’re going down the legal money-rinsing path. I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop the claim as I imagine being hit by CIGs legal bill would probably ruin them if they were to lose.

  2. The Lumberyard is a fork of the Crytek engine? That should be interesting, Crytek should have at least put that into consideration in all their TOAs, but considering Crytek got that ironed out with Amazon, it means they could be looking at code they know shouldn’t be present even with the use of Lumberyard – it could boil down to devs copy pasting code that they found compatible to Lumberyard after migration, to cut on time & such.

  3. Except Star Citizen and Lumberyard are forked off the same build of Cryengine rather than the newer builds that CIG never integrated. So code wise even if it’s marked as CryEngine it should be the same code licensed by Amazon for Lumberyard or CIG work product. That was also likely some of the issues they had with passing updates back to Crytek, Crytek didn’t work in lockstep with them to develop it and integrating the work done by CIG with Cryteks newer engine build would have been difficult.

    Lumberyard is at the end of the day CryEngine, while they have rebranded it, I don’t think they have to go in and remove all references to CryEngine in the code. That would be fairly unusual for a branch, even one you’ve bought lock, stock and barrel.

  4. Why did they move to Lumberyard in the first place? I’m unaware of any sort of advantage/disadvantage to which CIG would have to do a lateral shift in game engine use.

  5. Between Amazon and CIG they raided hard the CryTek staff pool after they weren’t able to keep paying them. They have so many of the core development team that CryTek are pretty much incapable of providing the level of support they could in 2013 to the engine.

    Conversely Amazon not only forked off the same branch, but updated it in mostly different areas from what CIG had done and in areas they desperately needed help. That was principally the netcode, which in the original CryEngine from what I understand was absolutely awful and almost an after thought. Amazon ripped it out and filled it with amazon magic to leverage AWS. That suits CIG as the Star Citizen component is very much bound by the networking ability and they had been struggling with it for a long time.

    So with Amazon they have an active partner willing to support them with more in common. And it’s overall a more symbiotic arrangement, whereas the previous CryTek agreement as you can see was essentially parasitic as they were offering them a bargain licensing deal essentially on the stipulation CIG overhaul their game engine for them.

  6. So essentially the engine’s developmental state slowed to a crawl in CryTek due to funding issues, and staff were offered another boat to climb into – Amazon. Understandable. These days, when a company fails to diversify in the midst of an ever-changing developmental landscape, they go down hard, either ending up being bought, or announcing bankruptcy. Why didn’t they think of selling upfront in a deal that could keep them up & running?

    the CryEngine was pretty much an old-school, single player, open world game engine in its inception, so AWS or any form of cloud computing inclusion WOULD have been an afterthought, or there was no longer funding to keep the kids in line to push for that (looking at the timeline,) or wasn’t an interest for CryTek. But since Star Citizen is online multiplay & needs AWS for server & content generation, etc., requirements for the client hardware should be lessened, but retaining maximum quality to maximize the user base, it would make sense (CryEngines were notorious in maximizing hardware, or wasteful in utilizing hardware resources, depending on your point of view).

    Lumberyard is still in its beta stages though, and this essentially makes everybody a beta tester at this point for the CIG game. Even the game itself is still unreleased, I believe. Checking further, the single player module will be used as a means (if crowdfunding dries up) to collect funds to complete development of SC, meaning Squadron 42 will come out first, before SC (out of beta) – but it’s dragging on too long and many patrons aren’t known for patience in that regard.

  7. It is funny how many of these allegations are contradictory.
    They complain about CIG not using Cryengine anymore and instead they are using Lumberyard, and then proceed with allegations based around the idea that they are still using Cryengine and not using Lumberyard /facepalm

    Then they have a complaint about how one of the founders, entertainment lawyer, who was a part of the negations with Crytek in 2012 didn’t recuse himself from the negotiations because he represented Crytek before in similar negations. So they were willing to go into negotations with him in 2012, but now, 5 years later, it is a problem? Why didn’t Crytek simply refuse to negotiate with him at the table in 2012 if this really was a problem?

  8. The two guys that own CryTek are pretty nutty by all accounts, it would have made sense to offer CIG a buyout deal for the engine in exchange for cash up front as they are relatively cash rich. But the Amazon deal was as close to a buyout as you can get, they just didn’t want the actual company or it’s liabilities when they could freely cherry pick staff.

    The netcode was pretty standard for the age of the engine and the type of games. It’s just more complicated titles need more complicated netcode, I think in large part CryTek were expecting CIG to give those updates to them.

    I wouldn’t say it’s in beta, if anything it’s a more stable build than CryTeks current one. As I mentioned it’s on the same fork that CIG are using, that actually the OLDER build of the engine that’s already tried and proven off the back of other games. The netcodes new, but seemingly excellent and not overly groundbreaking in and of itself just an example of current state of the art. CIG didn’t update to the newer CryEngine because the work they did was so incompatible, it would have been a lot of work for minimal benefit. CIGs version of the engine was relatively easy to integrate with lumberyard because the parts they wanted out of it aren’t conflicting with the work already done and they aren’t forced to try and shoehorn the work they did back into lumberyard.

    The squadron 42 split was basically a way to A lower the cost of entry and B address the issues raised by the community about forcing people to buy both. They don’t need the single player funds to complete the multiplayer, at this stage worries that backers would stop funding are pretty behind them and it will have a separate monetisation system as well. It’s looking like squadron 42 will be out pretty coincident with the beta of SC, but the full release of 42 may well take longer than SC as it is episodic.

  9. You gonna have to remember they are having to deal with another lawsuit that is from their own employees. I think however, if CIG waits, then Crytek can take a lot more % of cash. If they solve the case out of court, that will be the best thing.

  10. Here is an update.
    We are now +20 days after this new “drama”. CIG has answered to Crytek lawsuit… once again, the “drama” turned to be the biggest joke of all past “drama” 🙂

    Here are all the filed documents available on one single place:
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1mPjfXrjAf9RUq3_5cJgd-hF-I5XoCQta

    Crytek will obviously claim that breach of contract are real…. but I can’t resist to copy sir Voroxpete’s comments:
    ….

    Highlights:

    * CryTek attempted to sue RSI even though RSI didn’t actually exist when CIG negotiated the original agreement. They only created that company a few years later as a publicity arm for Star Citizen.
    * CryTek tried to accuse Ortwin of not recusing himself even though he actually got a waiver from CryTek before negotiating the agreement. Owned.
    * CryTek never showed the court the actual agreement they claim CIG violated, because it flat out disproves all of their claims.
    * The agreement clearly states that CIG can use CryEngine for both Star Citizen and Squadron 42. Slam dunk.
    * The claim that CIG has some kind of duty to only use CryEngine and nothing else is basically total bullshit, and really obvious bullshit at that. Like, we’re talking “A first year law student could spot that this case has no merit” levels of bullshit. CryTek are asking the court to ignore almost a century of established law in order to accept their interpretation of “exclusive”.
    * As any sane person would expect, the whole “removing CryTek logos and copyright notices” thing is ridiculous because they only took them off after they stopped using CryEngine.
    In short, CIG have unleashed the Ortwin. CryTek got rekt.

    In short, we now see the reason why the complaint was amended to list everything as being done ‘intentionally’… Then CIG goes and drops a metric ass-ton (that’s bigger than an Imperial ass-ton) of case-law into why that wont fly…. 🙂