Some people may remember that a few years ago, Dungeon Defenders II developer Trendy Entertainmentfor outrageous work conditions, including 10-12 hours of unpaid overtime and claims that company president Jeremy Stieglitz was bullying and verbally threatening employees, paying female employees less and practising “extreme” sexism, along with general mismanagement.
Stieglitz was subsequently ousted, and eventually joined Studio Wildcard, the developer of the smash dino-hit ARK: Survival Evolved. Unfortunately, his presence on the team may threaten even the very existence of the game.
Court documents haveclaiming that Stieglitz breached his contract by helping work on ARK: Survival Evolved in 2014. The documents allege that he violated his contract with Trendy not to compete with his former company and to not solicit any Trendy employees. Studio Wildcard is also accused of “tortious interference” with those contractual agreements and these acts “have had a devastating impact on Trendy’s business.” Studio Wildcard's response has been a frankly suspicious counter that Stieglitz only "consulted" with the developer.
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The most serious charge, however, is that Stieglitz copied technology from his time at Trendy to use within ARK: Survival Evolved itself. If found true, it would have serious repercussions. To wit, Epic's successful lawsuit against Silicon Knightsthe latter to destroy all copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny, among other games.
Regardless, Trendy Entertainment has asked for an injuction for Studio Wildcare to cease support for ARK: Survival Evolved, while a court date is set for April 27th.
All of this is particularly bad timing for Studio Wildcard, as ARK: Survival Evolved hasinto the eSports MOBA ring with ARK: Survival of the Fittest.
Stay tuned, folks. This one looks like it could get real ugly, with innocent gamers caught in the middle.