Crytek moves to pause Star Citizen lawsuit until Squadron 42 launches

Cloud Imperium Games/Roberts Space Industries

A motion Crytek filed recently in its lawsuit against Star Citizen maker Cloud Imperium Games effectively says Squadron 42, the narrative mode CIG has promised for years, won’t be launching before this summer.

It’s a complicated bit of legal maneuvering, going back to the lawsuit Crytek brought in 2017. Crytek alleges that CIG is violating the terms of a licensing agreement and still using CryEngine 3 code to develop Star Citizen and Squadron 42 — which Cloud Imperium maintains is a separate game and not a module of Star Citizen.

In 2016, Cloud Imperium announced it was switching from CryEngine 3 to Amazon’s Lumberyard development platform, which is itself a fork of CryEngine 3 that Amazon purchased and developed. Crytek, in its 2017 lawsuit, said CIG was actually using CryEngine 3 code to which it had no license.

But as Crytek’s action is predicated on CIG bringing a product to market without permission to use CryEngine code, Crytek’s claim can’t really go anywhere if no offending product is released. So the company is asking a judge to put off their claim for the time being, as it doesn’t think Squadron 42 will be released by or before the June 2020 date when this lawsuit was originally set to go to trial. Crytek is looking to reschedule the trial for October.

Crytek’s filing pointedly mentions CIG’s internal uncertainty over when Squadron 42 will, if ever, see the light of day. “While this came as a surprise to Crytek (and undoubtedly will to the public who has pre-paid for Squadron 42, assuming the truth of CIG’s response, Crytek’s Squadron 42 claim is not yet ripe,” the filing says. “Ripe” means that something has to happen before Crytek has an actionable claim — in this case, the launch of Squadron 42.

The filing is an incremental development in a very technical dispute but it does provide some third-party insight into the development schedule of Squadron 42. The project, which will star Gillian Anderson, Gary Oldman and Wing Commander alumni Mark Hamill and John Rhys-Davies, has been in development since the beginning of Star Citizen itself back in 2012.

The most recent guidance from Cloud Imperium Games on when anything from Squadron 42 would be available to the public is that a beta might be released in the third quarter of this year. Star Citizen itself is still in an alpha state, even though it has drawn more than $260 million in donations since 2012.

At the end of 2018, Cloud Imperium announced that it had gotten an infusion of $46 million from a private investor, and targeted a summer 2020 launch for the long anticipated game.

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