Stardock and Star Control creators settle lawsuits– with mead and honey

Honey, I settled the lawsuit–.

An unexpected– and surprisingly friendly– conclusion to the multi-year legal legend.

Lee Hutchinson


alien gavels 800x450 - Stardock and Star Control creators settle lawsuits-- with mead and honey

Enlarge/“HELLO HUMAN, Umgah Court sentences you TEN MILLION YEARS OF TOUGH LABOR! … Oh, you settled? However … what Umgah supposed to do with 3 gavels if Umgah can’t sentence anyone?!”

Star Control/ Aurich


Stardock’s Brad Wardell and initialStar Controldevelopers Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III announced over the weekend that all parties have reached an amicable settlements in the tangled web of lawsuits in between them and Stardock, which extend back almost 2 years.

( Toverybriefly wrap-up, Stardock and Ford & Reiche were at legal chances over who owns the copyrights and hallmarks for theStar Controlseries of games from the 1990 s. To give anymore details would require a massive amount of explanation and discussion– which we already wrote a couple of years ago with this story right here. If you aren’t acquainted with the argument– or if you wish to refresh your memory– that piece will provide you a good, strong grounding on the mess that got us to now.)

The settlement’s details are public, and Ford & Reiche have an article on their site discussing things. In summary, however, the terms are easy and uncomplicated:

  • All existing suits in between Stardock and Ford & Reiche are dismissed with prejudice (this simply implies the suits can not be re-litigated).
  • All parties are accountable for their own attorney’s charges.
  • Stardock gets to use theStar Controlname for itsStar Control Originsgame and can develop sequels and DLCs as it likes.
  • Ford & Reiche get to continue to establish their own directUr-Quan Mastersfollow up (which was previously calledGhosts of the Precursorshowever will be relabelled).
  • TheStar Control Originsuniverse (now known as “theStar Controlfranchise”) will continue in a detached bubble from theUr-Quan Masters/Ghosts of the Precursorsuniverse (now understood as “theUr-Quan Mastersfranchise”).
  • Reiche will contribute some composing to theOriginsuniverse, in a volunteer function.
  • All of the complicated arguments about who owns which copyrights and trademarks and who they bought them from and when and what’s copyrightable and what’s not are mooted. (Which is fantastic due to the fact that it indicates I don’t need to re-summarize the mountain of IP arguments that both sides were making!)
  • The initial threeStar Controlgames can continue to be sold on other shops, consisting of Stardock’s, and Stardock will split revenue from those games’ sales with Ford & Reiche.
  • No licensing cash altered hands.
  • Brad Wardell of Stardock should provide Paul Reiche with a particular amount of honey from Wardell’s apiary.
  • In turn, Paul Reiche should provide Brad Wardell with a specific quantity of mead brewed from Wardell’s bees’ honey.

Wait … what?

Yeah, the last bit kind of tossed me, too.

” We solved this problem like most issues– with booze and bees,” joked Stardock’s Brad Wardell in a phone interview earlier today with Ars (he was joined by Reiche & Ford on the line, as all three remain in Los Angeles for E3 at the moment). Pointing out frustration with the overtly confrontational legal procedure– which all three referred to as depressingly combative and concentrated onwinningover all else– Wardell, Reiche, and Ford rather made somewhat of an end run around their respective attorneys and decided to construct on their shared interests instead of battling each other in court.

Those shared interests, as it ends up, include bees and honey. Wardell is an apiarist (I feel like, as somebody who’s covered Stardock before, I need to have understood that, but I had no idea!). And Reiche, through an odd coincidence, brews mead. Mead is produced from fermented honey.

As the claims continued to shamble on and attorneys on both sides continued to recommend brand-new methods to eliminate, Reiche decided to try to approach Wardell straight with a proposition built aroundimaginationinstead ofbattle

” The first thing I did was sit back and say, ‘What is the commonalities I really have with Brad?’ And that is that I would like to know how to raise bees. Honest to God, I have this long, enduring goal to discover all middle ages villager abilities, and this has been on my list,” explained Reiche. “And I believed, ‘OK, this is something that we can type of bond over and talk about, even if this entire thing does not work out in the settlement, we can have an excellent discussion about bees.'”

Here Wardell got the tale. “During the course of the arrangement,” he stated, “we chose, well, what is it we wish to leave this? Well … Paul makes mead. And I make honey. And really in the settlement, we exchange honey for mead, and I’m working with Paul on beekeeping.”

He laughed. “I actually sent him a video– it’s not going to be public since it’ll end up being a meme– of ‘OK, here’s how you established a hive,’ and I get stung–” here he, Reiche, and Ford all began laughing, “– on the video, I wasn’t wearing any protective equipment, and I’m standing there beside this really mad hive after I have actually been tinkering it–” And laughter and bee jokes then hindered the whole conversation.

Artist's impression of Brad Wardell's beekeeping instructional video.

Enlarge/Artist’s impression of Brad Wardell’s beekeeping training video.

The mead should stream

Continued Reiche: “I think it also is going to come as really unexpected to the fans, although eventually I quite hope that it brings them back together. Since it hurt to see people who essentially both like something we worked on get mad at each other and stay mad at each other … it’s not always going to be what fans anticipate, because it’s a ‘more than the amount of its parts’ service.”

Wardell was effusive in his praise and excitement about the settlement, as were Ford & Reiche– two parties concerning a basic contract (with suitable legal backing) feels like an unprecedented development in the litigious environment of video game development. Stardock’sOriginstitle will continue to be sold, and Stardock can produce DLCs and follows up as it likes, so long as those future expansions don’t push into “old”Star Controlarea with respect to aliens and areas and plots (there are a couple of caveats around the Arilou, but that’s the basics of the contract).

Reiche, in turn, volunteered to spend a long time writing some innovative ideas for theOriginsuniverse, to provide it even more of that classicStar Controlvibe. Perhaps most importantly to old-schoolStar Controlfans, Ford & Reiche are free to continue deal with their brand-new, directUr-Quan Mastersfollow up– although they’re going to alter its name far fromGhosts of the Precursorsto another title that they have not believed of yet. (Reiche joked that tentative titles so far includeGoats of the Precursors, referencingStar Control 3’sarea cows;Mask Effect, a deep dive into the history of the Utwig; and possiblyThe Color Purple, where we lastly get to discover out why the Melnorme ship’s bridge turns purple when you start trading.)

<em>Mask Effect</em>, starring Commander... oh, it doesn't matter. Nothing matters.<em>You should go.</em><em>Mask Result</em>, starring Leader ... oh, it does not matter. Absolutely nothing matters.<em>You need to go.</em>

Mask Impact, starring Commander … oh, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.You need to go.


And if the 2 celebrations understand that either has actually established a story idea that intrudes into the others ‘territory, they have actually all agreed to just get the phone and work it out. Both Wardell and Ford & Reiche are dedicated to talking through any prospective arguments and reaching a conclusion agreeably, without attorneys.
Since no one wishes to endanger the mead supply.

The Settlement of Forever

Wardell jumped in then to discuss that he and Reiche hammered out the details of the entire settlement in a discussion lasting a couple of hours. The collection of attorneys connected to the case then spent several weeks changing the quick contract into a formalized settlement offer. He and Reiche and Ford chuckled when stating the frantic attorneys’ cries of “you can’t do that!” and “you can’t providethataway!” They once again made the point that the lawsuit procedure was artistically draining pipes and too combative for the type of compromise they were attempting to reach. Reiche inserted that the resulting settlement agreement is the first agreement he’s ever signed that consisted of specific language about bees and about how many containers of honey must be exchanged each month for flagons of mead.

The arrangement also includes some terms that Ford & Reiche enter into a quiet period for a while, which will allow them to focus onMask Impacttheir now-untitledUQMfollow up and will likewise enableOriginsand its DLC and follows up to have some more spotlight time before Ford & Reiche begin dropping statements. As part of that, Ford & Reiche have actually taken down all the lawsuit-related posts on their blog site (which is generally all of the posts) and ended their claim charity event; Wardell has reciprocated by getting rid of comparable lawsuit-focused posts.

” The manner in which we settled is … I thinkdistinctively creativeand unforeseen, and certainly not the instructions the lawsuit was going,” stated Reiche.

For what it’s worth, this long-lastingStar Controlfan could not be happier with how this has all exercised.


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