Battle Between The Stars: Star Control Rights Dispute Grows Worse

Stardock Entertainment

For gamers of a certain age, there are few franchises as venerated as the Star Control series. An “open world” game across multiple worlds and involving various alien races, the series has been consistently recognized as a classic of the early days of computer gaming. The high point of the series was Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, designed by Fred Ford and Paul Reiche. When the CEO of Stardock, Brad Wardell, announced his company had obtained the rights to Star Control following the fire sale of assets from Atari back in 2013, old school gamers were initially excited, but also hesitant. Would Ford and Reiche be involved? And would it really be a Star Control game in the vein of the first two entries in the series? Or would it be something closer to the less popular Star Control III?

Whatever concerns gamers may have had over Stardock’s game being faithful to the original series have come into question in the hail of legal briefs and lawsuits filed over the last year or so. Even more upsetting for the fans and the parties involved have been the ex parte attacks and counters playing out on the blogs of both Stardock and Ford & Reiche. In a post dated last Sunday on their Dogar And Kazon Blog, Ford and Reiche claim that they recently received a settlement offer from Stardock, which allegedly requires them to surrender all claims of ownership to the Star Control series, never again use the words “Star Control” or “The Ur-Quan Masters” or “Ghosts Of The Precursors” in any game (the last is the title of the game which Ford and Reiche announced in October of 2017, and which makes the claim to be the “true” sequel to Star Control II), and to not make any games similar to Star Control for a period of five years, and to publicly apologize to Stardock.

Star Control Origins
Stardock Entertainment announced 'Star Control: Origins' in October 2016.Featured image credit: Stardock Entertainment

Stardock recently updated the FAQ they’ve established on their Star Control website to respond to the allegations. They do not deny having sent the two men a settlement offer, but their position is that Ford and Reiche’s claims are a gross distortion of a small portion of the offer in question. Furthermore, Stardock accuses the two men of allowing the PR firm the pair hired to produce the blog post as a deliberate effort to inflame sentiments against Stardock in an attempt to confuse the issue in court, and of being in violation of the federal confidentiality rules regarding such settlement offers.

This story will be updated as new information comes to light. For now, though, it appears that the long desired “win-win” settlement both sides claim they are seeking will not be occurring anytime soon.