Brad Wardell of Stardock is making legal trouble for the original creators of Star Control (settled)

Hollywood Duo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,412
posted for raterpillar Note the original title was truncated due to site constraints on title length.


Brad Wardell of Stardock is making legal trouble for the original creators of Star Control, Toys for Bob, over Ghosts of the Precursors (their follow-up to Star Control 2).
https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.c...eat-battles-and-some-of-them-involved-lawyers

Unfortunately there appears to be a growing legal conflict between us and Stardock. We started out confused at what Stardock said and did. We tried to be reasonable and settle the problem quietly, but now after months of debate we are flat out mad! First, a little background information on just our side of the story:

  • In 2013, Stardock bought a limited set of Atari’s assets at a bankruptcy auction -- primarily the name and trademark Star Control® and certain original aspects of Star Control III, like the space cows. It’s our opinion that Atari’s rights to publish our earlier games terminated over a decade before the auction and we contend that Stardock has zero rights to our games, including any code and other IP we created.

  • As far as we can currently tell, we have no relationship with Stardock that lets them sell the three earlier Star Control games without our permission, either bundled with their other products or separately. That permission has not been given.

  • Despite what Stardock's Brad Wardell has recently said, including in this Ars Technica article, our games’ universe has absolutely no connection, hyper-dimensional or otherwise, with Star Control®: Origins. (Note: We really don’t like other people putting our names in their diagrams without asking us first.)
Stardock now seems to think that not only can they use our aliens, ships and narrative without our permission, but thinks that we cannot make a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters without their permission -- this is where we got really, really angry.

When we started Ghosts of the Precursors™ we were looking forward to spending our time on fun, creative work, not fighting a legal battle to protect ourselves and our work. We have nothing but respect for the talented, passionate developers working onStar Control: Origins, but we apparently have a BIG problem right now with Stardock’s management. We’ve been waiting 25 years to make Ghosts of the Precursors for our fans and we certainly won’t let this stop us. Go! Go! Go!
No response from Stardock/Wardell yet but it had better be good tbh.
 

Digoman

Member
Oct 27, 2017
223
Star Control 2 remains to this day one of my favorite games of all time, so my initial reaction to someone trying to stop the original creators from creating a sequel isn't the most... polite.

But the whole "Stardock bought only the name and nothing else that matters about the game" always seemed strange to me. And having no problems with Paul and Fred doing their own thing was out of character considering everything I have read about Brad Wardell over the years, so yeah, can't really say I didn't see this coming also.

Now to redownload "The Ur-quan Masters" because at least this thread reminded me how awesome that game is.
 

Wereroku

Member
Oct 27, 2017
826
Well when it comes to rights disputes generally the only way to solve it is through court actions.
 

Al3x1s

Banned
Nov 13, 2017
2,824
Greece
Shitty situation, hope we can get both games and decide what we like/don't like. If they're being honest then they can easily prove it in court when the time comes, hopefully that also means their legal expenses will be relatively low, it seems like just a case of providing the right paperwork to get things sorted out.
 

Spasm

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Nov 16, 2017
320
Star Control II on 3DO is one of my favorite gaming experiences of all time. Good luck to TfB. Hope this backfires on SD.
 

1-D_FE

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Oct 27, 2017
2,610
Mr. Sandwhich and Atari? Yeah, without knowing anything beyond what's in the OP, I'm heavily betting on the Toys for Bob guys being in the right.
 

raterpillar

Banned
Nov 12, 2017
1,393
Wardell has been known to get litigious with message boards for criticising him, so prepare to get sued, ResetEra.

He actually encouraged Paul/Fred to go ahead and make Ghosts of the Precursors, so his legal case seems like it could be dubious. I read speculation that he did that so he could sue and get the full rights, which sounds both awful even for him and also really unlikely to work (I am not a lawyer though).
 

ForgeForsaken

Member
Oct 27, 2017
728
He actually encouraged Paul/Fred to go ahead and make Ghosts of the Precursors
I feel like his early talk about wanting them to make a Star Control game was just PR to get in the good graces of fans or for his desire for Paul and Fred to do it WITH Stardock so Brad would gett a cut. With this game coming for real now and having nothing to do with Stardock it stands to overshadow the Stardock game and Brad won't get a cut of the money, so his true colors are starting to show.
 

Frump

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,915
I feel like his early talk about wanting them to make a Star Control game was just PR to get in the good graces of fans or for his desire for Paul and Fred to do it WITH Stardock so Brad would gett a cut. With this game coming for real now and having nothing to do with Stardock it stands to overshadow the Stardock game and Brad won't get a cut of the money, so his true colors are starting to show.
I do hope that this means that people interested in Star Control completely shun the Stardock release if that still ends up happening. I know I won't be buying it for sure.
 

Briarios

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,238
Wardell is an ass and is the reason I will never buy anything from Stardock, even though they make the kind of games I like.
 

X1 Two

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
3,023
So the Ur-Quan are in Star Control. They say they make a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters (just another name for Star Control 2). How can they pretend that their new game doesn't share the same universe? And the other thing sounds strange as well, they have the "opinion that Atari’s rights to publish our earlier games terminated over a decade before". Normally you would sue someone if it is that clear. Do they have a contract that says that rights fall back to them after X years or do they not? It's that simple. Opinions can differ from the legal status.

He actually encouraged Paul/Fred to go ahead and make Ghosts of the Precursors, so his legal case seems like it could be dubious
You can allow someone to work on your IP and still not allow them to sell what they make. In fact that's how most fan projects work. They should've gotten a contract, apparantly they did not?
 

Paul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,217
This is Brad Wardell in october 2017

-------------------------------------------------
Four years ago Stardock acquired Atari's rights to Star Control. I soon got to meet my hero, Paul Reiche. He was, more than anyone else, the person who inspired me to become a game developer over 20 years ago.

Over the past 4 years, we have communicated regarding the progress of Star Control: Origins. He asked us not to try to make a sequel to Star Control 2 and said that he hoped one day to be able to return to the universe he and Fred Ford created.

Recently, Paul told me the good news: Activision was going to let him do a true sequel to their Ur-Quan story.

Today, they posted the news publicly: https://dogarandkazon.squarespace.com/

It's still very early but they will have all the characters from Star Control 2 plus new ones. It's going to be called Ghosts of the Precursors.

For 4 years, people asked me why we weren't going to touch the Star Control 2 story. Now you know.


As soon as they have an official site for it, we'll let you know.
-------------------------------------------------


And from today's:
-------------------------------------------------

I read that this evening too. I am not sure what to make of it.

Given that we are the ones who have helped publicize Ghosts, it should be self-evident that we support their project.

It should also be pretty well known to the community that they signed a fairly onerous agreement with Accolade many years ago.

We have nothing but respect for Paul and Fred and are sorry to see them put our mutual fans at odds over their misunderstandings with their former partner.

As has been stated on numerous occasions, we will not use the Ur-Quan related IP without Paul and Fred's approval and involvement.

We are, frankly, mystified why we're being brought into this.
-------------------------------------------------

Kind of bizzare, hopefully they can resolve whatever legal issues there are amicably.

And sexual harasser/predator.
Could we not slander people? The lawsuit was resolved with his accuser having to apologize. Neither you nor me know the truth there.
 

ForgeForsaken

Member
Oct 27, 2017
728
Could we not slander people? The lawsuit was resolved with his accuser having to apologize. Neither you nor me know the truth there.
In part because Stardock basically bullied her with a counter-suit alleging she stole and destroyed company materials, that's an important detail there I think. One thing that did come out of that though was an email where Brad basically threatened that if anyone tried to change his behavior he'd go Galt and shut the company down.
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
This is Brad Wardell in october 2017



Could we not slander people? The lawsuit was resolved with his accuser having to apologize. Neither you nor me know the truth there.
Ok. How about "a person with a history of sexual harassment accusations who is a supporter of a misogynitic harassment campaign that targets women with doxxing and death threats"

Is that fair?
 

Paul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,217
In part because Stardock basically bullied her with a counter-suit alleging she stole and destroyed company materials, that's an important detail there I think. One thing that did come out of that though was an email where Brad basically threatened that if anyone tried to change his behavior he'd go Galt and shut the company down.
Bully is a strong word. If he was in the right, then it wasn't bullying. And we don't know who was in the right there, only that the case ended with her apologizing. Some shitty emails notwidthstanding. All of this is offtopic for this thread though.

Ok. How about "a person with a history of sexual harassment accusations who is a supporter of a misogynitic harassment campaign that targets women with doxxing and death threats"

Is that fair?
I am not going to defend his supporting gamergame, I agree it was dumb and morally dubious after it got attached to shitty stuff some of the hashtag users did. Fact still remains that you can be accused and innocent though.
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
And just yo be clear, this is one of the emails the woman received from her boss, Brad Wardell, when she complained to HR about her boss sexually harassing her:

Brad Wardell said:
#3, however is not acceptable to me. I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you will need to find another job.



#4, Again, I am not willing to adapt my behavior to suit others. IF you find my behavior problematic, I recommend finding another job.


I'm not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job here, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).
Yeah, he's a swell guy.
 

raterpillar

Banned
Nov 12, 2017
1,393
I feel like his early talk about wanting them to make a Star Control game was just PR to get in the good graces of fans or for his desire for Paul and Fred to do it WITH Stardock so Brad would gett a cut. With this game coming for real now and having nothing to do with Stardock it stands to overshadow the Stardock game and Brad won't get a cut of the money, so his true colors are starting to show.
Yeah, everything about those early press releases sounded sussss. I remember a couple of really misleading claims about the alien races and their absence in Origins, misdirection about the invovement of Ford/Reiche ... along with misperceptions among Stardock fans about rights issues that Wardell was happy to leave uncorrected. Dude is just persistently sleazy in a way that suggests he can't help it.
I'm glad he doesn't have the rights to the Star Con 2 aliens, or he'd end up making the Druuge the heroes.

Props on your avatar, btw - I've yet to see a Big Battel show cause I live in NZ but I always wanted to.
 

zashga

Member
Oct 28, 2017
728
Wardell is an ass and is the reason I will never buy anything from Stardock, even though they make the kind of games I like.
As someone who actually has bought Stardock games, I say don't buy Stardock games. They tend to release half-baked and sometimes outright broken (hi Demigod). Which is weird, considering how much noise Wardell made about his so-called Gamers' Bill of Rights some years back.

This is without even touching the man's politics.
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
Bully is a strong word. If he was in the right, then it wasn't bullying. And we don't know who was in the right there, only that the case ended with her apologizing. Some shitty emails notwidthstanding. All of this is offtopic for this thread though.



I am not going to defend his supporting gamergame, I agree it was dumb and morally dubious after it got attached to shitty stuff some of the hashtag users did. Fact still remains that you can be accused and innocent though.
"After it got attached to some shitty stuff"?

Gamergate was, from its very inception, a harassment campaign against women. And Brad jumped on board immediately. Do you know know how Brad jumped on board? He started harassing Zoe Quinn right out of the gate.

Get your facts straight.
 

spman2099

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,857
I am not going to defend his supporting gamergame, I agree it was dumb and morally dubious after it got attached to shitty stuff some of the hashtag users did. Fact still remains that you can be accused and innocent though.
His position was essentially that games are for men, not women. He came out and said that (using demonstrably false statistics). So yeah, fucking shits like him are probably more likely than non-shitty people to sexually harass others.

You will have to excuse me if I don't give him the benefit of the doubt.
 

Paul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,217
His position was essentially that games are for men, not women. He came out and said that (using demonstrably false statistics). So yeah, fucking shits like him are probably more likely than non-shitty people to sexually harass others.

You will have to excuse me if I don't give him the benefit of the doubt.
Do you have link? That sounds really dumb and I would like to see it.
Still though, how does something like that lead to the idea that he is more likely to be sexual harasser? One has nothing to do with the other.

"After it got attached to some shitty stuff"?

Gamergate was, from its very inception, a harassment campaign against women. And Brad jumped on board immediately. Do you know know how Brad jumped on board? He started harassing Zoe Quinn right out of the gate.

Get your facts straight.
If he harassed Zoe Quinn, or anyone, then he is a shithead. Those tweets, though, maybe he didn't know that guy drew her like that ? If he did and still wanted to hire him, then that is shitty, I agree.
 

Maledict

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,242
As someone who actually has bought Stardock games, I say don't buy Stardock games. They tend to release half-baked and sometimes outright broken (hi Demigod). Which is weird, considering how much noise Wardell made about his so-called Gamers' Bill of Rights some years back.

This is without even touching the man's politics.
Yep. They are a terrible company that has a dreadful track record with games. Made all the more laughable by that dumb gamers bill of rights, which they promptly then utterly ignored and released broken game after broken game.

How many versi9ns of Elemental did they get through before the damn th8ng was even vaguely playable?
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
Do you have link? That sounds really dumb and I would like to see it.
Still though, how does something like that lead to the idea that he is more likely to be sexual harasser? One has nothing to do with the other.



If he harassed Zoe Quinn, or anyone, then he is a shithead. Those tweets, though, maybe he didn't know that guy drew her like that ? If he did and still wanted to hire him, then that is shitty, I agree.
He offered the guy a job because he drew Zoe Quinn having sex with him.

Then he called Zoe a liar.

This is the beginning, from that point forward Brad continually supported gamergate through tweets and statements.
 

spman2099

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,857
Do you have link? That sounds really dumb and I would like to see it.
Still though, how does something like that lead to the idea that he is more likely to be sexual harasser? One has nothing to do with the other.
"In fact, the misrepresentation of gaming, as a hobby/medium/entertainment is a big part of the issue here. Demographically speaking, core gaming is 95%+ men. Any game site that tries to claim otherwise needs to talk to their advertising reps.

It has nothing to do with being inclusive. For example, 95% of our Start8 (not a game but a piece of software every Windows 8 user should have) are men. If a universal utility is overwhelmingly used by men, there's no scenario where core gaming is going to do better at attracting women. Women simply have different hobbies than men. And that's fine, even if it does make it harder to get that 4th for League of Legends sometimes."

I took that quote from here.

His argument basically amounts to believing that journalists shouldn't advocate for women, or point out problems with sexism, as women don't play games (which is obviously bullshit).
 
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flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
Told an employee that if she didn't like being sexually harassed she should get a new job, offered to hire an artist on the sole merit that he drew a cartoon of Zoe Quinn having sex with him, called Zoe Quinn a liar, advocates that the game industry should be only for men. Supports Gamergate to this day.

But, is he really deserving of being called a misogynistic asshole? He did make galactic civilizations!
 
Oct 30, 2017
1,028
Stardock sucks, Wardell is an asshole, and the Stardock Star Control looks absolutely terrible, so I really, really hope Toys for Bob wins this one.
 

Adree

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,547
This is a shame but not a surprise considering Wardell. I'll gladly donate to their legal fund.
 

fester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
939
Stardock sucks, Wardell is an asshole, and the Stardock Star Control looks absolutely terrible, so I really, really hope Toys for Bob wins this one.
I haven't bought a Stardock game since his bullshit all came to light. This situation sounds weird, but completely par for the course and does nothing to change my opinion of Wardell.
 

butzopower

Member
Oct 27, 2017
909
London
Fuck anyone getting the way of Toys For Bob making a follow up to SC2, no one deserves a chance at making a sequel more than those folks. I liked Stardock for publishing Sins of a Solar Empire and GalCiv is cool, but I won't buy anything from them ever again.
 

crazyfunster

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,143
I think it's mostly the selling of the older games, and the fact Brad thinks they need his permission to make their game (which Brad would give freely).

In other words, business dispute.
 

sleepInsom

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
2,569
I think it's mostly the selling of the older games, and the fact Brad thinks they need his permission to make their game (which Brad would give freely).

In other words, business dispute.
This is weird though:

What I am comfortable publicly saying is that given their post, there is more reason than ever to get them to sign some sort of document that acknowledges that we are not preventing them from making their game.
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
I think it's mostly the selling of the older games, and the fact Brad thinks they need his permission to make their game (which Brad would give freely).

In other words, business dispute.
Toys for Bob is in a business dispute with Brad Wardell because they think they need permission to make their game after Brad told them they didn't?

That makes absolutely no sense.
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
This is weird though:
Yeah I'm almost 100% sure this "document" he wants them to sign involves Toys for Bob giving Brad money.

It seems like he's being disingenuous and shady with his responses.

Why would Toys for Bob even mention anything if Brad wasn't trying to get something out of them.
 
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Cameron122

Member
Oct 27, 2017
440
Texas
Elemental was my first big gaming disappointment but the next elemental games turned out ok, Hope this gets settled I want to see both games.
 

tomofthepops

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Oct 27, 2017
1,024
I always forget stardock make games. my first introduction to them was Windowsblinds, good memories of hideous Windows XP themes.
 

Akira86

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Oct 25, 2017
8,172
If he kills his own project via bad publicity and bad public will before it even launches...
 

KonradLaw

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
1,960
If Stardock is making legalnie trouble for them then surely they can post legal documents showing that. At this point it seems they're angry at what Stardock is saying, not what they are doing legally. And if Stardock doesn't have the rights to sell older SC games why let them sell it for years without doing or saying anything about it
 

flyinj

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,432
If Stardock is making legalnie trouble for them then surely they can post legal documents showing that. At this point it seems they're angry at what Stardock is saying, not what they are doing legally. And if Stardock doesn't have the rights to sell older SC games why let them sell it for years without doing or saying anything about it
This is even more vague and nonsensical than what Brad is saying.

First you say it is a business dispute, now you say Toys for Bob is mad about what Brad is saying and not what he's doing? What, exactly, is Brad saying that is making them mad?

And then you say Toys for Bob is mad about Brad selling Star Con 1 and 2... so now Toys for Bob is mad at Brad for what he is doing.

However, Toys for Bob never said anything about being mad about Brad selling the games.

So what is it?