Richard Garriott Sues NC Soft Over Millions in Stock Options

The once-happy business union of Ultima series creator Richard Garriott and Korea-based MMO publisher NCsoft turned vicious at its end, according to documents filed by Garriott with U.S. District Court in Texas.

Kotaku broke the news of the lawsuit yesterday, but GamePolitics has the details – and they’re ugly.

Garriott, best known for the Ultima RPG series, alleges that he lost millions when NCsoft manipulated him into cashing out stock options earlier this year after firing him late in 2008. Garriott’s dismissal is news in itself, as his departure from the company was presented to the gaming community by NCsoft as voluntary.

From the complaint:

In… November 2008, Chris Chung, President of NCSoft’s North American operations, informed Mr. Garriott that NCSoft has decided to "part company." Although Mr. Garriott objected to his dismissal, Mr. Chung insisted that the decision was final – Mr. Garriott had to go.


As Mr. Garriott prepared to leave NCSoft, however, Mr. Garriott learned that NCsoft had internally re-characterized his termination by Mr. Chung as a "voluntary" resignation… This mischaracterization had profound and detrimental effects on Mr. Garriott’s stock options: if NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott’s employment (which it did) then the options – worth tens of millions of dollars – would remain in effect until 2011; but if Mr. Garriott resigned voluntarily (which he did not), then NCsoft might have terminated those options… within ninety days of his departure…


NCsoft forced Mr. Garriott into a Hobson’s choice of exercising his options… and forced him to sell into one of the worst equity markets in modern history…

Garriott claims that he not only lost millions by prematurely selling his options, but also incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liability associated with the unwanted deal.

Garriott’s well-publicized turn as a space tourist also comes up in the suit:

Following the lauch of the Tabula Rasa game, Mr. Garriott took a leave of absence… to pursue a different kind of launch… Mr. Garriott used the considerable media coverage surrounding his space-launch to publicize and promote Tabula Rasa for NCsoft. For example, Mr. Garriott send a coded message to the Tabula Rasa player base during his space launch…


NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott’s employment while he was still in quarantine from his space flight…


Despite Mr. Garriott’s repeated objections, NCsoft refused to retract its misstatements regarding the nature of Mr. Garriott’s departure and the cancellation of his stock options…

In his lawsuit, Garriott alleges breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation on the part of NCsoft. He clams to have suffered "more than $27,000,000 in actual damages."

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Garriott’s complaint here.

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  1. mona.adele says:

     I understand your sentiment and I agree that the evidence isn’t conclusive– but in he said she said arguments it almost always comes down to corroborative evidence and documentation. I can’t even make an educated guess because I don’t know what documentation exists; based on the implications of the complaint it seems as though NCSoft has documentation of a voluntary termination (which Garriott alleges are false) and Garriott is relying on phone calls and hearsay. That doesn’t bode well for Garriott.

    So far the only documentation we’ve seen is the open letter. If Garriott can produce authenticated e-mails and correspondence supporting his claim, that would likely refute the open letter. However, if NCSoft can produce a signed resignation or any other documentation it will hurt and potentially destroy Garriott’s case. The legal effect of the signed resignation would trump any assertions made outside of the document. NCSoft’s a big company with plenty of lawyers– it is unlikely that they wouldn’t have gotten SOMETHING in writing as to Garriott’s termination. It’s standard business practice with executive positions to get something in writing as a CYA measure.

    It will come down to documentation and testimony from Chung and NCWest’s HR girl. If they corroborate his statements he has a stronger case. If NCSoft gets depositions that say contrary, Garriott will have a very difficult time. 

  2. Nightgaunt says:




    I am curious about the legal ramifications of the open letter you mention in your blog post:

        "Many of you probably wonder what my plans are, now that I have achieved the lifelong dream of going to space. Well, that unforgettable experience has sparked some new interests that I would like to devote my time and resources to. As such, I am leaving NCsoft to pursue those interests."

    I am no legal expert, I do Pharma Consulting work for a living and as part of what I do I frequently come in to contact with high/mid level execs who are leaving, or being removed from the companies they work for, for various reasons. Even in the case of a Termination, the customer facing information is rarely (except in the cases of upcoming tort action or gross negligence that forces accountability) expressed as what has actually occurred. Even in the case of an executive being removed out-right the typical external boilerplate will read very similar to what is written above "I am leaving (company name) to pursue other interests" is as generic a sentiment as can be offered.

    Especially in a customer facing communication it would be considered bad form in most companies I have worked for to air dirty laundry and internal troubles to the customer (or in this case fan) base. Now I’ve never worked for a publishing company, but I imagine for image reasons it is even more sensible to make your customer facing communication be tactful for image reasons. Imagine the ramifications NCSoft could expect if the "beloved" Lord British (or General British) was Fired. They would probably suffer permanent image problems. 



  3. mona.adele says:

     I was mostly going after Garriott’s lawyers and business/financial advisors for whatever advice they provided to convince him to exercise his options without negotiating purchase at the market price, and then immediately selling off those stocks without waiting a year to ensure favorable tax treatment. I have nothing personally against Garriott. 


    As for the pics– it was a halloween costume for a quiz show event at my alum. 

  4. Gaming Observer says:

    I was slightly abrassaive – initially – but only because you went after Garriotr so hard.  Right or wrong (and trust me, the man hasn’t entertained me in almost two decades), he still deserves some respect.  At least that’s my feeling.

    And I’m really just being funny, not hitting on you – to be clear 🙂

    But the cosplay comment comes from this…

    …looking so much like this…



  5. mona.adele says:

     I don’t normally exhibit that kind of hostility, but to be fair you were insulting in your initial response and vehemently adhering to in an incorrect assumption. I do apologize for my behavior. It was out of line. Thanks for the compliment, but I am neither a cosplayer nor available. 🙂

  6. Gaming Observer says:

    You may be correct, and if I’m wrong I’ll happily admit it, though I’m crunched for time and haven’t been able to review your links.

    That said – there’s no real reason we should be taking jabs at each other – you’re hot and I want you to like me, ’cause fanboy gaming nerds really shouldn’t alienate cosplay gaming chicks.  I think that’s an actual law in Sweden.

    But yes, your attitude is… unbecoming.  I know attorneys decades more qualified and experienced in the very field you hope to specialize in and they would never communicate like this, even on a message board, and especially not in a BLOG.  Be careful what you put out there.

  7. mona.adele says:

     I don’t think you’ve held the type of stock options held by Garriott, and I strongly recommend you actually read his contract, review the vesting period, and pay particular attention to Articles 2 & 3:

    2. Grant of Stock Options

    The Company agrees to grant on the Grant Date to the Recipient, and the Recipient hereby agrees to accept from the Company on the Grant Date, the stock options to purchase Common Stock of the Company up to the Number of Stock Option Shares, at the Exercise Price Per Share during the Exercise period… 

    Exercise of Stock Option

    3.1 During the Exercise Period, the Recipient may exercise, by delivering the Exercise Notice to the Company, all or part of the Stock Options which have been vested and not cancelled under Article 8 of this Agreement, at one time or several times, in accordance with the terms and conditions in this Article. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, the number of Exercise Notices given by the Recipient to the Company in any one year period shall not exceed four (4). 

    3.2. The Exercise Notice shall be executed and delivered by the recipient and shall state and attach thereto, among other things, the following:

    3.2.3 The Number of Stock Option Shares the Recipient purports to purchase pursuant to the Exercise Notice and the remaining Number of Stock Option Shares not exercised…





    You had SARS. Stock Appreciation Right. Not a stock option agreement.,,,00.html


    And for the record, I won’t get my license to practice until October, so you’re safe for now from the "evil bad wrong attorney". 

  8. Gaming Observer says:

    Seeing as I’ve held the type of stock options that I’m talking about, and these are the type of stock options Garriot is referring to, which I did not need to purchase, but were purchased for me, I’m not sure there’s any need to debate your misinterpretation of the situation.

    That said, your snide and snarky demeanor isn’t flattering.  I guess it’s no wonder that you’ve got Kotaku links all over your wittle blog – they like to be dick-ish for fun too.

    But hey, who am I to judge?  I think most people understand that there are plenty of "attorneys" that can really only be called that on a technical basis.  You know who you are.

  9. mona.adele says:

    By your definition there is nothing to exercise–and Garriott was fully compensated after the first two years of his employment, according to his contract’s vesting period. And apparently the US Tax Code incorrectly interprets incentive stock options for employees, as well. 


    (b) Incentive stock option

    For purposes of this part, the term “incentive stock option” means an option granted to an individual for any reason connected with his employment by a corporation, if granted by the employer corporation or its parent or subsidiary corporation, to purchase stock of any of such corporations
    And according to you, the SEC is also wrong:
    You should really, REALLY research a subject matter before you claim any authority over it. If you choose to remain ignorant on a subject that’s your business. There’s no need to perpetuate stupidity in others. 


  10. Gaming Observer says:

    I wish this message board would let me draw a big arrow back to what I’ve already said.  It suffices.

  11. mona.adele says:

     What Does Stock Option Mean?
    A privilege, sold by one party to another, that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy (call) or sell (put) a stock at an agreed-upon price within a certain period or on a specific date.
    In the U.K., it is known as a "share option".


    What Does Employee Stock Option – ESO Mean?
    A stock option granted to specified employees of a company. ESOs carry the right, but not the obligation, to buy a certain amount of shares in the company at a predetermined price. Anemployee stock option is slightly different from a regular exchange-traded option because it is not generally traded on an exchange, and there is no put component. Furthermore, employees typically must wait a specified vesting period before being allowed to exercise the option. 




    Pretty sure you’re confusing a stock option with stock compensation. 



    Investopedia explains Stock Compensation
    This is a common method used by corporations to compensate executives. The theory is that executives will work harder since they want their own stock to rise in value and, therefore, have the best interests of shareholders in mind.



  12. Gaming Observer says:

    I think I have a better explanation…

    Stock options are a form of compensation.  They’re not an opportunity to buy stock, but actual shares of stock issued (purchased for the employee BY THE EMPLOYER) at a certian market rate (let’s say $10).  So in this hypothetical example, NCSoft says to Lord British – "here, in addition to your salary, we’ll give you 100,000 shares at $10."  These type of options are typically tied to vesting periods, designed to retain the employee – i.e. if you gave me 100,000 shares and wanted me to stay with the company for five years, I would be able to vest 20,000 at the end of the first year, 40,000 at the end of the second year, and so on, up to 100,000 at the end of the fifth year.  Typical but not always the case.  When you vest those options (during a vesting period), the options are sold at the then current market price (let’s say $20), and the employee receives the difference.  In this example, with 100,000 shares at a $10 purchase, vested at $20, Lord British would have pulled $1,000,000 minus applicable taxes (AGAIN – he didn’t buy these shares, they were given to him as part of his compensation).

    Stock options are typically a great form of compensation because they incentivise employees to care about the overall performance of a company and not just their piece – the better a company is doing, the more their options are worth.

    What he seems to be complaining about is that he was "compelled" to vest his options at an inappropriate time, and that had NCSoft not defrauded him, he would have been able to vest at a later date when the market value for the shares were higher.

    This business about stock options meaning he was allowed to buy shares is… well, wrong and a bit shocking coming from an attorney.  You may be getting a common stock option confused with an employee stock purchase plan, which is entirely different.

  13. Gaming Observer says:

    I agree that a lot of the comments here – suggesting that Garriot is rich already and shouldn’t begrudge the loss, also making judgements about his work – are just ridiculous.

    Sounds so much like the kind of people that justify software piracy.  Doesn’t matter, the companies you’re stealing your games from are rich – they won’t miss it, right?  Big ol’ Activision won’t mind if you just go and torrent you some Call of Duty, they gots loads of money already!

    I suppose, in his own mind, every moron thinks he’s right, and this is why he remains a moron.

    That said… I did enjoy the earlier Ultima games, but didn’t like Ultima Online or anything else he did afterward.  I didn’t play Tabula Rasa either.  But this is just my opinion, it certainly doesn’t mean that the games were bad or others didn’t enjoy them.

    While I support his right to get paid – I do think he was mightily overpaid.  But it’s also not surprising.  When you can say that you’re the guy who made the first big MMO and kicked off the genre in the most popular sense, it’s bound to impress at least a few people, and I wouldn’t be surprised if NCSoft used Garriot’s name and participation to attract financing (I would have).  And if you look at the kind of money that investment groups are throwing at MMOs, virtual worlds, and social networks right now… what he was promised isn’t actually that much in the scope of the economics surrounding those businesses.


  14. mona.adele says:

     You realize a stock option is a right (not an obligation) to PURCHASE stock at a set price, right? Not sell?

      Nothing about this forced Garriott to sell. He made that decision independantly. Furthermore, you can exercise your stock option at any time once the right vests. He could have exercised his option to buy up to 50% of the 120,000 shares by 2002, when NCSoft’s shares were triple the stock option purchase price. 

      The fact that he elected not to exercise the option sooner demonstrates poor business planning. No one *forced* him to not exercise sooner, nor did anyone *force* him to exerise the option when shares were at $52 a share (the option price: $99), and no one forced him to sell however many shares he sold thereafter. 

       He also was ok with the Open Letter from General British, which made it clear to the public that the choice to leave was his. It’s more likely that the conversation went like this:

       "Your game has cost us millions and is a money pit. We’re shutting it down, and we no longer wish to continue doing business. You can resign and save face or we can fire you."

       "Ok, I resign."

    already wrote about this: 


  15. Xyph says:

     I loved Tabula Rasa, it was one of the best games I have ever played and I liked it more than Wow, Gw, EQ, and all the MMOs I played. I was seriously pissed when the servers shut down because they released tons of patches that just took the game to the next level. That game was wayyy better than WOW and I loved the unique gameplay that TR offered. Screw all you guys who haven’t played the game and trash talk it that game was amazing even though only 6 people played it lol..

  16. Vaemer-Riit Sneaky Cheetah says:

    I loved Tabula Rasa, It was a much beter game than WoW was at 9-10 months old.


    I played that game from open beta to the last day it was live and was extremly sad to see it go.


    The game did have flaws and yes it did have bugs but EVERY MMO will have them especialy so early in its life.

  17. Xveers says:

    The issues seen here aren’t to to with Tabula Rasa’s supposed quality (Haven’t played it so I can’t say) nor does it have any real bearing with how much cash is in Garriott’s swimming pool.

    The issue is that NC Soft may have strongarmed Garriott into "leaving" as opposed to actually firing him, forcing him to then exercise a stock option at an incredibly bad time, as opposed to him maintining the option till the market improved (assuming NC Soft lives that long). Period.

    As an additional note, it certianly appears that Garriott went ahead and got the needed permissions to go away to go into space. His leave seems to have been worked out considerably ahead of time, and I doubt that he would have neglected that one detail given how many -other- hoops he had to leap through in order to get into earth orbit. Going up there isn’t like making a run to the corner 7-11. Timelines for orbital insertion and deorbiting, as well as quarantine times are all worked out months in advance. This means, additionally, that NC Soft specifically timed their "discussions" at a time that Garriott would not be able to respond at full tilt. The timing suggests that they specifically set it up to hit him in the knees to help lower their financial obligations as they completely offloaded themselves from his creation.

    In the end, it’s dirty pool on NC Soft’s part. Not that I didn’t expect it from them though. Personally, I expect either a settlement or them to lose, in the end.


    Best keep your wits about you: The gears of life are always spinning, and ignorance eventually means you’ll get caught in them.

  18. GoodRobotUs says:

    To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of MMO’s in any shape or form, I’ve tried a few:

    Eve Online – Grief Online

    Wow – ‘Just give us money and we’ll move the level ceiling up a bit, till we need more money…’

    Guild Wars – Lag Wars.

    Second Life – Lots of Second, no Life.

    Ultima Online – ‘Which one’s me?

    But I do respect Garriot for what he’s done, he might be several barns short of a chicken shed, but he was also one of the forefathers of the graphical MMO, before he and his ilk came along, Online Gaming consisted of MUD-like games which described everything in text.

    In truth, most of the worst comments were on Kotaku, however, I don’t have to like Garriot, or his games, to respect the work he has done.

  19. rtrickey says:

    $24M?  I’m betting that’s more than the entire TR development team was paid over the life of the game –a critical and commerical failure that Garriott had complete creative control over, and complete responsibility for.  

    This is insane greed on both NCSoft’s and Garriott’s part.  It’s no different than CEOs who tank their company yet claim they "earned" their obscene compensation because of their irreplaceable "talent".  (Talent at what?  Lighting mountains of cash on fire?)

    F ’em both.

  20. Defenestrator says:

    How is that any different than your blind support of this guy?  Hypocrite much?

    If he’s due the money, they’ll have their day in court.  My only statements here have amounted to:


    1) There are two sides to this story.

    2) Tabula Rasa was a shitty game.

    3) Calling everyone who disagrees with you a WoW fanboy makes you sound like a retard.

    /never played WoW

  21. GamesLaw says:

    And hence the WoW comments. These people can’t be bothered to think anything through, which implies that they are fanboys. In my experience most fanboys that hate on Garriott tend to be WoW fanboys, which would tend to support the "can’t be bothered to think anything through" theory.


    — Dan "SWATJester" Rosenthal; Executive Director,

  22. GoodRobotUs says:

    What annoys me is these people saying ‘He’s rich and his game is crap in my opinion, so he doesn’t deserve to win this case, because I’m not rich and have added absolutely nothing to the gaming world in any way.’

  23. chadachada321 says:

    WoW players won’t be playing games by this guy…? Makes sense to me. People that bash Xbox 360 generally are Sony fanboys, people that bash WoW can be huge RuneScape fanboys (or the other way around). If you support one type of a genre, there’s a chance you’ll extremely dislike the other type, hence the fanboy comment.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  24. Alex says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this statement makes no sense whatsoever?

    What does someone’s MMO preference have to do with whether they like some guy or not?

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  25. ardis says:

    further more…any one who keeps a dead persons body in his basement is rather strange.

    you can see this on his vidio he had made in his house.

    I hope it isnt one of my loved ones..

  26. ardis says:

     what crazy rant?

    don’t ever do a patch for him. I did the TMA-13/ISS ladies patch..

    he and space adventures ate my lunch..

    actually don’t do any business with him.




  27. HarmlessBunny says:

    If Garriot is not just doing a crazy rant (he has done it in the past…) and actually speaking fact, then I hope he takes their asses down. No one deserves to basically be told: " You are fired. Oh and you have two options about severance, make the choice….NOW! "

  28. biggie says:

    Kotaku broke the lawsuit news? how you guys got the details?

    How the Ultima RPG master lost millions? with that kind of new I may keep on hip hop music news or just make sure I got a glass of cold water LOL.

    Those space flights are crazy in my idea anyway.

  29. GoodRobotUs says:

    That’s some pretty underhand behaviour from NCSoft if that really is the way things played out.

    I suppose the really sad fact is that, after reading about the behaviour of some other companies recently, I wouldn’t be all the surprised if it was.

  30. jedidethfreak says:

    I played it.  It sucked.  And please, don’t accuse me of being a WoW fanboy, because I play Guild Wars.



    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  31. mondog says:

    No, i’m not a wow bot and I won’t ever advocate computer crack but I did play TR and it was a shitty game, if you’d like me to start listing reasons why, I can make a start but it might take a good long while to get them all noted down however…

    Given the number of people who were playing it when it closed I’d say most of the people who also played it thought it was shitty. Given it was closed after just a year I would NCsoft thought it was pretty shitty also 😉

  32. Hevach says:

    I did play the game. For having one tenth of one percent the player base of WoW, it had more crying on a good day than WoW’s pulled off on class change heavy patch days. The people who played it didn’t seem to think it was that great.

    A great many people hung on to the game hoping it would start going in a better direction – all the pieces were there, the potential was there. But it kept going in the wrong direction, farther and farther down the roads that caused the crying, and it kept losing players. I’m convinced Garriot is forever stuck in the bad old days of MMORPGs and RPGs in general – I don’t know if he honestly feels the old way was better and people just never saw it to give it a chance, or if he’ll be like the few happy TR players who don’t want it to succeed anyway because wowfags and eqheads don’t deserve it. I tend to lean towards the former, but there’s been enough MMOs with potential that just don’t hold a paying player base because they feel the same way.

  33. Defenestrator says:

    How about I tried the game and thought it was shitty?  Is that logical enough?

  34. Alex says:

    It’s a matter of opinion of course, but when the company decides to shut the game down rather than try to squeeze what profit they can out of it, I’d say that’s pretty bad.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  35. jedidethfreak says:

    Actually, you’re wrong.  He would have to prove damages, and, considering what the market has been doing, he probably would have been screwed had he held on to it.  I can see him winning the case, but I doubt he’d be able to prove very much as far as damages are concerned.



    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  36. starsrift says:

    True enough, Zachary.


    And true enough here, though theft and fraud are usually covered by criminal suits whereas this would be a tort, wouldn’t it?


    And thanks for splitting that hair, Mona. 🙂

  37. mona.adele says:

     Stock option= right to PURCHASE. Not an option to sell. You don’t own the stock until you exercise your stock option. Financially he would’ve been better off not selling but holding on to the stock. NCSoft didn’t tell him to sell. They made him buy now, or lose the right to purchase at the contract price later. 

  38. chadachada321 says:

    He doesn’t even need to do that. All he needs to point out is that he was scammed/coerced into selling his stock. Period. That’s theft, fraud, etc and will earn him sooo much more than his potential stock loss. Even if stocks have gone down from the time he sold until now, they still scammed him in such a way so as to be highly illegal.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  39. shinigaminamo says:

     Section III subsection C paragraph 18.  According to the document filed, he was in fact given permission by management to take a leave of absence and go into space.   It would be a plausible defense for NCsoft though if they were able to show that he did NOT have permission for the extended absence.

  40. Defenestrator says:

    Most companies (including every company I’ve ever worked for) have written policies regarding when an employee can take time off and in what increments they can do so.  If NCSoft has such a policy worded in a way that says, "You can not take more than two weeks off at a time.  Any absences longer than such must be approved by [insert corporate drone here].  Failure to communicate or receive approval of such absences may result in immediate termination and loss of benefits," then Garriott doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  (And, yes, a phrase very similar to that is in my employment contract at my Human Resources Dept.)

    Then why would NCSoft tell people the "departure was mutually agreed upon and amicable?"  Because if they announced "We fired Garriott because his game sucked, lost money, and he’s a jerk," then they could get sued for defamation.



  41. Defenestrator says:

    Cancelling a game that is costing money to run because it has under 10,000 subscribers makes financial sense.  Under your logic no company should ever pull the plug on any MMO because they are continuously being patched.

  42. zel says:

    Ya i picked up on that easily but people tend to miss that kind of thing so its not to be unexpected that people will call you out on something you thought would be unmistakable farce. I frequently append /sarcasm when i do that so as to prevent unnecessary fallout lol 😛

    UOs direct competition was EQ, i remember when i started playing EQ, UO fanboys would just complain all day in public channels how much EQ sucked to which the standard reply was, go play UO then, then they would lament all their friends stopped playing and are now playing EQ.


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  43. Orelup says:

    Well mine was just using WoW for satirical purposes, when claiming that UO and WoW were from the same time period.

  44. chadachada321 says:

    What’s with all the World of Warcraft comments, anyways? One was fine and the second was a slight satirical chuckle, but now you guys just look stupid.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  45. Orelup says:

    "He wants an awful lot of money for a guy thats never made anything I found remotely interesting."


    Try not using absolutes like the word never, if you intend to only talk about what he’s done for NCSoft.  If you think i was being overly judgemental on your choice of words, then how about I ask this instead.  WTF does your opinion on the quality of his work have any bearing on what he brought to NCSoft financially/creatively and what he was owed legally?

  46. chadachada321 says:

    If someone stole money from you, committing fraud and other bullshit things like that, you wouldn’t be the slightest bit pissed? Oh wait, he’s rich, so it doesn’t matter. Your comment equates to telling a furniture salesman that the person that stole from him doesn’t matter because you’ve never liked any of that furniture.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  47. Keith K says:

    Ultima is owned by Electronic Arts. How can the success of that series have any bearing on this case against NCSoft?

  48. Orelup says:

    Right, that ultima series was a TOTAL money sink.

    Like, why would you want to play UO when you had games like WoW already on the market.

  49. Keith K says:

    He wants an awful lot of money for a guy thats never made anything I found remotely interesting.

    How many millions did Tabula Rasa flush down the can?

  50. chadachada321 says:

    "If you’re not here on [this] day, we’re considering that your resignation."

    "Well I’m sorry, but I’ll be in SPACE, as I’ve been planning for the past few MONTHS to do so. You’re probably bluffing."

    "It doesn’t matter, we want you here this day. Period. Oh you’re not coming? Space or no space, you need to be here. That’s it. It’s time for you to resign. There’s no other option."

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  51. GameTrades says:

    Wow, you have determined that he is a douche and not entitled to what was promised him in a contract because of the tour you saw of his house?  So what if he is a multi-millionaire?  He worked for it, made the right choices and got paid what companies felt he was worth.  We should all be so fortunate.

    I have met Richard on several occassions as he and I were speakers at a few of the same conferences. Very nice, approachable and down to earth guy.

  52. Defenestrator says:

    Interesting theory.

    "Hey, Garriott, we need you to get out there and promote this game that isn’t selling nearly as well as we had hoped."

    "Nah, I’m going into space."

    "If you do that, don’t bother coming back."

    "You’re bluffing because I’m totally awesome and live in a castle."

  53. Werrick says:

    I have no sympathy for the man whatsoever, he’s a multi-millionaire in his own right even if he gets or got nothing from NCSoft. He’s also kind of a douche…  Anyone see that video tour he gave of his house? Yah… poor, poor little Ricky G.

    Now, having said that if he’s right then I think he should clean them out on principle. So, I have no sympathy for him, but I also think that if this report is accurate and what he’s saying is true then on principle I  support him fully.

    Finally, it occurs to me that we don’t know everything. There is a possibility that the reason why they fired him while he was in quarantine is that they didn’t WANT him to leave his brand new, barely released game for six weeks right after launch and they told him so and he ignored them and went anyway. It’s very likely that HE says he was fired, but the reality is that NCSoft said "If you do this and you’re not in the office on <day> at <time> then we’ll consider that to be your resignation" and he called them on their bluff… and it wasn’t a bluff. In which case he deserved to both lose his job and have it called a resignation.

    I don’t know… I’m only mildly curious about this story, but that thought occured to me.

  54. chadachada321 says:

    But, these one or two guys probably made a couple hundred thousand or a few million from this and secured their place in the business as well.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  55. Rabidkeebler says:

    Thing is, I doubt that this was the company in general.   My guess is that it is just one or two guys, and because of this they are costing NC Soft millions.


    Foaming at the mouth

  56. atesim says:

    Internal politics is what this is. Simple as that.  NCsoft is no more a villain than Garriott is for causing the quagmire that was the shutdown of a very anticipated but ultimately not-well-received game, Tabula Rasa.  The TR team did what they could – its leadership, however, was lack luster at best and this lead to its demise.  Yes, blame should be on Richard and his cronies.  I was surprised that he "chose to part ways," after running the business like they had, this seems a more fitting end.  Always more than one side to the story, lets see if NCsoft can properly articulate their position – no matter how crappy the situation was handled.

  57. GamesLaw says:

    Funny, the people who still played the game didn’t seem to think it was shitty. I bet you’re a WoW-bot: anything that’s not WoW is shitty, right?

    — Dan "SWATJester" Rosenthal; Executive Director,

  58. GameTrades says:

    Listen to who?  The screaming hordes of the internet?  If that is the authority that you are suggesting companies listen to then it’s a good thing Nintendo paid no attention when they launched the Wii. 

  59. mondog says:

    No sympathy, he made a shitty game and wouldn’t listen to anyone else when they told him this, it then took a nose dive and a load of people had to be made redundant. NCSoft should sue him!

  60. Defenestrator says:

    I wonder if NC Soft can countersue for money lost on that shitty game he made for them. 

  61. GamesLaw says:

    Actually, Tabula Rasa was a hell of a lot of fun, and was stable with no market competitors at the time it was nixed. Coincidence?

    — Dan "SWATJester" Rosenthal; Executive Director,

  62. Orelup says:

    and we can’t forget that the only reason tabula rasa made even a cent was because it had Lord British’s name on the box.

  63. E. Zachary Knight says:

    It is not that he could have made a killing in that time, it was the fact that because NCSoft changed his termination reasoning after the fact and thus took his right to sell his stock when he felt it was profitable for him to do so. All he has to show is that the stock improved between the time he was forced to sell and when he filed the court case to prove loss of earnings. Even if that improvement was a penny a share.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  64. starsrift says:

    It might be ironic to look back at this in a couple more years and then see he did well out of it anyway. I guess what I’m saying is that it seems kind of sketchy to insist that the market share for NCSoft will have improved by 2011 and claim lost earnings.

  65. Werrick says:

    Yah, that’s pretty much what I’m suggesting.

    I have no idea if it’s true or not or what the likelihood is, but if this IS the case then I won’t be surprised.

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