Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager for Elemental Fiasco

August 16, 2012 -

Stardock Systems has filed a lawsuit against a former employee claiming that her actions damaged the launch of its strategy game Elemental: War of Magic. The company filed the lawsuit last month in Michigan Eastern District Court. Their complaint contends that when former marketing manager Alexandra Miseta resigned, she "deleted, destroyed, and/or stole promotional materials, analytics data, and trade show information" that was vital to the game's launch.

The company went on to say in its complaint that her actions made it impossible for the developer to complete important marketing efforts and forced them to refocus resources to re-create the missing materials. Those resources, they claim could have been used for further programming, debugging, and polishing of the game prior to its launch.

Stardock's launch of Elemental in 2010 was a disaster that forced the company to apologize to gamers. It was widely panned by critics and players alike, and ultimately the company was forced to lay off some staff and hire new staff to oversee the ongoing development of the game. While Stardock initially made a profit on the game, CEO Brad Wardell said that it would ultimately take a loss because it committed resources towards fixing all the game's bugs and offering future content to customers that felt slighted by the horrible launch product.

The company's lawsuit claims Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Common Law Conversion, Statutory Conversion, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, and Breach of Contract. Stardock is seeking more $1 million in damages, interest, costs, and attorney fees. You can read the complaint here.

Source: Gamasutra


Comments

Re: Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager for Elemental Fiasco

I can see how the marketing aspects might have been affected, but this feels like blaming someone else for poor design and quality control.  if she was just a marketing person she had no influence on how buggy the game was.  Ultimately the only problem would have been lack of marketing due to not having their product marketed..  But that's not what happened, they released a buggy game despite the marketing fiasco.  Now, please tell me how needing to recreate marketing materials translates into releasing a poor product.  I personally don't think this is a valid excuse for a poor product, I do feel they have a claim against damages for lost work, and needing to hire new staff for recreating lost material, but absolutely no claim for lost revenue or any damages based on the poor product they released.

Re: Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager for Elemental Fiasco

That kind of sucks, I hadn't realized that someone sabotaged them like that.


That being said, Elemental WAS a bit of a train wreck. They have made fantastic strides in improving it since then, and Elemental: Fallen Enchantress really feels more like the game everyone was hoping Elemental would be, but the release of the game went badly on an impressive scale. There were core design flaws and such that simply made the game not work.
 

I'm sure they're right, though, in that while the game's release issues were due to major design flaws, having a senior marketing exec resign and trash a bunch of files probably wouldn't have helped their efforts to focus on fixing the game's problems.
 

Not making excuses for Stardock; they screwed up and released a crappy game, it happens. I bought Elemental, though, and I did it for one reason: Stardock's post-release support for their inhouse games is more or less legendary, and if there was one game studio out there that I trusted to admit to taking a crappy game and then do what it takes to fix it, it was Stardock.

 
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