Sega of America wants to settle a lawsuit that accuses it and developer Gearbox Software of misleading consumers with advertising and trade-show demonstrations of Aliens: Colonial Marines… and then releasing a substandard product. The publisher has reportedly agreed to pay out $1.25 million in order to settle the class-action suit but documents uncovered by Polygon show that Gearbox Software continues to fight against the lawsuit.
Colonial Marines was ill-received by critics and consumers who bought the game when it was released in February 2013. Some consumers who bought the game were so upset at its lack of quality and polish that they accused both Sega and Gearbox of misrepresenting the game in public at trade events and in marketing materials leading up to its release.
By May 2013, a class-action lawsuit was filed in a Californian court, accusing both Gearbox and Sega of misleading the public.
"Unfortunately for their fans, [the] Defendants never told anyone – consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters – that their 'actual gameplay' demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers," the suit reads.
If the $1.25 million settlement is approved, $312,500 will be earmarked for legal fees, $200,000 will go to admin fees, $2,500 will go to the plaintiff and the remaining lump sum of $735,500 will be used to refund customers who purchased the game. North American customers who bought the game before February 13 will need to fill out a questionnaire and could be eligible for a refund (they won't receive any money beyond what they initially paid).
Gearbox Software is likely fighting the settlement because it does not feel that it should be part of the lawsuit. It recently filed a motion requesting the court to remove it as a defendant, arguing that it was not involved with the promotional activities of the product. That claim is still being deliberated.
As is the case with these types of things, a condition of the settlement would be that Sega's payout is not considered an admission of guilt or wrongdoing.