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Gearbox Software has been dropped from the ongoing, class-action lawsuit regarding false advertising with the game Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Legal action began in 2013, when Gearbox and Sega were both named in a class-action lawsuit by several plaintiffs for falsely advertising the game. The lawsuit entailed that the demo of the game was not representative of the final product, and directly mislead consumers into purchasing the game based on the polish of the demo.

When released, Aliens: Colonial Marines received a negative reception for noted graphical hiccups and glitches, and uninspired gameplay.

The lawsuit named both Gearbox and Sega, but Sega would moved to settle the lawsuit by offering $1.25 million to the damaged parties. Gearbox filed a dismissal last year, claiming that they were only involved in the project as the developer, and not publisher or advertiser.  Sega, however, blamed Gearbox for mishandling the marketing of the game.

According to recent reports by Mike Futter of Game Informer, on May 12, U.S District Court Judge James Donato denied the original motion for a class certification in the lawsuit. He also denied Gearbox’s dismissal, but in a case managing meeting, the attorneys for the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case against Gearbox with prejudice (meaning they can’t be sued again for the same case) in return for Gearbox to not seek legal fees.

Judge Donato denied the request for a class certification due to doubt over the plaintiffs’ claims of seeing the demo videos prior to purchasing the final product, as well as the fact that there was not a single “misrepresentation” alleged of the game, but rather numerous charges made over time prior to the games release. Another problem was the class certification was too broad, as the plaintiffs’ attorneys attempted to add all purchasers of the game as a part of the class action.

Judge Donato also denied Gearbox’s dismissal, on the grounds that Gearbox cannot exercise an “arbitration” clause in the EULA. Basically, the court stated Gearbox’s claim to dismiss the case because of an arbitration clause does not hold up, because Gearbox does not claim ownership of the game itself, but only the online service of the game. Donato ruled that “Licensed Works” in this case mean “online features of games and products,” which the lawsuit is not about.

Currently, both parties have sixty days to comply with the deal before the decision is made final. Both the plaintiffs and Sega are now reviewing their settlement and have until June 2nd to decide how to proceed in the case, as the previous settlement offer of $1.25 million was made when the class-action was still in progress.

This is the second lawsuit this month Gearbox would settle. The first involved the ownership of the Duke Nukem IP, which was settled out of court with 3D Realms and their parent company, Interceptor.

So with the dust settled, was justice finally served? Leave your comments below.


Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.