Sunday evening, a thread on Resetera by KSweely updated the situation between Little Orbit and Descendent Studios. Little Orbit filed a lawsuit against Descendent Studios last month, accusing the latter of breach of contract, fraud, negligent representation, and trade libel/commercial disparagement. Little Orbit has also requested declaratory relief, a legal judgment determining themselves the "owner of all intellectual property created by Defendants in connection with the game Descent: Underground, including but not limited to any and all Intellectual Property Rights in the 'Publisher Materials' as defined in the Development Agreement."
The update follows the news from last August. Descent: Underground was caught in limbo as Little Orbit refrained from publishing. Eric Peterson remarked that the game was, "literally done," in August. TechRaptor has previously covered the situation in August. Peterson theorized at the time that Little Orbit wanted sole control over the intellectual property, and so was delaying the release to put pressure on Descendent Studios. When commenting on frustrations that Descendant Studios could not adequately explain the situation, Peterson made a series of remarks on the Descent: Underground Discord server.
Two years ago our top paid employee made 24k, if this falls completely apart, it will suck, but no one scammed or stole anything.
Little Orbit interpreted Peterson's comments last year as trade libel. To summarize the story of Descent: Underground's development:
- A Kickstarter project for the Descent: Underground game in April 2015 raised over $600,000 and continued funding.
- Descent: Underground spent about 4 years in early access.
- The studio announced via Steam their plans to put the game on BrightLocker in 2017. BrightLocker shut down in 2019.
- Eric Peterson comments on delays via the Discord server between May and July 2019.
- Little Orbit files a lawsuit against Descendent Studios for breach of contract, libel, and fraud.
Little Orbit CEO Matthew Scott reached out to TechRaptor with a comment and wrote up a press release about the news.
To start, I cannot know how frustrating this situation has been for you. I want to personally apologize for the lack of communication. Little Orbit remains under non-disclosure, and we are engaged in an active lawsuit, so we are severely limited in what we can share at this time.
Scott also provided some clarity regarding the situation. Descendent Studios has shut down their websites and forums and ceased production on Descent: Underground. Eric Peterson confirmed this. Little Orbit has attempted other avenues to rectify the situation. In addition, Little Orbit did not receive any Kickstarter money and cannot refund any funds. However, as there is no release date, Little Orbit has attempted to process refunds for any orders they took.
As the situation develops, be sure to check back with TechRaptor for future updates regarding Little Orbit and Descendant Studios. In the meantime, please be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!