The legal battle between Stardock and Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III started back in 2017 after they claimed they still owned the rights to certain elements of the franchise. The original designers of Star Control: Famous Battles of the Ur-Quan Conflict, Volume IV, or simply Star Control for short, Ford and Reiche escalated their case in December last year with a DMCA takedown of Stardock's Star Control: Origins. About a month later, the game was back on Steam, but the legal battle was still mostly under wraps, as Stardock CEO Brad Wardell commented on Twitter at the time.
Now we know the dispute was settled "amicably and in a way where the fans of Star Control and The Ur-Quan Masters are the biggest winners." according to Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III. In a blog post, the designers confirmed that they are no longer challenging Stardock's rights to the IP while stating that the development of their own spiritual successor of The Ur-Quan Masters will continue. The designers claim to be "happy and relieved" that the settlement has been reached, assuring that there will be no further issues for fans of the franchise. Perhaps most interestingly in it, both parties describe that there is a paragraph in the document about bees as Brad Wardell is giving Fred and Paul money from his own beehives, and Paul will give Brad some bottles of his homemade mead.
Stardock has also posted on it and shared information that the resolution happened when the two sides talked to each other and found common ground. In essence, Star Control classic games will return to storefronts, Star Control: Origins will continue as will The Ur-Quan Masters. Both sides have come to an agreement who has access to what, and what differentiates the races in each. To help with that, Paul is creating some new races for Star Control: Origins as well.
Moreover, we can peruse a legal document, hosted online by the US Patent and Trademark Office, which confirms that Ford and Reiche's studio Frungy Games "hereby withdraws with prejudice its opposition" to Stardock's trademark for Star Control. Importantly, the settlement details aren't being kept secret, and while they aren't releasing all the papers both sides are discussing it openly, with Ford and Reiche suggesting that they will share more details while at E3 this week. Stardock's statement to GamesIndustry.biz is very concise, but fans of the franchise should expect some news.
As of now, we don't have any further details than what's already publicly available. We should have more information for all Star Control fans very, very soon.What are your thoughts on the end of this legal dispute? Will Stardock build upon the foundation of Star Control: Origins? Let us know in the comments below!