Activision and Double Fine settle lawsuit over Brutal Legend game


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Activision and Double Fine have buried the hatchet over Brutal Legend. Credit: Double Fine

Activision Blizzard this afternoon confirmed it had settled with Bay Area game developer Double Fine over the release of a highly anticipated heavy-metal music title, Brutal Legend, featuring actor Jack Black.

Video game settlement: An earlier version of this blog post and an Aug. 7 article in the Business section about Activision Blizzard Inc. reaching a Superior Court settlement with Double Fine Productions Inc. over Electronic Arts Inc.’s planned release of Double Fine’s video game Brutal Legend said that Activision probably received little or no compensation and may have settled to avoid losing in open court. The Times had no knowledge of the settlement terms and should not have speculated on the amount paid or the motivation for settling.


‘We have settled the lawsuit,’ said Activision spokeswoman Maryanne Lataif. ‘However, the terms are confidential.’

The two companies have been embroiled in litigation since June, when Activision filed a lawsuit to prevent Double Fine from releasing the game in October. The title had originally been part of the games portfolio of Vivendi Games, which last year merged with Activision.

Believing that as part of the deal Activision had declined to publish Brutal Legend, Double Fine partnered with Electronic Arts to complete and publish the game. Activision’s lawsuit threw a monkey wrench in those plans with the contention that Activision still had the publishing rights to the game. An EA spokesman likened the situation to ‘a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better-looking guy.’

But tensions seemed to subside when a court hearing, set for this morning in Santa Monica, was canceled. Now it appears the Brutal Legend show will go on as scheduled.

[Updated at 6:30 p.m.: A person familiar with the settlement, who requested not to be identified because the details are being kept confidential, confirmed that Brutal Legend would be released in October, as Electronic Arts had previously planned. The settlement ends all litigation involving Double Fine, EA and Activision over the game.]

-- Alex Pham and Ben Fritz

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.