Entertainment “news” site TMZ broke the news that Frontier Developments is suing Atari over unpaid royalties. Yes, TMZ. Seriously.
We live in acrimonious times. Fresh off the back of news that Crytek has been shuttering studios after allegedly failing to pay its staff, again, comes the news that Frontier Developments is suing Atari over unpaid royalties.
The suit relates to theme park builder RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, published by Atari in 2004 but developed by, you guessed it, Frontier Developments. The background is that when Atari went bankrupt in 2013 the contract was amended by Frontier, presumably as an arrangement with Atari’s administrators as an outstanding creditor, to ensure that Atari were able to pay some of their debts and Frontier Developments were able to reclaim some revenue.
Atari have since risen like ET from the garbage dump, however, and are (somewhat) profitable as a publisher again since 2014. The crux of the lawsuit is that Frontier Developments have seen figures that suggest the sales performance of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is better than Atari have reported to them, and as a result, their royalties should be higher.
Significantly higher: $2.2m (US) in fact, or around £1.8m at today’s rates. Ouch.
Frontier Developments COO David Walsh issued the following statement to Eurogamer:
“We can confirm Frontier is currently pursuing a complaint against Atari. We have attempted to resolve this issue without legal action since April 2016. We have so far been denied our contractual right to audit by Atari, and we are unfortunately left with no other way to resolve our concerns. We are unable to offer any further comment while the matter is subject to due legal process.”
At least Frontier Developments can be safe in the knowledge that their latest theme park-based simulator, Planet Coaster, is doing rather well.