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Firefall: Red 5 and Webzen Enter Legal Dispute

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

According to a pair of press release statements, global publisher Webzen and Red 5 have entered into legal wrangling centered around the development and publication of Firefall. Red 5 Studios has filed for arbitration against Webzen for "alleged breach of obligations" and is seeking to recoup $5 million. Webzen has responded by saying that it has more than fulfilled its obligations and vigorously denies the allegations.

From Red 5:

“We are deeply disappointed that Webzen has forced us to react this way,” said Red 5 CEO Mark Kern. “Since day one, our goal has been to craft a revolutionary gaming experience, get that game into the hands of as many people as possible, and do so utilizing the free to play model. Sadly, we do not believe that Webzen has lived up to its obligations under our agreement, which isn’t fair to our passionate team at Red 5 or to our supportive fans in Asia.” Kern confirms that the arbitration will not disrupt Red 5’s continued development of the game. Red 5 still plans to self-publish the game in the United States and Europe and will offer Firefall as a free digital download that’s free of any monthly fees. Webzen continues to hold publishing rights in Asia as well as a few other territories.

From Webzen (via email press document):

As the publisher of the game in territories other than North America and Europe, WEBZEN has patiently waited for the completion of the game for five years despite numerous delays in development. The game, for which WEBZEN has invested nearly $25 million, is not yet complete, and we are dismayed that Red 5 has initiated this dispute before we are able to enjoy the results of our investment.

We'll keep you posted on this developing situation.

UPDATE: An open letter has been posted by Red 5's CEO Mark Kern to fans of Firefall.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon

    Sueing people that are funding you is never a good idea.

  • AbotAbot Nashville, TNPosts: 22Member

    so this game may disappear for awhile then huh

  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXPosts: 453Member Uncommon

    Sounds like this is all about Asia and not worldwide. Still hoping it is released soon. Tired of waiting for the crumbs that we have seen.

  • UnshraUnshra Hanover, MDPosts: 382Member

    So what exactly is that Webzen did or did not do that is causing Red 5 to seek legal action?

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  • UnlightUnlight Ottawa, ONPosts: 2,540Member

    Originally posted by Unshra

    So what exactly is that Webzen did or did not do that is causing Red 5 to seek legal action?

     Yeah, it would be good to know what's behind the dispute.

  • SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News Manager The Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

    According to all the information we received from Webzen, they haven't even gotten a copy of the arbitration documents yet so are reserving further comment. We'll keep you posted as we hear more.

    Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
    Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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  • genclaymoregenclaymore Southfield, MIPosts: 43Member Common

    Looks like this game may not come out at all if they dont win. Tho I was looking foward to this game to. Maybe either some one else picks it up or they win and go with a better pub.

  • FadedbombFadedbomb Aiken, SCPosts: 2,081Member

    A pathetic grab for more money to publish in NA & Euro on Red 5's part. Seriously, who the heck sues someone funding their company?! What did Webzen not do, give them MORE money for development?

     

    Seriously, Webzen has been advertising the CRAP out of Firefall in Asia for the past couple months, and Webzen's press release just gave me a sadface since they sounded sad (lol?).

    The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
    Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.

  • EliteSinEliteSin Detroit, MIPosts: 5Member

    If none of you remember, go look up Huxley: The Dystopia, a game that Webzen put into development in 2006, and cancelled in 2010 after holding a shit load of betas for the game and gathering so much hype. I was a serious follower of that game. I'm just letting people that are unaware, Webzen is one of the least dependable game Publishers/Developers with loads of shit history and many failure to launch games.

    If Red5 breaks free and does it themselves, or gets another company. Seriously, anything is better than Webzen.

    That was Legit.

  • cerebrixcerebrix Orange, CAPosts: 566Member

    if they filed for arbitration they arent suing.  arbitration isnt the same thing as suing.

     

    arbitration basically means (for those that dont know this), there is a disagreement that one of the two parties doesnt feel can be resolved on its own and said party wants a third party to moderation a discussion to resolve that issue. 

    Games i'm playing right now...
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  • Daffid011Daffid011 Posts: 7,831Member Uncommon

    Such a shame, this game looks pretty cool.

     

    It sounds like Red5 was promised X dollars and Webzen isn't giving the full amount?  

  • r5s_Phobosr5s_Phobos Irvine, CAPosts: 8Member

    I can't comment on a lot of this, but I would like to ask that you please keep in mind that there are two sides to every story. Our CEO, Mark Kern, posted an open letter to our community last Friday regarding this issue. You can read that letter at the following URL...

     

    http://www.firefallthegame.com/community/threads/red-5-fights-for-firefall.5964/

  • ScorpionOneScorpionOne Mechanicville, NYPosts: 190Member Uncommon

    Ok, as a former Criminal Justice student, Phobos, I read the article.  From your perspective:

     

    quote:  "The crux of the matter is that the Webzen we see today is not the Webzen that Red 5 partnered with at the beginning of this project. The original executives are all gone, and new management has replaced them. Unfortunately, we do not feel the new management of Webzen has honored their obligations towards Firefall, particularly in Asia. The current management of Webzen is a stark contrast to the original CEO and executives who were once so excited to work with us on the game.  To date, Red 5 has been shouldering the burden of marketing in the US by itself, without assistance from Webzen."

    -Unless this is specified in your contract, this is going to be a very weak argument.  You're making the game.  It's YOUR game.  "Feeling" they aren't fulfilling thier obligation isn't actaully proof they're vioalting contract.  You need hard evidence that they are intentionally breaking contract.

    quote: "In the US and Europe, we will continue to develop, market and operate Firefall. Unfortunately, in Asia, what we feel is Webzen’s lack of motivation leaves much to be desired in our opinion. We regret that Webzen’s actions, or lack of actions, are causing undue stress among Firefall fans in Asia and elsewhere. By seeking a termination of the agreement, we hope we can find a better way to ensure that Firefall reaches everybody in Asia in the manner that gamers deserve."

    -Again, "Feeling" is going to be a weak argument.  Unless, again, it's specified that Webzen hasn't been specifically doing what is said in the contract. Hard evidence, my boy.  Also, if the contract is vaguely worded or allows for minor loopholes (which is what they MIGHT be doing if what your suggesting is true), then you might run into trouble in that respect.

     

    Just my two cents.

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  • SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News Manager The Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

    Originally posted by r5s_Phobos



    I can't comment on a lot of this, but I would like to ask that you please keep in mind that there are two sides to every story. Our CEO, Mark Kern, posted an open letter to our community last Friday regarding this issue. You can read that letter at the following URL...



     



    http://www.firefallthegame.com/community/threads/red-5-fights-for-firefall.5964/


     

    Thanks for the link! It's been noted in the news article.

    Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
    Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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  • KabaalKabaal Edinburgh, ScotlandPosts: 3,012Member Uncommon

    The further they distance themselves from Webzen the better. People associate money grubbing F2P companies with those like Perfect World, yet don't realise that webzen are even worse. They are an unscrupulous bunch who stop at nothing to ensure maximum revenue.

  • SlothnChunkSlothnChunk Kansas City, MOPosts: 460Member Uncommon

    I'm not a lawyer and haven't read the details of the contract, but it's going to be hard to prove Webzen failed to fufill certain marketing obligations for a game with a 'late 2011' release window unless the contract is incredibly vague and allows the developer to use the marketing funds whenever and however they like.

    It's also going to hard prove Webzen doesn't have a major long-term interest in this game especially if they really have already spent $25 million in development costs. A publisher with that much already invested is going do to everything to recoup their intial investment and make a profit. So for them to blatently violate their contract and abondon their marketing duties would seem idiotic on Webzen's part (and easy to prove if in clear violation of the contract).

  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,706Member Uncommon

    Oh dear...............

    If I invested $25 Million in a game sure as hell I'd want some return

    Having said that I am still excited about Firefall

  • rtbbvrrtbbvr Callahan, FLPosts: 145Member Uncommon

    Awww. sadface. I mean yes by all means I would want a return on investment too, but it is sad to see a possible gem of a game delayed like this.

  • kishekishe aitooPosts: 1,960Member Uncommon

    Webzen got Ponzi schemed.

  • mlauzonmlauzon Toronto, ONPosts: 766Member

    "...to our supportive fans in Asia.”

    What about their fans in North America?

    --
    Michael
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  • BlackhoundBlackhound Posts: 48Member Uncommon

    Is this a death knell?

  • r5s_Phobosr5s_Phobos Irvine, CAPosts: 8Member

    Red 5 owns all distribution and publishing rights in North America and Europe.

  • SlothnChunkSlothnChunk Kansas City, MOPosts: 460Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by r5s_Phobos

    Red 5 owns all distribution and publishing rights in North America and Europe.

    So why do they feel they are owed $5 million for NA/EU marketing for a game months away from release?

  • AsheramAsheram Posts: 1,971Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by EliteSin

    If none of you remember, go look up Huxley: The Dystopia, a game that Webzen put into development in 2006, and cancelled in 2010 after holding a shit load of betas for the game and gathering so much hype. I was a serious follower of that game. I'm just letting people that are unaware, Webzen is one of the least dependable game Publishers/Developers with loads of shit history and many failure to launch games.



    If Red5 breaks free and does it themselves, or gets another company. Seriously, anything is better than Webzen.


     

     Hehe I agree with you and I am relieved that it is not Webzen that NA is relying on to be able to play Firefall as I fear that Huxley probably will never see the light of day in the west.

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  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    All I can say is this kind of starts to look like SGW star gate worlds all over again, except with different company names.

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