Rune 2 publisher is suing Human Head for abandoning game, withholding assets – UPDATE

By Sherif Saed, Friday, 3 January 2020 19:42 GMT

Rune 2 assets and the source code are now in the hands of its publisher, Ragnarok.

Update

Ragnarok has secured assets and the source code for Rune 2, after obtaining a hard drive with the needed files.

The assets were previously in the hands of the game’s Developer, Human Head, which was acquired by Bethesda in November.

Ragnarok filed suit against Bethesda and Human Head in December and was seeking $100 million in compensation plus the assets in order to continue supporting the game with DLC.

Whether the assets and source code now in the hands of the publisher has resulted in the lawsuit being dropped is not known as of press time, but things seem to be getting close to being resolved (thanks, GI.biz).

The original story follows.

Original

Rune 2 publisher Ragnarok has filed a legal complaint against developer Human Head Studios.

It looks like the story of Human Head Studios may yet have a new chapter. The studio recently shuttered following the release of Rune 2. Rather than letting go of staff, the team was absorbed by Bethesda as part of the new Roundhouse Studios.

Roundhouse is Human Head’s new name, but little else has changed. The move surprised many, not least of which Rune 2’s own publisher Ragnarok. Now, the company has taken Human Head to court.

In the lawsuit [PDF], Ragnarok is seeking $100 million in compensation, and acquisition of Rune 2’s assets and source code so it can continue supporting the game.

The filing is big, but it reveals what appears to be troubled development and a drop in communication towards the end. Ragnarok said Human Head had agreed to an 11-milestone contract that would see the studio receive payments upon clearing each milestone. Human Head would take on development duties and community management, leaving Ragnarok to fund and market.

However, Ragnarok alleges that due to “delays, errors, and mismanagement” the number of milestones expanded to 23, and the company says all completed milestones were paid. Moving on from Rune 2’s troubled development, the lawsuit reveals that Ragnarok was not aware of the Bethesda deal.

The company alleges that it was difficult to get the developer to respond to contact towards the end of the game’s development. Ragnarok was told of Human Head’s decision to shut down just three business days before the game’s launch, though without a mention of Bethesda’s involvement.

Ragnarok says Rune 2 rights belong to it, but it is currently unable to continue DLC development and post-launch support because it has yet to receive the game’s core assets, which it says it owns as part of the initial contract.

The publisher echoed these statements in a forum post, where it also stressed its commitment to Rune 2.

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