Why I won’t buy Star Control: Origins

(Also available in a detailed version)

What’s the short version?

Stardock is suing the creators of the franchise for millions of dollars, and are trying to claim the original developers’ IP (the “Reiche IP”) as their own.

Stardock’s narrative regarding the Reiche IP has been intensely inconsistent. In 2015, their CEO publicly went on record as having no rights to the Reiche IP. Now, he claims that Stardock can (and will) use the Reiche IP in their game, and even goes so far as to claim the right to veto Paul & Fred’s use of their own IP. Despite buying these rights from Accolade, Stardock is claiming rights well beyond those Accolade ever had.

Stardock won’t even wait for the courts to rule on the matter. It has already advertised that these unlicensed materials will appear in Origins.

Stardock has engaged in a massive PR push, and even their CEO can be found wading in to discussions, casting Stardock as the victims. But the simple truth is that Stardock is the only one trying to stop their competition. Paul and Fred’s only objection to Star Control: Origins is due to this last-minute inclusion of the Reiche IP in the work.

This IP split has never been a secret – it was being discussed even in the 90s. It should have been quite clear exactly what rights Stardock acquired. But Stardock isn’t content with that.

If you buy “Star Control: Origins”, you’re funding an unscrupulous lawsuit. One that could quite possibly wipe out our last, best chance at seeing Star Control 2’s story get the continuation it deserves.

Okay, what’s the long version?

For those that want more than just a TL;DR, I present my case against Stardock.

What can I do?

Spread the word. Make sure people know Stardock’s story is only half the story.

Refuse to support their lawsuit; don’t give Stardock your hard earned money!

If you’ve hit it rich or just want to buy Paul & Fred a coffee as thanks for an amazing game, there’s also their Legal Defense Fund.

But I really want a new Star Control game!

Remember Star Control 3? It didn’t include Paul & Fred, and it wasn’t exactly great. Wait a few weeks for some unbiased reviews to come out. If it’s really the hit of the year, I won’t blame you for giving in to a fun time. But until then, why risk the future of the franchise on a game of unknown quality?

I don’t know what “Star Control” is. Why should I care?

There are two games involved in the dispute: Stardock’s “Star Control: Origins” and Paul & Fred’s “Ghosts of the Precursors.” Paul & Fred are happy to co-exist, but Stardock wants the stage for itself.

There is now a complex legal battle being waged for the future of the franchise. If Paul & Fred win, both games can be published. But if Stardock wins, they’ll seize all rights to “Ghosts of the Precursors”.

Even if you don’t care about the franchise, you should care about small developers having their rights trampled by corporate greed. Despite purchasing little more than the “Star Control” trademark, Stardock is trying to use the legal system to seize IP that was clearly and carefully reserved for the game’s original developers, Paul and Fred.

The original license agreement is clear: Both parties should be able to make a game based on their respective rights. So why is Stardock using the courts to block their competition from doing exactly that?

– Cassie (u/kaminiwa)


Star Control is a registered trademark of Stardock Systems, Inc