Activision Entertainment Holdings Inc. sued game developer Double Fine Productions Inc. on Wednesday to try to stop the release of "Brutal Legend" by rival Electronic Arts.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, claims Double Fine failed to deliver "Brutal Legend" on time. The suit also claims the firm then offered the completed game to EA.
"Brutal Legend," voiced by actor Jack Black, is scheduled for release in October. It features Black as a heavy-metal roadie transported to a mythical ancient world to fight evil.
EA has been heavily promoting the game at this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. A gigantic banner of Black's character, Eddie Riggs, is hanging outside the convention's venue.
The lawsuit claims Activision paid Double Fine about $15 million to develop "Brutal Legend," but the studio missed a key deadline last year. The suit claims Double Fine then said it would need another nine months and $7 million to complete the game.
Activision and Double Fine negotiated to try to keep the game on track, but no agreement was ever reached, according to the court filing. Activision contends it never relinquished its rights to the game and that Double Fine improperly transferred "Brutal Legend" to EA.
The lawsuit states that Activision has suffered "irreparable harm" and will lose not only the game, but also the ability to sell downloadable content based on "Brutal Legend" if the release isn't stopped.
A phone message left at Double Fine's headquarters wasn't returned Thursday. An e-mail message sent to an EA publicist was also not immediately returned.
Activision Entertainment Holdings is the former company known as Vivendi Universal Games and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc. The company has numerous top game franchises in its roster, including the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" series.
EA is also a gaming heavyweight, with rights to the popular "Madden NFL," "Medal of Honor" and "The Sims" franchises.
By Anthony McCartney