Netflix has been sued for breach of contract by a company that was creating a game based on the forthcoming “Rebel Moon” sci-fi films by Zack Snyder.
In a lawsuit, Evil Genius Games said it had begun working with Netflix in early 2023 to develop a tabletop role-playing game based on “Rebel Moon” with a delivery date to coincide with the first film’s streaming release on Dec. 22, 2023. Evil Genius paid Netflix for a license, with an agreement to share profits — but earlier this year, Netflix terminated the deal, alleging that Evil Genius violated confidentiality agreement for “Rebel Moon,” per the complaint.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, seeks unspecified monetary damages. (Snyder is not named as a defendant in the complaint.) A copy of the lawsuit is available at this link.
A company rep said Netflix declined to comment.
“Our aim is to ensure our team is recognized for their fantastic work, and that we can release this game for millions of [tabletop RPG] enthusiasts to enjoy,” Evil Genius CEO David Scott said in a statement. “It’s disheartening to see Netflix backpedal on content that was jointly showcased and had received their prior consent. We urge our supporters to contact Netflix and Zack Snyder to push for the release of this game.”
Part 1 of Snyder’s “Rebel Moon,” titled “A Child of Fire,” is scheduled to premiere Dec. 22, with Part 2, titled “The Scargiver,” set to debut April 19, 2024. The film follows an enigmatic young woman (played by Sofia Boutella) who must search for fighters to battle an impending invasion by the despotic ruler Regent Balisarius (Fra Free).
Separately, Netflix has a deal with San Mateo-based Super Evil Megacorp (Vainglory, Catalyst Black) to develop a four-player co-op action video game set in the “Rebel Moon” universe, which will be available exclusively to Netflix members. A release date for the title hasn’t been announced.
Snyder said in a podcast in March 2023 that a tabletop game based on “Rebel Moon” was in the works, “lauding the work of Evil Genius’ team of creators,” according to the games company.
Evil Genius agreed to pay Netflix an upfront licensing fee of $7,500, followed by payments of $7,500 by Feb. 1, 2024, and $10,000 by Feb. 1, 2025, as well as to “share profits derived from the Licensed Articles with Netflix,” the lawsuit says.
According to its lawsuit, Evil Genius halted other projects to focus on the “Rebel Moon” game. By May, Evil Genius said, it had produced a 228-page World Bible (which vastly expanded on the universe envisioned by Snyder), a 430-page Player’s Guide and a 337-page Game Master’s Guide. According to the lawsuit, the initial script for “Rebel Moon” was “missing background information vital to the story as a whole and to the world,” and Evil Genius filled in “all the missing pieces” along with “a cohesive backstory for the entire Rebel Moon franchise.”
On May 25, 2023, Netflix terminated the agreement with Evil Genius, claiming Evil Genius had violated confidentiality provisions in its contract by sharing artwork at an industry trade show one month earlier, according to the complaint. In the lawsuit, Evil Genius said the termination came as a surprise because it had sent the artwork to Netflix in advance of the event, the Game Manufacturers Association Exposition (GAMA), and Netflix had approved its use. Documents containing the artwork were handed out to retailers at GAMA by Evil Genius’ staff and two Netflix employees, the lawsuit asserts.
Two weeks later, Netflix notified Evil Genius that all of its work on the project “belongs solely and exclusively to Netflix,” according to the lawsuit. “It became clear that Netflix was simply using the alleged breach and termination to hijack [Evil Genius’] intellectual property and prevent [Evil Genius] from releasing the game,” the suit says.
Evil Genius Games, a Black-owned game publisher, was founded in 2021. Its flagship product is the &D-based Everyday Heroes, which it describes as “the ultimate modern-day gaming platform.” The company sells games based on movies including “The Crow,” “Escape From New York,” “Highlander,” “Kong: Skull Island,” “Total Recall,” “Rambo,” “Pacific Rim” and “Universal Soldier.”
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