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Bohemia sues Codemasters over Operation Flashpoint

By on March 2, 2009
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Following my post about SimBin losing the plot at Slightly Mad Games, Bohemia Interactive has jumped on the bandwagon.

According to GamesIndustry.biz, Bohemia Interactive’s lawyer has sent a letter to Codemasters complaining about the marketing of Operation Flashpoint sequel, Dragon Rising.

The letter argues that while Codemasters has the right to the name “Operation Flashpoint”, the sequel uses none of the technology or game engine that powered the original open-world combat simulator.

As the recession bites, developers will struggle harder to get new projects; at the same time, as we saw at Christmas, gamers are buying fewer titles, although top titles can still get massive sales. In that environment, developers will be significantly more protective of their role on a given title, while publishers will be keen to exploit brands which have consumer recognition.

It’s a brave developer which threatens legal action against a major publisher which owns the rights to a key IP that the developer created – it sets a dangerous precedent, and other publishers might think twice about working with Bohemia in the future now that they have shown their litigious nature. Bohemia must have considered this carefully, and concluded that the risk of scaring off publishers was less than letting Codemasters “getting away” with claiming that Dragon Rising is a sequel to Operation Flashpoint.

Personally, I think that they are very wrong.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • derricklange

    They are idiots – they sold their IP to a publisher and are suing because they don't get a licensing fee for the tech? The new game is better than anything they've ever created or likely could create (have to say in my opinion so they don't sue). Never bite the had that feeds you. Duh!

  • derricklange

    They are idiots – they sold their IP to a publisher and are suing because they don't get a licensing fee for the tech? The new game is better than anything they've ever created or likely could create (have to say in my opinion so they don't sue). Never bite the had that feeds you. Duh!

  • While Bohemia doesn’t have a huge number of commercial games under its belt for 10 years of development (OpFlash + expansions, and ArmA) what it does have is of incredibly high quality, and entirely unique. It’s not often you can say that, so I’d disagree that they’ve not done much – don’t forget they spent a good deal of those ten years working on military simulations for the armed forces.

    Interesting interview with up Marek Spanel at RPS: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/02/27/bohemia-theres-only-one-real-flashpoint-sequel/#more-8505

  • Jason Campana

    This is a dumb move by Bohemia. In this economy, it’s not smart to publicly make enemies in your industry, especially when you haven’t done much to begin with.

  • //end devil’s advocate//

  • I can certainly see the potentially harmful nature of this move, but then Bohemia is a developer with a very specific, rare and commercially proven focus (warfare simulation). As developers go, perhaps they are less at risk of losing business than most?

    Additionally, maverick a move though it may be, Codemasters is trading shamelessly on Bohemia’s well-earned reputation, and full marks to the studio for standing up for itself.