MANHATTAN (CN) – MTV Networks trumped up a contract dispute with Red Mile Entertainment, developer of a video game based on MTV’s popular “Jackass” series, “in a bad faith attempt to cut Red Mile out of the royalty stream and take over the Jackass video game for itself,” the game developer claims in New York County Supreme Court.
Red Mile claims MTV signed a five-year contract in March 2005, granting it the right to develop the “Jackass” game for various gaming systems, including Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Game Cube.
Based on that agreement, “and with MTV’s approval at every step,” Red Mile spent more than $13 million developing the game, the developer claims. In order to ensure it would recover the massive up-front costs, Red Mile claims it negotiated a minimum five-year contract and the right to develop a sequel game.
However, less than three years into the contract, MTV abruptly tried to scrap the agreement based on a bogus claim that Red Mile breached the contract, the complaint says.
“Indeed, MTV’s motives became clear when it refused to negotiate any resolution to the trumped up dispute and demanded that Red Mile immediately cease all sales of the game,” Red Mile claims. “At the same time, MTV moved to cut Red Mile out of the picture by going directly to the software developer that Red Mile had retained to code the game, and improperly and without justification demanded that it turn over the Jackass code to MTV.”
Red Mile says MTV made its move after the plaintiff had successfully developed and marketed the Sony PlayStation2 and PlayStation Portable versions of the game.
“MTV knew that once Red Mile had completed the game for PS2 and PSP, it would be relatively inexpensive – and highly profitable – to modify the code developed by Red Mile to roll out games for other gaming platforms and to develop sequel game titles,” the lawsuit claims.
Red Mile demands more than $2 million in lost profits, punitive damages and an order allowing it to develop “Jackass” games for other gaming platforms.
Filing counsel is Richard Tashjian with Tashjian & Padian.