Games Industry

“We first talked about honey and bees, and then settled the dispute”: the creators of the Star Control series ended the conflict with Stardock


The proceedings on the rights to the gaming franchise lasted for almost two years, after which the parties reached an amicable settlement.

Brad Wardell, Fred Ford and Paul Raike at E3 2019

The conflict between developers began after Paul Raike and Fred Ford, the authors of the Star Control series, decided to release Ghost of the Precursors in 2017, a direct sequel to Star Control II. However, the rights to the franchise at that time already belonged to Stardock, which announced the prequel Star Control: Origins.

In June 2019, Paul Raike and Fred Ford announced the completion of a dispute with Stardock. The developers realized that “the difference between victory and defeat in court will be minimal,” after which they personally called Brad Wardell, the head of a competing studio.

However, before going on to discuss business issues, Paul Raike decided to talk to Brad Wardell about their common hobby – beekeeping.

As soon as I [Paul Raike] got through to Brad, I said: “Before we start discussing the court proceedings, let’s talk about bees.” Our conversation about honey, bees and their stings lasted long enough, after which we discussed business issues.

Our position was this: both we and Brad hardly want to continue to fight in court, but we like to create something new – so we suggested to Brad to stop mutual accusations and litigation and focus on a more constructive outcome.

Fred Ford and Paul RaikeStar Control Series creators

As a result of the negotiations, Fred Ford and Paul Raike came to a peace agreement with Brad Wardell. According to their contract, Stardock will continue to release new games in the Star Control franchise, and Ford and Raike will take on their own series, Ur-Quan Masters. Among other things, they also pledged to change the name of the game Ghosts of the Precursors to “less banal.”


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