Marvelous AQL Being Sued By Indie Studio For Alleged Hostile Takeover

By Ishaan . November 1, 2012 . 9:00am

Marvelous AQL and localization subsidiary, Xseed, are being sued by an independent developer, according to a Gamasutra report.


Checkpoint, the studio in question, are taking Marvelous AQL to court, claiming that the publisher attempted a hostile takeover and to avoid a $2.5 million payment.


Marvelous AQL allegedly paid Checkpoint $2.5 million as a start-up cost in return for a 35% share of the company and two shipped games by the end of 2012. As part of the deal, Marvelous were to pay another $2.5 million for another two titles shipped in 2013. According to the deal, Checkpoint’s CEO, Brian Wiklem, would retain the remaining shares of his company.


Checkpoint made good on their end of the deal and released two games—AviNation and Party Politics—but Wiklem says that Marvelous are now declining to negotiate the second deal for 2013 and are withholding payments as well.


Wiklem also claims that Marvelous attempted to a hostile takeover of Checkpoint by attempting to buy a majority share in the company from another shareholder, Christopher Masterton, and that, when they were unsuccessful in doing so, they hired away 14 of Checkpoint’s development staff along with Masterston, leaving the company unable to function.


Finally, the complaint filed against Marvelous AQL also claims that the former Checkpoint employees, now supposedly employed at Xseed, are illegally using Checkpoint technology and assets, and that Masterton is withholding login and password information for essential Checkpoint accounts, including their Facebook page.


Checkpoint’s suit against Marvelous AQL claims “at least $5 million” in damages.

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  • Ladius

    Maybe the answer is provided somewhere else, but why should the XSeed ex-Checkpoint employee use any “Checkpoint technology” when XSeed is a company focused only on localizations that apparently has no programming nor development side? They had to recruit a freelance programmer for their Steam releases, but that was it as far as I remember.

    Anyway this is really bad news, I hope things can be settled without any of those companies suffering or having to cut jobs. Losing XSeed, or having its ability to function normally compromised, would be a devastating blow to any western lover of Japanese games.

    • malek86

      Apparently those games Checkpoint worked on were Facebook games, so I’m not sure how a Steam programmer would fit into it.

      This sounds all a little weird, but I won’t be one to speak, or worse, to blindly accuse Checkpoint just because I like Xseed. If they sued, I guess they at least had some basis (especially knowing how much legal costs can add up to). Then again, it could also just be a scare tactic. We’ll see how the situation develops, I guess.

  • Crok425

     Come on… why is the reason for this kind of issue?
    God… I hate this kinds of company that sue another one because of something like this.
    I hope this doesn’t do bad for Book of Shadows localization.

    • Asura

       The reason is explained in the short summary of the situation.
      Read it, maybe?

    • Elvick

      If it’s all actually true, then they have every right to sue.

      There is a legal system for a reason.

      • Crok425

         Even as it may… I still hate it. True, using the other company’s resources is not very cool, I admit that… but what about the other company? What did they do? I read the whole thing, but I took a nap and I forgot.

  • revenent hell

    I feel horrible for Xseed…….It has been one of my favorite localization companies and it would be terrible for them and us if anything happend to them because of this lawsuit…
    Though it sounds to me like checkpoint is just bitter. I mean realy?  Its rare for one person alone to have this type of information as its normall for more than one person to work on these types of accounts. So I dont realy believe that. Normal process states when an employee leaves passwords and log in information gets changed. For indavidual and personal accounts I can understand him having private log in information but something for a company like this I find it incredibly hard to believe he would be the sole person with access to this type of information.

  • Adriaan den Ouden

    Yeah, I seriously doubt that XSEED just hired on 14 more people.  I don’t think 14 more people would fit in their office.

    Seriously, it would probably be a fire hazard.

    • Yerld_CK

      They can set up a new studio in a different building. 

      Businesses change over time, so I’m a bit surprised to see some of the reactions on gaming forums. There’s no supreme law dictating that XSEED will always localize/publish niche games on an exclusive basis.

      Look around us, and we see so many of our favourite companies making smartphone stuff, operating F2P online games, branching out into Facebook, looking into non-Japanese product, etc. Much of this would’ve been unimaginable 6-7 years ago.

      At any rate, Christopher Masterton appears to have joined XSEED last month.

  • Oh how interesting it is to read comments by people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

  • riceisnice

    What do those jerks think they’re doing to my Rune Factory 4 localization?

  • Göran Isacson

    News like these are quite frustrating because, really, what is a person who does not know law supposed to say here? In any other piece of gaming news we can just go with our gut impressions or say what we thought about this and that gameplay factor, but here? Going with your gut here means making “OMFG how dare these people I’ve never heard go after a company I’ve heard of and that I enjoy purely because they at one point hired people who were proficient at creating a product I enjoyed! HEATHENS!”

    And nobody likes comments like that. Nobody should write comments like that. It’s just bad and wrong. I don’t want to be badong, but I still want to say SOMETHING because this is problematic stuff that shouldn’t just be passed over. Sooo… I guess meta-commentary and a general “may justice be done” will have to suffice.

    • Dexward

      And that’s why you should be gnodab.

      • Göran Isacson

        Or at least trained in something more efficient than “nuts to your fist”-fu. Because losing is not winning, no matter what Wimp Lo may believe.

    • Repede91

      I’m not gonna pretend to know all the case law, regular law, and other legislation that is relevant here, but as a paralegal it seems to me Marvelous is at fault.

      Unless of course the indie guy is lying.

      • Göran Isacson

        Always that possibility, yes. I hope that if they’re bringing this into a real court of law they’ve got an actual case though, because I don’t know how good an outright lie will fly for them there…

        Also, what is a “paralegal?” A student of law, perhaps?

  • Arrei

    I don’t purport to know about all the behind-the-scenes stuff, but something doesn’t add up here. How could XSeed have suddenly hired 14 more people when they’re such a small group, and why would Marvelous be hiring people onto the XSeed team when Marvelous’ role as a parent is mostly just for co-publishing, while XSeed is free to pursue their own aims and partnerships?

  • Raharu95

    I wish I knew what to say… but I really have nothing to say -_-

  • LynxAmali

    Never heard of them and I know a LOT of indie developers.

    (By the way, does XSeed even have programmers of their own? I thought they didn’t and were actually quite small.)

    • Arrei

      They have one programmer whose job is to get their games working on Steam, and from what I can gather they really are that small.

      I can’t speak on the whole payment part since I don’t think any of us are privy to those details, but XSeed being involved makes this seem really fishy.

  • more law suits lovely as if it ist  enougth  now there more heh

  • idofgrahf

    Have to see the complaint to know whats going on but as a general rule you cannot lie to the courts face, that’s a great way to get your case dismissed along with heavy fines so the person making the allegations must, in good faith, believe what he is alleging is true so usually there is some truth to what he is claiming. seems to be a breach of contract case, worst that can happen is Marvelous and Xseed is ordered to pay the money, since the other two games are not out, I doubt the court will demand specific performance on Marvelous’s part for the other two games. This is civil court so all the indie developer have to do is show by preponderance of the evidence, in all likelihood, it’ll get settled out of court, litigation is expensive. It could be bad news for Marvelous and Xseed if the indie gets an temporary restraining order though.

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