After big business deals go wrong (like, say the failure of a AAA MMO) the lawsuits start flying: Richard "Lord British" Garriott, creator of the Ultima series, has filed a suit in a Texas court against the company behind Garriott-developed MMO Tabula Rasa. At issue: Garriott's termination from the company and his stock options.
According to Garriott's suit, the end of his employment was not voluntary as NCSoft said. The company allegedly mis-reported the reason for his termination so he would be forced to sell his "valuable" NCSoft stock. From the suit:
Mr. Garriott learned that NCsoft had internally re-characterized his termination by Mr. Chung as a "voluntary" resignation... This mischaracterization had profound and detrimental effects on Mr. Garriott's stock options: if NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott's employment (which it did) then the options - worth tens of millions of dollars - would remain in effect until 2011; but if Mr. Garriott resigned voluntarily (which he did not), then NCsoft might have terminated those options... within ninety days of his departure... NCsoft forced Mr. Garriott into a Hobson's choice of exercising his options... and forced him to sell into one of the worst equity markets in modern history...
According to the suit, Garriott's well-publicized trip into freakin' space was partially to promote the game -- he sent a coded message to Tabula Rasa players while orbiting the freakin' earth -- but the company fired him while he was still in space quarantine after the flight. That's cold!
Oh, and that letter from Lord British to Tabula Rasa players wasn't even written by Garriott! According to the lawsuit, it was drafted by NCSoft management.
Lord British would like $24 million, pls.
Read the filing here.