A messy legal battle involving the film franchise’s founding members has put the future of Friday The 13th: The Game in a killer pickle of a dilemma. From here on out, there won’t (can’t) be any more new content for the Gun Media produced game involving everyone’s favorite hockey-mask-wearing killer, Jason Voorhees.
This legal dispute has always hanged pretty low on the heads of the game and its developers. Victor Miller – the screenwriter behind the original Friday The 13th film – filed claims that he wasn’t employed when he wrote the first movie, therefore wanting to terminate a grant of rights and reclaim ownership of the property. To make a long story short, Miller’s lawsuit has now moved forward and leaves the future of not only the game but the entire franchise in the balance. Whether or not he wins his case now determines what will happen with the series going forward. Unfortunately, this means no future content may be produced, locking Friday The 13th: The Game into whatever content they now have out on the market.
Co-creator Ronnie Hobbs reiterated the predicament over on his official Twitter:
Deeply sorry to share this news. Starting today, no future DLC content for F13 will be released. As you know, it's been our lifelong dream to create a video game based on F13, and thanks to your support, we were lucky enough to realize this dream. We sincerely thank you. https://t.co/KFqpDQpjjb
— Hobbs (@Rontao13) June 11, 2018
However, the developer’s also tweeted out that it doesn’t mean patchwork, maintenance and servers are being tossed aside. They will continue to fix bugs, monitor the servers, and provide patchwork where possible. It just means that this will be the last of any new counselors, Jason skins, weapons, kill modes, and maps for the immediate (and from the sounds of it, indefinite) future.
Don’t worry. We aren’t stopping. We will continue to bug fix, optimize, balance, and provide routine maintenance to the game. Servers will remain on! Dedicated servers for console are on the way. Like Jason, we can take the hits and we will keep coming back.
— F13_Wes (@weskeltner) June 11, 2018
According to an email from Gun Media to the horror outlet Bloody Disgusting, the company has stated that it has “now been forced to accept that the lawsuit makes future content for the game, including alternate play modes, new playable Jasons and Counselors, and new maps, unfeasible now or in the future.” With this being the case, Uber Jason, the Grendel map, new Jason Kill Packs, fresh clothing, new emotes, and new Counselors have effectively been canceled indefinitely.
To get back to the lawsuit at hand, representatives of Sean Cunningham, who directed the first movie in the franchise, says he has legal rights over the movie and its characters. Victor Miller points to a provision in copyright law that he says reverts the rights back to himself. Cunningham says Miller was just a paid-for-hire worker. Miller wrote the movie back in 1979.
The case, which was first brought in 2016, is not specifically about Gun Media’s game, which the company launched following a licensing deal with Cunningham, but is included in its provisions.
Gun Media issued a statement earlier today:
Friday the 13th: The Game has established a loyal and excited fan base over the last year. As publisher/developer, Gun and Illfonic have made every effort to provide our fans with an authentic and great gaming experience.
As many in our community may be aware, a legal claim has been made which could affect all future Friday the 13th intellectual property. Although in the past the game has not been subject to any such claim, new content and material going forward will be affected. An initial decision in this case was expected in October 2017, but no decision has yet been issued. The court review of the legal rights is in process, but final resolution may take some time. Until the claim rights can be dismissed or resolved, no new content can be released.
When we originally learned that the game fell within the crosshairs of this legal dispute, we tried to balance the creation of new content requested by our fans against the maintenance and bug fixing that our community expects and deserves. We attempted to do both within the limits of the legal case.
We’ve now been forced to accept that the lawsuit makes future content for the game, including alternate play modes, new playable Jasons and Counselors, and new maps, unfeasible now or in the future. Although the listed content types will be affected, we remain committed to launching dedicated servers on our console platforms and providing the continued maintenance and bug fixing important to supporting our fan base.
Friday the 13th: The Game is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Images: Gun Media, Illfonic, New Line, Paramount
Source: Bloody Disgusting