What The Friday The 13th Judgment Means For The Video Game

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Last week, the long-running lawsuit in which Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller contended that he was entitled to the rights to ideas, settings and characters contained in his script for the 1980 classic came to an end with a judge ruling in his favor.

Current rights holders Horror, Inc. weren’t best pleased with the result, explaining that they were planning to appeal it and that in any event, they were looking to develop new projects based on concepts from the rest of the franchise (the status of Jason in all this was left vague).

Anyhow, it’s this lawsuit that brought the DLC content for Gun Media’s excellent Friday the 13th: the Game to an abrupt and unscheduled end. But now that things have been cleared up a bit, could they resurrect the project and release some new content?

Well, here’s what Horror, Inc. has to say about the game’s status:

“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling and disagree with its conclusion. We are considering our options, including an appeal. We understand that this ruling has created confusion among some fans of the franchise and, more specifically, “Friday the 13th: The Game” players who have questions about new Friday the 13th content in the game.

The court was very clear that its ruling in favor of Mr. Miller is limited to the original screenplay in which Jason’s mother is the killer and that Mr. Miller’s termination notice did not purport to terminate Horror, Inc.’s separate copyright in the iconic supernatural killer who wears a hockey mask. While the ruling does not prevent Gun from continuing to sell and operate the existing game, it may complicate adding certain content to the current game in the future.”

So, to be clear, this judgment has changed nothing for fans. Gun Media are still licensed to sell the existing title (in fact, it’s included with Playstation Plus subscriptions this month), but it’s very unlikely that they’ll be restarting development on new content. Much of this is because a relatively small studio like Gun Media cannot wait around for this legal knot to untangle. Presumably, they’ll have already begun development on their next project and can’t simply reactivate the Friday the 13th team.

If you’re a fan of the game (and you should be, since it’s great), you might be feeling a bit peeved at Victor Miller right now. Don’t be, though. Miller has stated that he wants it to continue being developed, and Gun Media explained that the pending lawsuit meant that DLC couldn’t be released. Meanwhile, Horror, Inc. claims the judgment is stopping it. Miller’s the underdog in this story though and he’s proven that he has a legal right to proceeds from the characters and should be able to profit from his creations.

And while I’m not totally ruling out future content for Friday the 13th: the Game, let’s just say it’s looking very, very unlikely.

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