Back in 2015, there was a moment of hope for Descent fans, with a Kickstarter of Descent: Underground making many a gamer remember the six-degrees-of-freedom shooter.
Since then, however, things have gone from bump to bump. The game was launched on Steam Early Access that year, before being pulled to allow focus on the single-player side of the game. Then a planned 2019 release just never happened, with no communication about what was going on. Now the Descendent website is gone and publisher Little Orbit has filed a lawsuit against the developer for failure to complete the game.
The lawsuit says the developer missed multiple milestones and scheduled release dates, as well as failing to meet quality standards. The suit says this is due to key personnel leaving the developer and not being replaced with “equally competent personnel.”
“As a result of Descendent’s repeated failures to meet the agreed upon delivery dates, the parties discussed ways for Descendent to still be able to deliver the Game. Those discussions culminated in the Parties agreeing to a ‘Terms Sheet’ dated November 28, 2018.”Little Orbit lawsuit against Descendent.
“Pursuant to the Terms Sheet, Little Orbit committed to continue funding Descendent’s monthly payroll in the amount of $60,000 per month … The Parties also agreed on a new extended delivery date for the final PC Version of the game of January 25, 2019 in order to release the game in February. Descendent failed to meet the extended delivery date given the deliverable actually provided by Descendent on January 25, 2019 was rejected as the Final PC Version, having failed to meet the definition of ‘Final Version’ in the Original Agreement.”
It also looks like Interplay has cancelled the Descent licensing deal with the developer, meaning the game no longer has the trademark to prop it up. This devalues what work has been done to date to make the game.
The lawsuit is pretty complex, with Little Orbit alleging that Descendent CEO Eric Peterson has been blaming Little Orbit and has made “multiple false and disparaging statements”.